Arthur James Nesbitt
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|Arthur James Nesbitt|
|Born||August 19, 1880
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
|Died||October 24, 1954
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Occupation||Stockbroker / investor:
Nesbitt, Thompson & Co. / Power Corporation of Canada / Ogilvy Department Store
Arthur James Nesbitt (August 19, 1880 - October 24, 1954) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who was a cofounder of Nesbitt, Thomson and Company stockbrokerage and the Power Corporation of Canada.
Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Arthur Nesbitt first worked as a dry goods salesman, peddling products to area merchants. During the course of his travels he met Peter Thomson, a pickle salesman for the Canadian arm of the H. J. Heinz Company. The two struck up a friendship and would promote each other to their customers. Nesbitt would get his big break when he met Max Aitken, a brilliant young business investor who went on to become a newspaper magnate in Great Britain best known by his title, Lord Beaverbrook. Impressed with Nesbitt's business savvy and marketing skills, Aitken hired him to work for his Royal Securities Corporation stockbrokerage. After undergoing training at the stockbrokerage office in London, England, in 1906 Aitken sent Arthur Nesbitt to open a Royal Securities office in Montreal, Quebec, the then financial center of Canada.
Arthur Nesbitt prospered while working for Royal Securities in Montreal and by 1910 was married with two sons and had purchased a small home at 578 Lansdowne Ave. in fashionable Westmount. His continued business success would allow him to later build a mansion at 41 Forden Avenue in Westmount.
During his time at Royal Secuities, Mr. Nesbitt remained in touch with his friend Peter Thomson and the two decided to open up their own stockbrokerage. They formed Nesbitt, Thomson and Company in 1912 and simultaneously opened offices on St. James Street in Montreal and Hamilton, Ontario. Their business prospered as a provider of financing for the burgeoning mining and natural resource industries plus they achieved significant success underwriting stock and bond issues for the many new electric power generating companies that were springing up across the country. Their success was such that by 1925 Nesbitt, Thomson and Company held major equity positions in a number of major electric utilities and the two partners established Power Corporation of Canada as a holding company for their substantial interests with Arthur Nesbitt serving as its first president.
Arthur Nesbitt and his partner built their brokerage house into one of the largest and most successful in Canada becoming enormously wealthy in the process. He supported various benevolent causes and made a very substantial gift in memory of his parents in the form of the tuberculosis sanitarium for children as an addition to the hospital in his New Brunswick hometown.
In 1927, Arthur Nesbitt purchased the Ogilvy department store in Montreal that his son James Aird would successfully run for more than fifty years. Nesbitt's second son, Arthur Dean, would follow in his father's footsteps at the helm of the family's brokerage/investment business.
On his passing in 1954, Arthur James Nesbitt was interred in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal. In 1989 his grandson A.R. Deane Nesbitt published his life story.