Rev. Alexander McTaggart,
pastor of the Presbyterian church of St. Andrews, has the distinction of
being the only minister who has ever been a member of the city council
of Calgary. He was born at Burgoyne, Bruce district, Ontario, and comes
of sturdy Scotch-Canadian stock.
In the acquirement of his
early education Alexander McTaggart attended the public schools of his
birthplace and subsequently entered the University of Toronto, where
natural ability was supported and supplemented by a long course of
training, followed by a theological course at Knox College, Toronto
which latter institution of learning has had the honor of being the Alma
Mater of many famous divines. In 1903 he completed his training and was
ordained. A short time afterward he started west and Carnduff,
Saskatchewan, was the first town of his ministry. For three years he
remained there and in August, 1907, he located in Winnipeg as pastor of
the Robertson Memorial church. During the seven years of his ministry
there Mr. McTaggart not only built up a church, but he accomplished the
harder task of making that church stand for unselfish service to the
community. He (lid not regard the community about him as simply existing
for his church, but he had the larger vision of his church existing for
the community. Therefore he more readily gained the community for his
church and notwithstanding the difficulties of the neighborhood,
succeeded in building up a church with a membership of about three
hundred and fifty and a Sunday evening attendance of about the same
number. To some such a record may not seem particularly ambitious, but
when one considers the district that lies around the Robertson Memorial
church, the mass of varied and genuinely serviceable work carried on in
connection with the institute is exceedingly creditable. The activities
of the institute were not designed to bring glory to the church.
Directly their aim was the good of the people and there they succeeded.
Mr. McTaggai't has always been enthusiastic about his work. The one
activity that has always aroused his greatest interest, however, is the
work among children. While pastor of the Robertson Memorial he set aside
one Sunday of each month for a children's service. On that day the
children chose the text of the sermon and there was a children's choir
and child soloists. Mr. McTaggart was held in high confidence and esteem
by all of his fellowmen and Winnipeg lost one of her most enterprising
citizens when he resigned as pastor of the Robertson Memorial and came
to Calgary, where the past nine years he has been pastor of the St.
Andrew's Presbyterian church.
Although Mr. McTaggart
has devoted much of his time to his ministerial duties, he has been
active in public life and for six years served the city of Calgary as an
alderman, during which time he made a very careful study of all civic
problems and acquired a mass of very valuable information from his years
of experience. A man of literary ability, he contributed a series of
articles on municipal affairs to the Morning Albertan, which were of
very great value. In welfare matters he is an authority perhaps
unexcelled in the province. Mr. McTaggart has another distinction iii
that he belongs to neither of the dominant parties. He is neither A. C.
G. A. nor A. D. L. P. The fact that he broke through two such strong
combinations is evidence of his strong personality and strength of
character. Because of this unusual position he occupied a dominating
place in the council. He was responsible neither to labor nor to the C.
G. A. He was a representative of all the people all the time and when he
believed a thing to be right, he did it, asking leave of no one.