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James Ferrier (1844-1846)

James Ferrier was born 22 October 1800 in Fife, Scotland. Merchant and businessman, he was mayor of Montréal from 1844 to 1846. He died 30 May 1888 in Montréal.

James Ferrier worked in a mercantile establishment in Perth, Scotland, before emigrating to Montréal in 1821. After working for a Montréal merchant for 18 months, he opened his own store on Notre-Dame Street. At that time, it was a residential street, but it soon became part of the city’s business core.

In 1836, Ferrier withdrew from business with a huge fortune. The important capital he had enabled him to launch out into the financial field and to take part in most of the major industries of the 19th century. With Hugh Allen, one of the most influential figures in Canada, he co-founded the Montreal Credit Company in 1871. He was also one of the major actors in the development of railway companies in Canada. He was president of the Montréal and Lachine Railway between 1846 and 1851, and member of the Grand Trunk’s board of directors.

He entered politics in 1841 when he was appointed, by the governor, member of the municipal council. In 1844, he was elected alderman in the East ward. There were no major achievements but his term as mayor was marked by an opposition to French-Canadian nationalism. In 1846, he left his municipal duties and became member of the legislative council. He entered the senate in 1867.

Deeply religious, he contributed throughout his life to the development of the Methodist Church, and was involved  in many philanthropic and educational endeavors. He contributed to the development of McGill College, and remained a strong advocate of temperance and prohibition.

See : Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online


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