Redpath, today a household name for sugar in Canada, has its roots in the story of an enterprising Scots immigrant, initially a stone mason and later a building contractor during the boom days of Montreal’s growth from a small provincial centre to a major North American city. In 1854, the ever-energetic John Redpath, by then a self-made millionaire in his late fifties, launched a new career as an industrialist. With his son, Peter, and the gifted George Alexander Drummond as manager, he established Canada’s first successful sugar refinery.
The Redpath story encompasses the influence of sugar as an economic force, the emergence of the elegant social life of cosmopolitan Montreal and a hind-sight view of the complexities of the love-hate relationship between government and business.
This, the first of two volumes, moves through Canada’s period of extensive industrialization to the turn of the century, the impact of World War I and concludes in the post-war years. Throughout this period, the familiar Redpath trademark, a reproduction of John Redpath’s signature, is a reminder of the heritage inherent in Canada’s business and social history.