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Biography & Autobiography Historical

A Gentleman of Substance

The Life and Legacy of John Redpath (1796-1869)

by (author) Richard Feltoe

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2006
Historical, Business, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2006
    List Price

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A Gentleman of Substance covers the remarkable life of John Redpath. Born to humble circumstances in Scotland in 1796, he emigrated to Canada in 1816 to become a stonemason in Montreal. By 1818 he had his own building and contracting firm and was working on the Lachine Canal as well as much construction and restoration work on buildings in Montreal. His work on the Rideau Canal, as contracted by Colonel John By, established his business reputation, while his leadership within the Presbyterian Church stabilized his position in the community. His involvement in the political and military life of Montreal is traced from before the 1837 Rebellion period through to his involvement with the Annexation Movement, making him an obvious candidate for the Montreal City Council.

The author traces John Redpath’s upwardly mobile social status, his friendship with Peter McGill, and his acceptance into the elite society of Montreal, earning him a place within the coveted “Square Mile.” Despite a rigorous business schedule and extensive family responsibilities (he fathered 17 children), he was a frequent benevolent contributor to community needs, as well as participating on numerous Boards and Committees and contributing to the shaping of the urban design of Montreal. Attention is given to his expansive home, Terrace Bank, the subsequent subdivision of his estate and the early residential expansion of Montreal, and to his founding of the Canada Sugar Refinery and its growth.

About the author

Richard Feltoe was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and holds a degree in economics from the University of London. He is the curator and corporate archivist for the Redpath Sugar Museum and is active as a living history reenactor, portraying the life of a Canadian militia soldier from the Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada regiment in the War of 1812-1815. His other publications include Redcoated Ploughboys. He lives in Brampton, Ontario.

Richard Feltoe's profile page

Other titles by Richard Feltoe