Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2008

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


James Ross

Director in many of the largest Corporations in the Dominion. Montreal, Que.

JAMES ROSS was born at Cromarty, Scotland, in 1848, a son of John R. and Mary B. (McKeddie) Ross. He was educated at Inverness Academy, and in England. After completing his education, he spent a few years in railway, harbor and water works in England. He came to America in 1870 and became resident engineer of the Ulster & Delaware Railway, and subsequently was chief engineer. Mr. Ross was in turn connected with the Wisconsin Central Railway and the Lake Ontario Railway. He moved to Canada, and was appointed chief engineer and then elected general manager of the Victoria Railway. In 1878-1879 he built the Credit Valley Railway, and was its general manager. He was consulting engineer of the Ontario & Quebec Railway. Mr. Ross took control of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway west of Winnipeg in 1883, and in 1885 completed that line over the Rocky Mountains. He took up his residence in Montreal in 1888. Mr. Ross assisted in building many of the leading railways in Canada and in electrifying street railways, such as those of Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, St. John, etc. He has also done work of a similar character in England and Jamaica, and was the first president of the Mexican Power Company which developed an immense water power at Necaxa, and controls the electric business of the City of Mexico. Subsequently he was for many years president and active head of the Dominion Coal Company. Although Mr. Ross has withdrawn from most of his business activities, he still retains the presidency of the Dominion Bridge Company and of the St. John Railway. He is a director of the Bank of Montreal, of the Canadian General Electric Com­pany, of the Laurentide Company, of the Royal Trust Company, of the Calgary & Edmonton Land Company and of the Canada Sugar Refining Company. Mr. Ross is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and also of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. He is honorary lieutenant-colonel of the Duke of York Hussars. Mr. Ross, who is a keen sailor, is owner of several yachts, among them the superb steam yacht " Glencairn " (formerly " Liberty " which belonged to the late Joseph Pulitzer) and now devotes most of his time to cruising in European and Canadian waters. Among his numerous benefactions, Mr. Ross presented to the citizens of Lindsay, Ont., the Ross Memorial Hospital and a Nurses' Home as memorials to his parents, and has given largely to the Alexandra and Royal Victoria Hospitals of Montreal, and to McGill University and the Montreal Art Association, of which last named he is president. He is a governor of McGill University, of the Royal Victoria Hospital, and of the Protestant Hospital for the Insane (Montreal). He is a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames Yacht Club in England, and in Montreal of the Mount Royal, the St. James, the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht (of which he is honorary commodore), the Forest and Stream, the Canada, the Montreal. Curling, the Montreal Hunt, the Montreal Jockey, the Montreal Racquet and the Royal Montreal Golf Clubs, also of the Rideau Club of Ottawa; the Manitoba Club of Winnipeg; the Toronto, the Royal Canadian Yacht and the York Clubs of Toronto; of the Union Club of St. John, N. B.; of the Halifax Club of Halifax, N. S.; of the New York Yacht Club and of the Manhattan Club of New York City; of the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club of Sydney, N. S., and of the Constitutional Club of London, England. Mr. Ross was married in 1872 to Annie Kerr, daughter of the late John Kerr, of Kingston, N. Y. His family consists of one son, Mr. J. K. L. Ross.

Source: Canadian History Makers. A Volume Containing Accurate and Concise Sketches of Men who have Done Things in The Dominion of Canada Past and Present Together with Photogravures Made from their Latest Photographs, Montreal, Canadian Publication Society, 1913, 159p., p. 33.

© 2008 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College