For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Donald Gordon (Canadian businessman).

Donald Gordon (Canadian businessman)

Donald Gordon
Donald Gordon of Canada
Born(1901-12-11)December 11, 1901
DiedMay 2, 1969(1969-05-02) (aged 67)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Known forPresident of the Canadian National Railways from 1950 to 1966
AwardsOrder of Canada
Order of St Michael and St George

Donald Gordon, CC CMG (11 December 1901 – 2 May 1969) was a Scottish-Canadian businessman and the former President of the Canadian National Railways from 1950 to 1966.[1]

Born in Oldmeldrum, Scotland, Gordon came to Canada at an early age. At 15, he joined the Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto, becoming assistant chief accountant and assistant manager of the Toronto branch. In 1935, he was appointed Secretary of the newly formed Bank of Canada and later became deputy governor. At the outbreak of war, Gordon was appointed Chairman of the Foreign Exchange Control Board, and then from 1941 to 1947, he was Chairman of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. He became a national figure in Canada during these years, as the WPTB had control over all wages and prices in Canada, and touched the lives of all Canadians. He was also asked to meet with United States economic experts as the USA came into the war, and the U.S. modelled much of its price policy on the Canadian experience. After the war, Gordon was the Canadian representative on the newly formed International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. From 1950 to 1966, he was Chairman and President of the Canadian National Railways. During his colourful career at this post, he re-organised the company, and brought an ailing and bankrupt company into profit.

Gordon was involved in the controversy over naming the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, after its founding in Montreal. Quebec nationalists wanted it called Château Maisonneuve in honour of Montreal's founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Gordon decided it should be named for Queen Elizabeth II, who had unexpectedly come to the throne in 1952 while the hotel was still on the drawing boards.

He was also involved in a controversy in 1962 when he said that no French-Canadian was competent enough to be vice-president of the Canadian National Railway. This statement was ironic because he himself had left high school in grade 10. The febrile atmosphere of the time seized upon these words to imply that he was anti-French, so he proceeded to justify this statement in a more defendable way in the extensive interviews and television appearances made afterwards. He remained a figure of controversy for Quebec nationalists for whom he represented a certain type of English-speaking businessman.

In 1944, he was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. And, in 1968, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario has honoured Gordon, naming a university residence Donald Gordon House, and its conference centre Donald Gordon Centre. He is a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He was given honorary degrees by several Canadian Universities, including McGill University. He was also a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.


  1. ^ Schull, Joseph. (1979). The great Scot : a biography of Donald Gordon. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0773503498. OCLC 5843574.

Business positions Preceded byRobert Charles Vaughan President of Canadian National Railway 1950 – 1966 Succeeded byNorman J. MacMillan
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Donald Gordon (Canadian businessman)
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?