John Ross Robertson

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John Ross Robertson
John Ross Robertson.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Toronto East
In office
1896–1900
Preceded by Emerson Coatsworth
Succeeded by Albert Edward Kemp
Personal details
Born (1841-12-28)December 28, 1841
Toronto, Canada West
Died May 31, 1918(1918-05-31) (aged 76)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party Independent Conservative

John Ross Robertson (December 28, 1841 – May 31, 1918) was a Canadian newspaper publisher, politician, and philanthropist in Toronto, Ontario.

Born in Toronto, the son of John Robertson and Margaret Sinclair, Robertson was educated at Upper Canada College, a private high school in Toronto. As a young man, he started a newspaper at UCC called Young Canada and a satirical magazine, The Grumbler.

He was hired as a reporter and then city editor at The Globe in Toronto, but left The Globe to found The Telegraph in 1866. That paper lasted five years,1 and Robertson went to England as a reporter for The Globe. He returned to Toronto in 1876 to launch the Toronto Evening Telegram, which became the voice of working class, conservative, Orange Toronto.

He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons for the electoral district of Toronto East in the 1896 federal election defeating the incumbent Conservative MP, Emerson Coatsworth. An Independent Conservative, he did not run for re-election in 1900.

The world of sports was also a focus for Robertson’s public-spiritedness. A fervent advocate of amateur sport, he served as president of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1899 to 1905, which was a critical time period in the history of the sport. His battle to protect hockey from the influence of professionalism caused him to be called the “father of Amateur Hockey in Ontario.” During his term as president, the OHA was able to set rules defining professionalism in hockey. He worked especially hard to rid hockey of increasing violence both on and off the ice. Robertson’s donation of silver trophies to hockey, cricket, and bowling further encouraged amateur competition. The championship trophy of the Ontario Hockey League, the J. Ross Robertson Cup, is still named in his honour. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.

He bequeathed his considerable book collection to the Toronto Public Library, founded a children's home, and left a large annuity to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. The John Ross Robertson Public School, an elementary school of the Toronto District School Board is named after Robertson, and is located at 130 Glengrove Avenue West in Toronto.

References

  1. ^ Hopkins, J. Castell (1898). An historical sketch of Canadian literature and journalism. Toronto: Lincott. p. 227. ISBN 0665080484. 

Sources

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