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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
George B. MacKay


George B. Mackay is a capitalist of Lethbridge and many and varied are the business interests which at different times have claimed his attention and energies. His plans have always been carefully formulated and promptly executed and he has carried forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken. Moreover, his course has been guided by a laudable ambition and the intelligent direction of his labors has brought him to the goal of success. Born in Montreal, on the 9th of July, 1874, he is a son of Senator Robert and Janet (Baptist) Mackay. The father was a native of Wick, Scotland, born in 1839, and his death occurred in 1916. He was a son of Robert Mackay, a native of Scotland, in which country he spent his life, following the occupation of farming. It was at Three Rivers, Quebec, that Janet Baptist was born in 1850, her father being George Baptist, who was a millwright by trade and who established a lumber business at Three Rivers. He operated lumber mills all over that section of the country and by reason of his capably controlled business affairs had become very wealthy ere his demise. It was his daughter Janet who in Three Rivers became the wife of Senator Robert Mackay. She was educated in Montreal and it was in that city that she met her future husband, Mr. Mackay there engaging in the wholesale dry goods business. He followed that trade for an extended period and his sound judgment and progressive methods were at all times manifest in the success that attended his undertakings. His wife died in the year 1912, while his death occurred in 1916. He had always been a Liberal in politics and he served as a member of the senate. He belonged to the Presbyterian church, as (lid his wife, and they had a family of nine children, five of whom are living.

George B. Mackay was the third in order of birth and is the eldest among the survivors. He obtained his education through attendance at the John Williamsons School, a private institution of learning, and through two years' study in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston, Massachusetts. When his textbooks were put aside he secured employment in the Quebec Bank, where he remained for six years and was afterward associated with the firm of James W. Fyke & Company, dealers in railway supplies, for a period of two years. In 1901 he entered the South African war and through that and the following year served with the army, holding the rank of lieutenant of the Second Canadian Mounted Rifles. He participated in several engagements and was three times wounded.

In January, 1903, Mr. Mackay arrived in Lethbridge and through the intervening period to the present time, covering two decades, has resided in this section of the Dominion. He spent one year on a ranch and then entered the employ of the Alberta Coal & Irrigation Company, with which he remained for seven years. He next bought an interest in the Western Canada Agency, now the Western Canada Hardware Company. This was in 1910 and he soon worked his way upward until he became the active head of the business and built up one of the largest wholesale hardware enterprises in western Canada and the south. He owns valuable land and city property and also has property and business interests in Montreal. His judgment has been notably sound and his discrimination keen and throughout his life he has displayed marked ability in co-ordinating seemingly diverse interests into a unified and harmonious whole.

In 1906 Mr. Mackay was united in marriage to Miss Laura Higinbotham, who was born in Guelph, Ontario, a sister of J. D. Higinbotham, mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mr. and Mrs. Mackay have become parents of four children: Allan Oliver, now in school; Margaret Jean, Robert George and Helen Mary, who are also attending school.

Mr. Mackay and his family are members of the Presbyterian church and he belongs to the Chinook Club and to the Montreal Hunt of Montreal. He likewise has membership with the United Commercial Travelers. In politics he is a Liberal and was president of the Liberal organization in Lethbridge for a time. He served on the school board for two years and the cause of education has ever found in him a stalwart champion. In many ways he has proven his loyalty to those interests which are vital to the community and its welfare and at the same time he has most wisely and carefully managed his business affairs and his investments until he stands today among the men qf affluence at Lethbridge. His life record should serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what can be accomplished through individual effort when there is a will to dare and to do.


 


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