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.
“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. In 1911, to save talented young musicians the expense of overseas training, he founded the Columbian Conservatory of Music (Toronto), which changed its name the following year to the Canadian Academy of Music; in 1918 it merged with the Toronto College of Music, established in 1888 by Frederick Herbert Torrington. Gooderham served as president until 1924. That year it amalgamated with the Toronto Conservatory of Music under Augustus Stephen Vogt, and Gooderham became chairman of the board of governors for the expanded school. He was also president of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from its launch in 1923 as the New Symphony Orchestra Association until 1931. He personally provided much-needed funds and in 1926 introduced corporate sponsorships.
When a photograph was taken of the orchestra at its first radio broadcast in 1929, Gooderham was seated at the front immediately to the right of the conductor. After he retired as president, the orchestra’s board, at the urging of the new president, Charles Vincent Massey, conferred on Gooderham the title of honorary president.”
Excerpt from article by C. Ian Kyer, “GOODERHAM, Sir ALBERT EDWARD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 8, 2021, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gooderham_albert_edward_16E.html
Article describing Sir Albert E. Gooderham's involvement with the Royal Grenadiers and with the advancement of musical institutions including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra