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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.


FEATURED STORIES

1934 Sir Albert Edward Gooderham is Knighted

Sir Albert Edward Gooderham was granted a knighthood shortly before his death in 1934 for service to his country.

Sir Albert Gooderham and his wife Lady Marietta Reford Duncanson

“He was always known as Colonel Gooderham, the popular and colourful commanding officer of one of this country’s best-known regiments, the Royal Grenadiers. In 1912, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the regiment, he turned the parade ground inside the old armories on University Ave. into an enormous banqueting hall, large enough to seat all 1,778 officers and men of his regiment and gave one of the largest military dinners ever held in pre-war Canada.”

His ability to throw a party wasn’t or wasn’t the only reason he was knighted. “During the opening months of World War I, it soon became apparent that all available grain would be needed to produce food for the armed forces serving overseas. Ontario passed the Temperance Act, and all distilleries were closed. As soon as Albert Gooderham learned that the British Government urgently needed more factories to produce explosives, with the approval of all his family he turned the great complex of Gooderham & Worts plants over to the government. Day and night shifts were hired to produce acetone, a critically important substance that enabled nitroglycerine and gun cotton to be combined to produce the British army’s most successful smokeless gunpowder, cordite.”

“During those war years, he refused to let the government pay one cent for the use of any Gooderham & Worts factories. One of his sons, Melville, was then serving in France, and as Albert’s wife later remarked. ‘He said he couldn’t sleep at night if he made a penny out of the men fighting at the front.’”

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