Leonard Lee

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Leonard Lee
Born (1938-07-17)July 17, 1938
near Algrove, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died July 7, 2016(2016-07-07) (aged 77)
Ottawa, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation businessman
Known for founder of Lee Valley Tools

Leonard G. Lee, CM (July 17, 1938 – July 7, 2016) was a Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Lee Valley Tools and Canica Design. Born in 1938, near the hamlet of Algrove in central, rural Saskatchewan,[1][2] he grew up in a log cabin without electricity or running water.[1]

He received a Diploma in Civil Engineering from Royal Roads Military College and a Bachelor of Economics[1] degree in 1963 from Queen's University. He worked for the federal government for sixteen years as a topographical surveyor, member of the Canadian Foreign Service and civil servant in the Department of Industry.

In 1978, he founded Lee Valley Tools Ltd., a Canadian woodworking and gardening tools mail-order business which has since grown into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. In 1985, he founded Veritas Tools. In 1991, he founded Algrove Publishing.[3] In 1998, with his son Robin running Lee Valley Tools, Lee started a new business, Canica Design, a medical/surgical instrument company, headquartered in Almonte, Ontario.

In 2002, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada for "being a successful entrepreneur."[4] In 2007, he was granted an honorary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. In 2011, he was granted an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa. Lee died on July 7, 2016 from effects of vascular dementia.[5][6]



  1. ^ a b c Stren, Olivia (Spring 2007), Report On (Small) Business - Under The Knife (PDF), Globe and Mail, p. 6 
  2. ^ Banks, Wendy (July 30, 2005), How Leonard Lee carved his niche, National Review of Medicine, pp. Vol. 2, No.13 
  3. ^ Lima, Paul (January 2006), Retooling: The Reinvention of Leonard Lee, Canada One Magazine 
  4. ^ Order of Canada
  5. ^ "Leonard Lee, founder of Lee Valley Tools, dies". 8 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "Lee Valley Tools founder Leonard Lee dies".