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Harold Crabtree, Founder


Harold Crabtree was born in Bury, Lancashire, England, on September 8, 1884. He came to Canada with his family in 1892. They settled in Joliette where his father Edwin worked as manager of the Alex McArthur and Company plant.


In 1899, at age 15, Harold Crabtree began his career as a Junior in the mill office of Alex McArthur and Co.


In 1905, recognizing the possibilities for further industrial expansion, Edwin Crabtree and his six sons formed their own firm, Edwin Crabtree and Sons, five miles away on the banks of the Lac Ouareau River in a spot known as St. Paul de Joliette. It soon became known as Crabtree Mills and was incorporated in 1920. It is now called Crabtree.


In 1912, the Howard Smith Paper Mill was built on Lake St-Louis at Beauharnois. That same year fire destroyed the Crabtree Mill which was immediately rebuilt and operational by 1913. In 1916 the Crabtree plant became the "Crabtree Division" of the Howard Smith organization. Mr. Crabtree worked as Secretary-Treasurer for Howard Smith Paper Mills, then as Managing Director, Vice-President, and finally President by 1937.


In 1931 Mr. Crabtree was elected member of the Board and Vice-President of Woods Manufacturing Company. He became President in 1936. During WWII he resigned this position to become a "dollar-a-year man" as President of Allied War Supplies Corporation (a Crown company supervising, administering, and directing projects dealing with chemicals, explosives, and ammunition-filling from Quebec to British Columbia). For these services, he was awarded the C.B.E. or Companion of the British Empire. After the war, he resumed his position as Chairman and President of Woods Manufacturing until his death on February 18, 1956, in Montreal. Mr. Crabtree was also Chairman of the Board of Fraser Companies Limited. 


During his career, Mr. Crabtree held directorships in the Royal Bank of Canada, the Montreal Trust Company, the Sun Life Co., the Dominion Tar and Chemical Co., and other Canadian Corporations. He was active in many associations - president of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association and chairman of the executive committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He was a governor of the Montreal General Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital, and in the 1950s Mr. Crabtree chaired a very successful fund-raising campaign for the new surgical wing of the Royal Victoria Hospital, which was opened to patients on December 16, 1955. A tribute was unveiled at the hospital by Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Vincent Massey, on January 20, 1956, a month before his death. 


In 1951 Harold Crabtree incorporated The Harold Crabtree Foundation in Montreal for general charitable purposes in the areas of Education, Health, and Social Services.


When Mr. Crabtree passed away in 1956 his son H. Roy Crabtree became President until his death in 1986.


Dorothy Crabtree Davidson, daughter of Harold, moved the Foundation office to Ottawa in 1987 and served as President until her retirement in 1993.


Third and Fourth generation family members presently manage the Foundation and continue its tradition of general charitable giving.




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