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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.


1885 and 1911 Military and Musical Interests of Sir Albert E. Gooderham

In addition to fulfilling his responsibilities at Gooderham and Worts, his philanthropy in the health care field and his work on various corporate boards, Sir Albert E. Gooderham contributed to military and musical endeavors.

Staff Officers, Royal Grenadiers 1904

“Gooderham had a lifelong interest in the military. In 1885, at the outbreak of the North-West rebellion, he joined the 10th Battalion of Infantry (Royal Grenadiers) as a second lieutenant. He offered to serve in the expeditionary force being put together to fight the insurgency but was not called up, and his unit fought without him. Gooderham remained active in the regiment, however, and was promoted lieutenant in 1887, captain in 1896, major in 1902, and lieutenant-colonel and commanding officer in 1907. Later he became acting colonel and provided money to support the unit. In 1912, on its 50th anniversary, he hosted more than 1,700 officers and men at a celebratory dinner held at the Toronto armouries.

During World War I, when the Imperial Munitions Board needed a facility to produce acetone for the manufacture of cordite, he made the Gooderham and Worts distillery available, asking only that the authorities pay the taxes and insurance. More than half of Britain’s supply of acetone came from Toronto; he also opened two plants in Indiana.

An Anglican, Gooderham was director of musical activities at St James’ Cathedral. More important, he was a crucial figure in the creation and early nurturing of two notable institutions, the Toronto Conservatory of Music and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.


We ask you to help! If you are a descendant, historian or some other person with relevant information or material, please get in touch. Nothing related to living descendants will be available to the public. In fact, public information will be limited to people who died in the 19th or early 20th centuries.

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