Class of 1987
George Gooderham, financier who built Gooderham & Worts Ltd. into the largest distilling firm in the world. Founder of the Manufacturers Life and Accident Insurance Company.
George was just two when he emigrated from England with his father William Gooderham, his uncle James Worts and their families. They settled in ‘Muddy York’ where the two brothers-in-law became flour millers. In an effort to use surplus grain more efficiently, the partners formed a distillery business, Gooderham and Worts Ltd.
George was brought into the business as a young boy to carry out tasks assigned by his father and uncle. He eventually assumed more and more responsibility and in 1881, two years prior to his father’s death, the 51 year old George took over the family business. As President, George combined sound money management with opportunity and launched Gooderham and Worts, flour millers and distillers, into an era of market expansion and productivity.
From his office in Toronto’s “Flat Iron” building, he invested capital in railways, highways and steamships and he built Toronto’s King Edward Hotel. George was President of the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation and he founded the Bank of Toronto. In 1887 he founded the Manufacturers Life and Accident Insurance Company and appointed, as President, his close friend Sir John A. MacDonald.
George Gooderham, man of industry, vision and determination played a vital role in early Canadian business.