Sir Frederic Nicholls

Sir Frederic Nicholls, capitalist, business lobbyist (b in England 23 Nov 1856; d at Battle Creek, Mich 25 Oct 1921). Nicholls played a crucial role in promoting early manufacturing in Canada. Educated as an electrical engineer in Germany, he came to Canada in 1874.

Sir Frederic Nicholls

Sir Frederic Nicholls, capitalist, business lobbyist (b in England 23 Nov 1856; d at Battle Creek, Mich 25 Oct 1921). Nicholls played a crucial role in promoting early manufacturing in Canada. Educated as an electrical engineer in Germany, he came to Canada in 1874. A Conservative in politics, he was active in creating the NATIONAL POLICY in the late 1870s. He was the founder and editor (until 1893) of the Canadian Manufacturer, and prominent in Toronto press, yachting and charitable organizations.

Nicholls was one of the first to exploit the possibilities of electric energy in Canada. In 1891 his Toronto Incandescent Light Co first brought commercial electric LIGHTING to the city, and soon enjoyed a monopoly over the city's electric lighting and power needs. He went on to develop the power-generating potential of NIAGARA FALLS with the Electrical Development Co, and the manufacture of electric equipment with the Canadian General Electric Co. In 1896 he was president of the National Electric Light Association of America. After the rise of the "people's power" movement in Ontario in the 1900s, Nicholls found much less scope for private power development. He was later involved in numerous Canadian-incorporated utility companies in South and Central America and the Caribbean. In 1917 he was appointed to the Canadian Senate.


Further Reading

  • H.V. Nelles, The Politics of Development (1974).