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Gordon G. Thiessen

Gordon G. Thiessen, economist, banker (b at South Porcupine, Ont 14 Aug 1938). Raised and educated in Saskatchewan, Thiessen joined the BANK OF CANADA in 1963 as a research economist specializing in monetary analysis.

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Black Fur Traders in Canada

The role of Black people within the history of the fur trade is rarely considered. Black people were rarely in a position to write their own stories, so often those stories went untold. This owes to a complex set of factors including racism and limited access to literacy. Black people are also not the focus of many historical documents. However, historians have identified several Black fur traders working in different roles, and even an entire family of Black fur traders who left their mark on history.

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Hugh Graham, Baron Atholstan

Hugh Graham, Baron Atholstan, newspaper publisher (b at Atholstan, Canada E 18 July 1848; d at Montréal 28 Jan 1938). In 1863 Graham went to work on the Montréal Daily Telegraph and by 1869 became a partner in the new evening paper, the Star.

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Denham Jolly

Brandeis Denham Jolly, teacher, entrepreneur, publisher, broadcaster, philanthropist, civil rights activist, community leader (born 26 August 1935 in Industry Cove, Jamaica). Jolly began his business career by purchasing and operating rooming houses and nursing homes. He later purchased and became the publisher of Contrast, a Black community newspaper in Toronto and established FLOW 93.5, the first Black-owned radio station and the first station in Canada to showcase Black music and the stories of the Black community. Jolly also was involved with or founded and led community groups — such as the Black Action Defence Committee — that sought to end police violence targeting young Black men. Jolly also contributed generously to several causes including scholarships for promising young Black Canadians.

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Alphonse Desjardins

Alphonse Desjardins, journalist, parliamentary reporter, founder of the Desjardins Group (born 5 November 1854 in Lévis, Québec; died 31 October 1920 in Lévis, Québec).

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Bonnie Brooks

Bonnie Brooks, CM, retailer, department store executive (born 19 May 1953 in Windsor, ON). Brooks earned her MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and also holds two honorary doctoral degrees. She is best known for her work modernizing retail department stores, including Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford, Canada’s Holt Renfrew and Hudson’s Bay, where she was the first woman to be appointed president and CEO. Brooks was later appointed as the first woman vice-chairman of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

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Saidye Rosner Bronfman

Saidye Rosner Bronfman, OBE, community leader, philanthropist (born 9 December 1896 in Plum Coulee, MB; died 6 July 1995 in Montreal, QC). Saidye Bronfman was a leader in the Jewish community who generously supported the arts and various charities. She received the Order of the British Empire for her work with the Red Cross during the Second World War. Saidye and her husband, Samuel Bronfman, drew from their fortune in the liquor business to create a foundation that continues to fund community groups today.

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Donald Gordon

Donald Gordon, banker, business executive (b at Old Meldrum, Scot 11 Dec 1901; d at Montréal 2 May 1969). Gordon left Scotland when young and joined the Bank of Nova Scotia, working up through the ranks while attending night school.

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John Edward Cleghorn

John Edward Cleghorn, banker and philanthropist (b at Montréal 7 July 1941). A university football player, he studied commerce and history, graduating from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1962.

Macleans

Conrad Black (Profile)

Conrad Black moves smoothly into the French yellow, damasked and mahogany stateroom in the headquarters of Hollinger Inc. in downtown Toronto. It is true, as he has maintained, that he does not have horns, that he is not cloven-hoofed. But this is the only absolute.

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John Lovell

Lovell, John. Printer, publisher, b Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, 4 Aug 1810, d Montreal 1 Jul 1893. He arrived in Canada in 1820 and began his career as a printer in Montreal in 1835, concentrating on periodicals and newspapers.

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Heather Reisman

Heather Maxine Reisman, OC, entrepreneur, business executive (born 28 August 1948 in Montreal, QC). Reisman is best known as the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest book and specialty toy retailer, and the co-founder of Kobo, a top global e-reader maker. She holds honorary doctorates from several universities and a bachelor’s degree in social work from McGill University.

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Bronfman Family

Descendants of Russian immigrant tobacco farmer Yechiel (Ekiel) Bronfman and his wife, Mindel, members of the Bronfman family have owned and controlled huge financial empires built from the profits of the family liquor business (see Seagram). The best-known members of the family are Samuel Bronfman, founder of Seagram and president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1939–62), and his descendants. Samuel’s wife, Saidye Rosner Bronfman, was an influential philanthropist who supported the arts in Canada and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for organizing work on the home front during the Second World War. Sons Edgar and Charles Bronfman ran Seagram for decades, while grandson Edgar Miles Bronfman Jr. oversaw the sale of Seagram to Vivendi. Charles was also co-founder of the Historica Foundation of Canada and Heritage Minutes, as well as chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos. His sister Phyllis Lambert is a well-known architect who founded the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Their cousins, Edward and Peter Bronfman (sons of Allan Bronfman), developed a financial empire in their own right. The family has given generously to several charitable organizations and been involved in the Canadian Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress. 

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Camille Thériault

Camille Henri Thériault, politician, businessman, premier of New Brunswick 1998-1999 (born 25 February 1955 in Baie-Sainte-Anne, NB). Thériault served in the Cabinet of Liberal Premier Frank McKenna before briefly taking a turn as premier himself. After politics, he was chair of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board, and served as CEO of the Mouvement des caisses populaires acadiennes.

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Gerry Schwartz

Gerald Wilfred Schwartz, OC, business executive (born 24 November 1941 in Winnipeg, MB). Gerry Schwartz is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Toronto-based Onex Corporation, one of Canada’s largest private equity firms. A successful long-term investor, he has overseen major business deals in more than three decades at the head of Onex. Schwartz was one of 45 Canadians to make the Forbes list of billionaires in 2019, with the magazine estimating his net worth at US $1.6 billion. He has donated millions of dollars to universities, hospitals, charities and cultural organizations.

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Avie Bennett

Avie Bennett, businessman, publisher, philanthropist (born 2 Jan 1928 in Toronto, ON; died 2 June 2017 in Toronto, ON). Renowned for his interest in social and cultural issues, Avie Bennett began his business career in shopping centre development, a business that his family had pioneered.