William Gooderham, distiller, businessman, banker (b at Scole, Eng 29 Aug 1790; d at Toronto 20 Aug 1881). Migrating to Canada in 1832, Gooderham became involved in the Toronto milling trade with his brother-in-law James Worts, who died in 1834. From a small distillery built in 1837 to handle surplus grain from his flour mill, Gooderham and his nephew, James Gooderham Worts, constructed Canada West's largest distillery in 1859, and by 1875 they were producing one-third of all proof spirits distilled in Canada and were one of Canada's most successful distilling firms.
Gooderham was also president of the Bank of Toronto from 1864 until his death, a promoter of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, and one of Toronto's most prominent businessmen. The Gooderham and Worts empire encompassed not only distilling and railways but lake transportation, livestock yards, retailing, woollen mills and banking. Gooderham prospered by embracing new techniques and new markets, thereby spreading his risk in an economy subject to sharp fluctuations.
The Gooderhams have remained prominent in Toronto business and philanthropy. William Jr (1824-89) pursued a less successful commercial career but was influential in philanthropy and Methodism. Another son, George (1820-1905), served as president of the Bank of Toronto and of Gooderham and Worts. His son Sir Albert Edward (1861-1935) helped manage the family business while pursuing philanthropic interests, notably the establishment of Connaught Laboratories.