James Armstrong Richardson Sr.

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James Armstrong Richardson
Richardson ja.jpg
Chancellor of Queen's University
In office
Preceded by Robert Borden
Succeeded by Charles Dunning
Personal details
Born (1885-08-21)August 21, 1885
Kingston, Ontario
Died June 26, 1939(1939-06-26) (aged 53)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Spouse(s) Muriel Sprague (m. 1919)

James Armstrong Richardson Sr. (August 21, 1885 – June 26, 1939)[1] was an influential business person in Canada in both business and aviation during the early part of the 20th Century. He lived most of his life in Winnipeg.

Early life[edit]

James Armstrong Richardson was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1885 to Agnes (McCausland) and George A. Richardson.[2] He attended Queen's and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1906. After graduation, Richardson entered the family business founded by his grandfather, James Richardson & Sons, at the time, one of Canada's greatest grain exporters.

Business interests[edit]

Richardson became vice president of the company in 1912 and its president in 1919; in 1923, he moved the main office of the firm from Kingston to Winnipeg. Richardson quickly rose to prominence in the grain business and was elected President of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. He was recognised as an astute businessman and sat on the Board of Directors of many Canadian companies, including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, International Nickel, the National Trust Company Limited, the Great West Life Assurance Company, and Canadian Vickers.

Contributions to aviation[edit]

Richardson's greatest contributions came as a pioneer of Canadian commercial aviation; he founded Western Canadian Airways in 1926 and helped open up the mineral mining development of the North with his air transport routes. The later company, Canadian Airways was instrumental in creating a transcontinental air system that was eventually incorporated into the fledgling Trans-Canada Air Lines (that became Air Canada). The backroom deals in 1937 that cut Canadian Airways out of the transcontinental routes was said to have "broken his heart". He died two years later.

Richardson was the 6th Chancellor of Queen's University, elected in 1929 and he served in this post until his death from a heart attack in 1939.

The Richardson legacy[edit]

His daughter, Agnes Benidickson, would later become the first female Chancellor of Queen's, and his son James Armstrong Richardson, would become a Cabinet minister in the government of Pierre Trudeau.

In December 2006, the Winnipeg International Airport was renamed Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in his honour.[3]

The main stadium at Queen's University is named in honour of his brother, Captain George Taylor Richardson, a Queen's alumnus (BSc 1909) and a valiant soldier who was killed in action in World War I.[4]

Today, Richardson & Sons, Limited is a family-owned company that has expanded and developed into an international, multi-enterprise corporation. The firm manages successful operations in agriculture and food processing through Richardson International, financial services through Richardson Financial Group, property management through Lombard Place Limited, and oil and gas exploration through Tundra Oil & Gas Limited. In 2009, Richardson Partners Financial merged with GMP Private Client to form Richardson GMP, a wealth management and investment services firm.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Manitoba Historical Society
  2. ^ Canadian Press (3 July 1929). "Queen's Elects Winnipeg Man Chancellor". The Montreal Gazette. 
  3. ^ Winnipeg Airports Authority, Press release: "Canada's New Government Renames Winnipeg International Airport in Honour of James Armstrong Richardson", Access date: 14 December 2006
  4. ^ "Queen's Encyclopedia - Richardson, James Armstrong". http://www.queensu.ca/encyclopedia/r/richardson-james-armstrong. Queen's University.  External link in |website= (help);
  • Render, Shirley. Double Cross: The Inside Story of James A. Richardson and the Canadian Airways. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1999. ISBN 1-55054-722-4.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Borden
Chancellor of Queen's University
Succeeded by
Charles Avery Dunning