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The Gooderham & Worts families emigrated from the Scole / Bungay area of England in the early 1830s, arriving in York, (now Toronto, Canada). First came James Worts, accompanied by his 13 year-old son, James Gooderham Worts. They built the windmill near the mouth of the Don River. They were followed in 1832 by William and Ezekiel Gooderham, their sister, Elizabeth (James Worts' wife) and 54 extended family members. Over the following 75 years, these families created the largest distillery in the world, as well as contributing to milling, banking, railways, shipping, farming and other essential components of the growing industrial country. They were active in the church and in various communities, as well as in health care and even in our political institutions. In 2013, descendants of the Gooderham and Worts families created an online website that includes a family tree with photos, documents and stories.


1923 William George Gooderham’s Unreadable Signature

William George Gooderham, grandson of William, served as the President of Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation from 1910 until his death in 1935. His signature appeared on all Canada Permanent debentures. On one occasion, a lady out west returned the debenture because she wanted it signed by Mr. Gooderham not Mr. MacWhale. W.G. was delighted and returned the debenture with a personal letter to explain that the latter signature was really his. His signature really did look like MacWhale.

1923 Bank of Toronto note

William George was also a director (1882), Vice President (1905) and President (1916) of the Bank of Toronto. As President, W.G. had approved a loan from the Bank of Toronto to the Bank of Yokohama, which went bankrupt. He felt personally responsible to assume the debt so that no shareholder would lose anything. This he did and in return he received some of the remaining assets of the Japanese bank. These included many objet d’art – beautiful ancient ivory carvings and figurines, mother of pearl inlaid tables and chairs and Shogun warrior mailed armour. His grandchildren could fit into the small sized Japanese suits and had a great time rushing around the house fighting each other.

Written by Peter Buchanan Gooderham in May/June 1985 based on stories he was told by his grandfather William George Gooderham


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