Alexander Keith (politician)

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Alexander Keith
Alexander Keith.png
President of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia
In office
4th Mayor of Halifax
In office
Preceded byAndrew MacKinlay
Succeeded byHenry Pryor
In office
Preceded byThomas Williamson
Succeeded byHugh Bell
Personal details
Born(1795-10-05)October 5, 1795
Halkirk, Caithness, Highland, Scotland
DiedDecember 14, 1873(1873-12-14) (aged 78)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Resting placeCamp Hill Cemetery
44°38′33.9″N 63°35′10.2″W / 44.642750°N 63.586167°W / 44.642750; -63.586167
Political partyConservative
ResidenceKeith Hall, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alexander Keith (October 5, 1795 – December 14, 1873) was a Scottish born Canadian politician, Freemason and brewer. He was mayor of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a Conservative member of the provincial legislature, and the founder of the Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Brewery.


Keith was born in Halkirk, Caithness, Highland, Scotland, where he became a brewer. He immigrated to Canada in 1817 and founded the Alexander Keith's brewing company in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1820, moving to a three-storey building on Hollis Street at Lower Water in the downtown area in 1820. Keith had trained as a brewer in Edinburgh and London. His early products included ale, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beers.

Alexander Keith served as mayor in 1843 and in 1853-54 and president of the Legislative Council (provincial parliament) from 1867 to his death in 1873.[1]

Throughout his career Keith was connected with several charitable and fraternal societies. He served as president of the North British Society from 1831 and as chief of the Highland Society from 1868 until his death. In 1838 he was connected with the Halifax Mechanics Library and in the early 1840s with the Nova Scotia Auxiliary Colonial Society. Keith was also well known to the Halifax public as a leader of the Freemasons. He became Provincial Grand Master for the Maritimes under the English authority in 1840 and under the Scottish lodge in 1845. Following a reorganization of the various divisions in 1869, he became Grand Master of Nova Scotia. There are four masonic lodges named in his honour: Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Stellarton, and Bear River in Nova Scotia.

Alexander Keith died in Halifax in 1873 and was buried at Camp Hill Cemetery at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Robie Streets. His birthday is often marked by people visiting the grave and placing beer bottles and caps on it (or, less frequently, cards or flowers).

He has often been confused with his nephew, Alexander "Sandy" Keith Jr. who was a notorious Confederate agent during the American Civil War.

Nova Scotian artist William Valentine painted Keith's portrait.


  1. ^ "Keith Hall and Brewery". Historic Places. Parks Canada. 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.

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