Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal

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With no advantage of birth or fortune he made himself one of the great outstanding figures of the Empire.


Isabella Sophia, Baroness Strathcona and Mount Royal, by William Notman Baroness Strathcona and Mount Royal by William Notman.jpg
Isabella Sophia, Baroness Strathcona and Mount Royal, by William Notman

In 1853, he married Isabella Sophia Hardisty (1825–1913), daughter of Richard Hardisty (1790–1865), Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Margaret Sutherland (1802–1876), daughter of the Rev. John Sutherland, a native of Caithness who lived at Lachine, Quebec. Lady Strathcona's father was a native of London, England, and her mother was of Indian and Scottish parentage. Her brother was the Hon. Richard Charles Hardisty. She was presented to King Edward and Queen Alexandra, 13 March 1903, and with her daughter donated $100,000 to McGill University in Montreal to erect a new wing to its Medical Building. [27] The couple lived at 53 Cadogan Square, London; Knebworth House; Glencoe House, Scotland; Colonsay House, Scotland and 1157 Dorchester Street, in Montreal's Golden Square Mile.

Lord and Lady Strathcona were the parents of one child, the Hon. Margaret Charlotte Smith. In accordance with the special remainder to the 1900 barony, she succeeded her father as Lady Strathcona in 1914. In 1888, she married Robert Jared Bliss Howard OBE FRCS (1859–1921), son of Robert Palmer Howard (1823–1889), Dean of Medicine at McGill University.

Robert Howard and Lady Strathcona had the following children:[ citation needed ]

His Montreal home was located in the Golden Square Mile. In 1905, he bought the island of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides, which remains in the hands of his successors today.


Strathcona Park, Ottawa Strathcona Park Ottawa.jpg
Strathcona Park, Ottawa

Lord Strathcona is commemorated in Montreal by several McGill University buildings; he gave freely of his time to this institution, and a great quantity of his wealth. [28] In Westmount, a street was named in his honour. In the greater Montreal West Island community, the Strathcona Desjardins Credit Union bears his name, with offices downtown Montreal and in Kirkland. The credit union members were historically from the English-speaking hospitals of Montreal, but since recent mergers also include the Montreal area, English-speaking teachers.

The Strathcona family mansion in Montreal on Dorchester Street (now René Lévesque Boulevard) [25] near Fort Street was torn down in 1941 to make way for an apartment building. [29]

Strathcona Avenue, located in Westmount (a suburb on the island of Montreal) is named in his honour.

Strathcona is commemorated in Manitoba by the Rural Municipality of Strathcona and by three streets in Winnipeg: Donald Street and Smith Street in the downtown core, and Strathcona Street in the city's West End. [30] In Alberta he is commemorated by the Calgary neighbourhood of Strathcona Park [31] by the Edmonton neighbourhood of Strathcona, and by the municipality of Strathcona County. In British Columbia, the Vancouver neighbourhood of Strathcona takes its name from Lord Strathcona School built in 1891, and Mount Sir Donald in Glacier National Park is named after him. There are oil portraits of Lord Strathcona by many artists, but the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury seems to have made a number of head and shoulder portraits of him from 1898 (examples may be found at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad offices and in the Hudson's Bay Company [this has a repainted background]), and the artist also presented his 1899 bust-length charcoal and crayon drawing of Strathcona to McGill University in Montreal in 1916.

The Town of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories is named after Donald Smith. There is a stained glass window memorializing him in Westminster Abbey. His coat of arms appears over the main entrance of Marischal College in Aberdeen. Strathcona Park, which was erected by the city of Ottawa in 1907, is dedicated to him. [32] The Town of Transcona, Manitoba, incorporated in 1912 as a community to support the new railway shops of the Grand Trunk Pacific and National Transcontinental railways, takes half its name from Lord Strathcona, and the other half from the word transcontinental. [33]

Strathcona was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1973. [34]

Ships named for Lord Strathcona

At least three ships were named for Lord Strathcona during his lifetime. These were:

  • Strathcona, a 598-ton, 142-foot wooden sidewheel paddle steamer, was built in 1898 by J. Macfarlane at New Westminster, British Columbia for the Hudson's Bay Company. The vessel was operated on the Pacific Northwest coast and in 1898-99 carried elements of the Yukon Field Force. In 1902 Strathcona was sold to S.J.V. Spratt, later passing into the hands of the Sidney & Nanaimo Transportation Company. On 17 November 1909, the vessel was wrecked on a snag near Pages Landing on the Fraser River. In 1910 Strathcona was refloated and towed to New Westminster, where the engines and boilers were removed and the hull abandoned. [35]
  • Lord Strathcona, a 495-ton, 160-foot steel salvage tug, was built in 1902 by J.P. Renoldson & Sons, Ltd., at South Shields, England. Owned by George T. Davie & Sons of Lauzon, Quebec,, this tug arrived on its delivery voyage on 4 May 1902. [39] Lord Strathcona was sold in 1912 to the Quebec Salvage & Wrecking Company, Ltd., a Canadian Pacific subsidiary, [40] and remained in service through the end of the Second World War. [41] Ownership passed to Foundation Maritime in 1944, and Lord Strathcona was scrapped in 1947.

A fourth ship, Lord Strathcona, was a 7,335-ton, 455-foot ocean steamer built in 1915 by W. Doxford & Sons Ltd. at Sunderland, England. Owned by the Dominion Line, Lord Strathcona was bound from Wabana, Newfoundland to Sydney, Nova Scotia with iron ore when the vessel was torpedoed and sunk by U-513 on 5 September 1942. Lord Strathcona's crew of 44, including Captain Charles Stewart, were rescued.

See also


  1. "Chancellor".
  2. McDonald, Donna (1996). Lord Strathcona: A Biography of Donald Alexander Smith. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 482. ISBN   1-55002-397-7.
  3. McDonald, Donna (1996). Lord Strathcona: A Biography of Donald Alexander Smith . Toronto and Oxford: Dundurn Press. pp.  600. ISBN   1-55002-266-0.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Martin, Joseph E. (2017). "Titans". Canada's History. 97 (5): 47–53. ISSN   1920-9894.
  5. "Individual Page".
  6. 1 2 "Read the eBook Lord Strathcona, the story of his life by Beckles Willson online for free (page 1 of 21)".
  7. "Dickens's "The Brothers Cheeryble" by Harold Copping".
  8. Smith, Donald Alexander (4 July 1870). North-West Territories report of Donald A. Smith (Report). s.n. ISBN   9780665180736 via Hathi Trust.
  9. Newman 1992 , p. 47
  10. Newman 1992 , p. 5
  11. "Smith, Sir Donald Alexander (SMT887DA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  12. "No. 26885". The London Gazette . 24 August 1897. p. 4725.
  13. "No. 25592". The London Gazette . 29 May 1886. p. 2634.
  14. "No. 26741". The London Gazette . 20 May 1896. p. 3054.
  15. "No. 27482". The London Gazette . 14 October 1902. p. 6493.
  16. "No. 27205". The London Gazette . 26 June 1900. p. 3963.
  17. "Lord Strathcona at Aberdeen". The Times. No. 36738. London. 10 April 1902. p. 11.
  18. "No. 27405". The London Gazette . 11 February 1902. p. 850.
  19. "University intelligence". The Times. No. 36704. London. 1 March 1902. p. 12.
  20. "University intelligence". The Times. No. 36893. London. 8 October 1902. p. 4.
  21. "Freedom of City of Bath for Lord Strathcona". The Daily Phoenix. 14 July 1911. p. 6.
  22. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. "The Strathcona Trust and Physical Training in B.C. Public Schools" Archived 30 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  24. - Executive Council of the Strathcona Trust: "Syllabus of physical exercises for schools".
  25. 1 2 Reford, Alexander (1998). "Smith, Donald Alexander, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal". In Cook, Ramsay; Hamelin, Jean (eds.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography . Vol. XIV (1911–1920) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  26. Newman 1992 , p. 167
  27. Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p.  2.
  28. Abbott, Maude E. (4 July 1915). ObituariesLord Strathcona and Mount Royal, August 6, 1820-January 19, 1914; Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, F.R.C.S., F.R.S., July 23, 1828-June 23, 1913 ; Charles Sedgwick Minot, D.S., LL.D., D. Sc., December 23, 1852-November 19, 1914 /. CIHM/ICMH collection de microfiches ;no. 77966. [Baltimore?. hdl:2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t71v6tz9r. ISBN   9780665779664.
  29. "Ottawa Citizen - Recherche d'archives de Google Actualités".
  30. "Donald Alexander Smith [Lord Strathcona] (1820-1914)". Memorable Manitobans. Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  31. Scottish Place Names in Calgary.. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  32. "Strathcona Park (Ottawa)". National Inventory of Military Memorials. National Defence Canada. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014.
  33. "Builders Fund". Transcona Historical Museum. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  34. "Smith, Sir. Donald – CCA Hall of Fame | ACC Temple de la Renommée Virtuelle".
  35. Strathcona file, Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
  36. Greenwood, John Orville (1986), Namesakes 1910-1919, p. 87. Cleveland: Freshwater Press, Inc.
  37. Mitchell's "Marine Directory of the Great Lakes", 1912 edition, p. 53.
  38. Green's Marine Directory of the Great Lakes, 1915 edition, p. 80.
  39. Brookes, Ivan S. (1974), The Lower St. Lawrence, pp. 33, 282. Cleveland: Freshwater Press, Inc.
  40. Brookes, pp. 40, 285.
  41. Brookes, p. 56.

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The Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
In office
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Member of Parliament from Selkirk
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament from Montreal West
Succeeded by
The electoral district was abolished in 1892
Business positions
Preceded by President of the Bank of Montreal
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company
Succeeded by
Thomas Skinner
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of McGill University
Succeeded by
Preceded by Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal
Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal
Succeeded by