Created By: SFU
Named after the incredibly wealthy Scottish businessman and philanthropist, Donald Alexander Smith, 1st lord Baron Strathcona. Born in Forres, Scotland, 1820, Smith’s beginnings were humble compared to the success he would find in Canada. Although his parents were distantly related to Scottish nobility, their wealth came from farming and the crafting of saddles. After finishing his schooling, smith declined an apprenticeship with a law firm, instead deciding to peruse a more mercantile life, choosing to be a junior clerk in the HBC. Through many trials and clever networking, Smith managed to find himself as administrator of the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. After leaving the HBC Smith’s ventures took off in all sorts of directions, from political to philanthropic. At the time of his death Smith had lived as the president of the bank of Montreal, the Canadian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, and the man who drove the last spike into the transatlantic railway.
Lord Strathcnona holds a legacy that extends not just across Vancouver but across the entirety of Canada. He has a park named after him in Alberta, a township in the Northwest Territories, and even an entire municipality in Montreal.
Housed in Vancouver’s oldest residential district, Lord Strathcona Elementary is the longest continuously running school in the city and is educates more children yearly than any other school in Vancouver. Despite the historic prestige surrounding the elementary school, it is merely a small marker in Smith’s vast legacy.
Reford, Alexander. “Smith, Dontald Alexander, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal.” Dictionary of Canadian Biograpy, vol. 14. University of Toronto. 1998. Biographi.ca Web. June 2017.
“Lord Strathcona Community School.” Retrived form: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11304
This point of interest is part of the tour: Scotland Walks Strathcona