John Craig Eaton

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For the later John Craig Eaton see John Craig Eaton II

John Craig Eaton, circa 1911

Sir John Craig Eaton (28 April 1876 – 30 March 1922) was a Canadian businessman, and member of the prominent Eaton Family.

Life and career[edit]

Sir John was the youngest son of Toronto department store magnate Timothy Eaton, and his wife, Margaret Wilson Beattie Eaton. John was born in Toronto. He married Flora McCrea in 1901 and they had six children: Timothy Craig; John David; Edgar Allison; Gilbert McCrea; Florence Mary; and Evlyn (adopted). Upon the death of his father in 1907, John inherited five million dollars and the T. Eaton Company. He became its president at this time, and the company flourished under his control.

John Craig built Ardwold, an enormous residence of 50 rooms in Toronto, beginning in 1909, and finished in 1911. He also acquired a resort home from his mother in Oakville, Ontario called Raymar Estate (the estate has since disappeared). He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1915 in recognition of his participation in the war effort, and so became Sir John Craig Eaton, and his wife Flora, Lady Eaton. Sir John greatly influenced the company, and expanded the stores nationally.

He was quite a philanthropist. Perhaps his most lavish public contribution was the gift, together with his mother, of land and funds for a large Methodist church on St Clair Avenue in Toronto. Named after Timothy Eaton, it was constructed in 1912–14. The Eatons also made many donations to Omemee, Ontario, the home town of his wife Flora. These donations included Coronation Hall (1911), and the manse,and organ for Trinity United Church.

He died of pneumonia in 1922, and his cousin Robert Young (RY) Eaton became president until Sir John's son, John David Eaton, reached an appropriate age to take over. Eaton's grandson, John Craig Eaton II served as chairman of Eaton's in its later years.

See also[edit]