James Reilly (Canadian politician)

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James Reilly
James Reilly, Mayor of Calgary (c. 1907).jpg
6th Mayor of Calgary
In office
January 19, 1891 – January 18, 1892
Preceded byJames Delamere Lafferty
Succeeded byAlexander Lucas
In office
January 3, 1899 – January 2, 1900
Preceded byArthur Leslie Cameron
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Cushing
Personal details
Born(1835-03-28)March 28, 1835
Napierville, Quebec
DiedJuly 9, 1909(1909-07-09) (aged 74)
Victoria, British Columbia

James Reilly (March 28, 1835 – July 9, 1909) was a Canadian businessman and politician. He was the sixth mayor of Calgary, Alberta.

Reilly was born in 1835 in Napierville, Quebec to immigrant parents from Ireland.[1] In Quebec he became an architect and builder before going to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1882, then to Calgary in 1883. In Calgary he became actively involved with the local community. He played a key part in organizing a citizens group concerned about the location of the railway station that was built in Calgary. While proprietor of the Royal Hotel, he organized the first civic committee meeting on January 4, 1884.[2] This was the first step leading to Calgary's municipal incorporation later that year.[1]

Reilly ran in Calgary's second mayoral election in 1885, but was defeated by popular incumbent George Murdoch.[1] On January 19, 1891, he was elected as the sixth mayor of Calgary. He served one term, but then was re-elected a few years later as the twelfth mayor. Reilly also served two years on city council. As a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Reilly unsuccessfully ran for federal politics.[1]

In October 1899, Reilly left Calgary and traveled extensively. He retired in Victoria, British Columbia, where he died on July 9, 1909 from influenza. His death came as a shock to many, as his condition had been seemingly improving.[3][1] He was later interred in Calgary.[3] After his death, it was said that "to write the life of the late James Reilly is to rewrite the history of Calgary."[3] Reilly was married to May Watts.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Calgary Mayoral Gallery" (PDF). City of Calgary. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 11, 2005. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Pioneer Profiles (R)". Southern Alberta Pioneers. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "James Reilly Died In Victoria Today". The Calgary Daily Herald. July 9, 1909. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2011.