Robert Wilkes

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Robert Wilkes
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Toronto Centre
In office
Preceded by District was created in 1872
Succeeded by John Macdonald
Personal details
Born (1832-06-24)June 24, 1832
Tullaghan, County Leitrim, Ireland
Died August 16, 1880(1880-08-16) (aged 48)
Sturgeon Point, Ontario
Political party Liberal

Robert Wilkes (June 24, 1832 – August 16, 1880) was an Irish-Canadian politician and businessman. Born in Tullaghan, County Leitrim, Ireland, Wilkes came to Toronto from his native Ireland at sixteen, working as a clerk before buying a jewelry firm, Rossin Brothers, which he expanded into a cross-country operation. He later invested in railroads, and in 1871 he was appointed director of the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

In 1872 he was elected Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, as a Liberal. The election was regarded by observers on both sides as rife with enmity, bribery and corruption.[1] In 1874 he was re-elected, but the return was voided and he retired from politics.


  • Donald Swainson, "Robert Wilkes" Dictionary of Canadian Biography online, 2000

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