Ahearn, ThomasThomas Ahearn, electrical engineer, businessman (b at Ottawa 24 June 1855; d there 28 June 1938). A telegraph operator at 14, by 25 Ahearn was Ottawa branch manager of the telegraph and telephone companies. In 1882, with W.Y. Soper, he started an electrical contracting business that grew into a network of companies controlling electricity supply, streetcars and streetlights in Ottawa. Ahearn reputedly invented the electric cooking range, installed in the Windsor Hotel. In 1899 he drove the first automobile (electric) in Ottawa.
Rich by 1900, Ahearn became a director of the Bank of Canada and other leading institutions and a prominent local philanthropist. Chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission (later the NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION) from 1926 to 1932, he established Ottawa's parkway system and personally financed the Champlain Bridge over the Ottawa River in 1928. That same year he was appointed to the Privy Council.