John Alexander McDougall

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John Alexander McDougall
John A McDougall.png
4th Mayor of Edmonton
In office
December 14, 1896 – December 13, 1897
Preceded by Cornelius Gallagher
Succeeded by William S. Edmiston
In office
December 9, 1907 – December 14, 1908
Preceded by William Antrobus Griesbach
Succeeded by Robert Lee
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton
In office
March 23, 1909 – April 17, 1913
Preceded by Charles Wilson Cross
Succeeded by Charles Wilson Cross, Albert Ewing
Alderman on the Edmonton Town Council
In office
January 13, 1893 – January 14, 1895
Personal details
Born May 20, 1854
Oakwood, Canada West
Died December 17, 1928(1928-12-17) (aged 74)
Edmonton, Alberta
Spouse(s) Lovisa Jane Amey (6 children)
Parents Alexander J. McDougall and Janet Cummings
Profession Merchant
Religion Presbyterian

John Alexander McDougall (May 20, 1854 – December 17, 1928) was a politician in Alberta, Canada, a municipal councillor and mayor in Edmonton, and a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Early life[edit]

John Alexander McDougall was born May 20, 1854 in Oakwood, Canada West (now Ontario) to Alexander J. McDougall and Janet Cummings. His father died in 1867 when John was thirteen. He left school and worked to support his family.

In 1873, he moved to Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) where he worked as a fur trader and completed his education at Manitoba College. In 1877 this work brought him to Edmonton, where he decided to settle, but not before returning to Ontario in 1878 to marry his high school sweetheart, Lovisa Jane Amey (1878-1943),[1] with whom he would have three sons and three daughters. The pair settled in Edmonton in 1879, where McDougall commenced trading furs in competition with the Hudson's Bay Company.

In 1881, he was one of ten Edmontonians to guarantee the five hundred dollar annual salary of the settlement's first schoolteacher. He became a justice of the peace in 1885.

Business career[edit]

McDougall traded furs until 1896, when he and partner Richard Secord founded McDougall & Secord, which advertised itself as "general merchants, wholesale and retail; buyers and exporters of raw furs; dealers in land scrip and north west lands; outfitters for survey parties, traders, trappers, miners and others for the north, and suppliers for country stores." The two ran the company until 1907, when they sold it and went into business as a financial house and mortgage corporation called McDougall & Secord, Limited. McDougall operated this company until his death, when its leadership was taken over by his son John Charles McDougall.

John McDougall was the first President of the Edmonton Board of Trade.

Political career[edit]

In 1892, McDougall ran for alderman of Edmonton's first town council. He was narrowly defeated, finishing seventh place (16 votes behind sixth place Philip Daly) out of fourteen candidates in an election in which the top six candidates were elected. When he made his second attempt in 1893, he finished first of nine candidates and was elected. He was re-elected in 1894 (finishing second of nine candidates, behind Colin Strang) and was elected to the public school board the same year (he would serve one year).

In 1895 McDougall ran for mayor against Herbert Charles Wilson, but was defeated by a margin of 129 votes to 91. He would make another attempt in 1896, and would be acclaimed mayor. He did not seek re-election in 1897, and stayed out of politics for the next decade.

In 1907 McDougall was again elected mayor, defeating Joseph Henri Picard 1217 votes to 437. During his second term as mayor, he installed an automatic telephone system in the city and oversaw the establishment of a street railway as a municipal operation. He did not seek re-election in 1908.

In 1909 he was elected as a Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly for the riding of Edmonton. He served his term, but did not seek re-election in 1913.

Last years and legacy[edit]

McDougall in his later years.
St John Ambulance building in Edmonton

McDougall spent many of his last years traveling the world with his wife. He died in Edmonton on December 17, 1928. He had been active with the Presbyterian Church, the Masonic Order and the Edmonton Club.

McDougall was one of the founders of St. John Ambulance in Alberta.

John A. McDougall School is named in his honour.

McDougall & Secord, Limited exists in Edmonton to this day, believed to be the oldest surviving company in Alberta. Its precursors—McDougall's General Store and Secord's Fur Store and Warehouse—are reproduced on 1885 Street in Fort Edmonton Park.


  1. ^ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary: Famous Five Foundation. p. 11. 


Political offices
Preceded by
Cornelius Gallagher
Mayor of Edmonton
Succeeded by
William S. Edmiston
Preceded by
William Antrobus Griesbach
Mayor of Edmonton
Succeeded by
Robert Lee
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Preceded by
Charles Wilson Cross
MLA Edmonton
Succeeded by
Charles Wilson Cross
Albert Ewing