Col. Robert Samuel McLaughlin

Col. Robert Samuel McLaughlin




Class of 1984

Robert Samuel McLaughlin transformed his father’s Oshawa carriage business into General Motors of Canada.  The workmanship was of such high quality that demand soon outgrew the little shop in the countryside and the McLaughlins moved to Oshawa.

Sam was soon designing all of the McLaughlin carriages and by the turn of the century they were turning out 25,000 units a year.  It was about that time that Sam saw something that would change his life.  At the time, there were only about five cars in Toronto.  But in the United States, carriage makers and others were turning out ever increasing number of horseless carriages.  It was time to take a serious look.

Despite his father’s skepticism, Sam McLaughlin made a deal that would see the Oshawa company design and build a Canadian coach with the Buick Motor Company supplying engines.  The McLaughlin Motor Company, with Sam McLaughlin as President, was established in 1907.  The company produced 193 cars in its first year.  With carriage sales shrinking and car sales on the rise, the McLaughlin Company decided to throw in its lot with General Motors.

Sam McLaughlin was a public benefactor financing projects like extensions to Oshawa hospital, and donated the city’s public library building.  Other buildings include the engineering building at Queen’s University in Kingston and the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto

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