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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
James Smart


The name of James Smart has been inseparably associated with Calgary's fire department from the time of its establishment to the present, and as chief of the department he has given to the city a system which ranks with the best in the Dominion. He was born in Arbroath, Scotland, July 12, 1865, a son of James and Isabella (Swan) Smart, also natives of that country. For thirty-three years the father was a captain of seagoing vessels and his entire life was devoted to maritime interests. He met death by drowning on November 22, 1880. The mother's demise occurred at Calgary.

Their son, James Smart, acquired his education in Scotland, attending half-time schools, and while pursuing his studies he did factory work. He learned the ship-rigging trade, which he followed for a year, and on the 24th of May, 1881, arrived at Mount Forest, Ontario. He secured a position in a carriage factory, in which he was employed until 1883, and on October 19 of that year he reached Calgary, being at that time eighteen years of age. For six months he worked in a sawmill owned by Coloned Walker and during 1885 and 1886 followed the carpenter's trade. Later he embarked in the undertaking business, forming the firm of Smart & Company, and for about five years he conducted that enterprise. In 1885 he had organized the Volunteer Fire Department, of which he became chief, and in 1891, when the paid department was established, he was made captain. In January, 1898, he was advanced to the position of assistant chief and two months later assumed the duties of chief, which he has since ably discharged. He keeps well informed regarding all new developments in methods of fire fighting and has installed the most modern equipment. He has thoroughly systematized the department, which is operated along the most progressive and efficient lines, and the present fine system is the outgrowth of his carefully laid plans and intelligently directed efforts. Practically his entire life has been devoted to public service and that the residents of Calgary have the utmost confidence in his ability is indicated by his long retention in the office of fire chief.


James Smart

In December, 1892, Mr. Smart was married to Miss Agnes Leishman and they have become the Parents of two children: Minnie C., whose birth occurred in October, 1893; and James, who was known as "Bud." He was born in September, 1894, and died in 1905, at the age of eleven years. Fraternally Mr. Smart is identified with the Masonic order, belonging to the Scottish Rite Consistory at Winnipeg, Manitoba, and he is also a member of the Elks lodge at Calgary. He is past president of the Exposition Board of which he is now a director. lie takes an active and prominent part in athletic sports and is a past president of the Calgary Curling Club, president of the Calgary Swimming Association and governor of the Alberta Amateur Athletic Union. His political allegiance is given to the Conservative party, for he believes that its policy best conserves national progress and promotes public stability. in 1921 he was president of the Dominion Fire Chiefs Association, of which he is now a director, and for one term he was president of the Pacific Coast Fire Chiefs Association, while for six years he was president of the Alberta Firemen's Association. For thirty-nine years he has been a resident of this city and during that period he has witnessed remarkable changes as pioneer conditions have been replaced by the improvements and advantages of civilization. In the work of transformation he has borne an important part and his record is a matter of pride to Calgary's citizens, for lie is a self-made man who has fought life's battles unaided, working his way upward through industry, ability and integrity. His example is one well worthy of emulation, showing what may be accomplished when one has the will to dare and to do.


 


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