Edward Rogers Wood (1866-1941)

Edward Rogers Wood, circa 1937 (Author;'s collection)
Edward Rogers Wood, circa 1937 (Author;’s collection)

Edward Rogers Wood (1866-1941) was the protege and “right hand man” of Senator George Albertus Cox, one of the leading figures in Canadian business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Following the death of Senator George A. Cox in 1914, Edward Rogers Wood continued his career as one of the leading figures in Canadian finance.

Edward Rogers Wood’s association with Robert Butchart and Butchart Gardens history began in in 1904 (and possibly earlier) with the incorporation of the Vancouver Portland Cement Company in British Columbia in April 1904.

Although the Vancouver Portland Cement Company is often assumed to have been Robert Butchart’s company, its majority shareholders were Senator George A. Cox and Edward R. Wood, who effectively controlled the company. Robert Butchart was a minority shareholder and Managing Director of the Vancouver Portland Cement Company.

Edward R. Wood also controlled the Vancouver Portland Cement Company’s successor, the British Columbia Cement Company, of which Robert Butchart was President.

Edward Rogers Wood, circa 1917 (Author;'s collection)
Edward Rogers Wood, circa 1917 (Author;’s collection)

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of our Butchart Gardens History:

“……..But the Vancouver Portland Cement Company’s largest individual investor, who was also appointed the company’s President, was described in company records simply as: E.R. Wood, loan company manager, Toronto, 636 preference shares.

Interestingly, E.R Wood’s name never appeared in any of the Victoria newspapers’ reports about the Vancouver Portland Cement Company. Perhaps this was just an oversight but, if so, it was a major oversight. For Edward Rogers (E.R.) Wood (1866-1941) was far more than just a “loan company manager”; he was one of the leading figures in Canadian finance, described by his contemporaries as “one of the ablest and most capable financial men in Canada”, and as a man who had “displayed such knowledge and tact that his opinions on all financial and investment questions are eagerly sought after by all members of the commercial community.”

Born in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1866, Edward Rogers Wood began his career in 1884 as a telegraph operator with the Grand Trunk Railway. A few years later he joined the Central Canada Loan & Savings Company, rising over time to become that company’s General Manager, Vice President, Managing Director and, finally, President. Central Canada Loan & Savings was a leader in channeling British investment capital into Canadian business ventures, but Wood was involved in much more than that. In 1904 he was the President of Dominion Securities, where he was recognized as having “mastery of the bond business”; he was a director of Canada’s second largest bank, the Canadian Bank of Commerce (which merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada in 1961 to become today’s CIBC; he was a Vice President of the National Trust Company; and he was a Director of the Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company, which had been created in 1897 following the takeover by Senator George A. Cox and Robert Jaffray of the coal and railway companies owned by Col. James Baker and the Fernie brothers in British Columbia’s Kootenay district (see Chapter 1); In 1912, Wood became Vice President of the Brazilian Traction Light & Power Company, which later became known as Brascan and which is still in business today as Brookfield Asset Management (BAM:TSX and BAM:NYSE)……”

Edward Rogers Wood operated his financial empire from his head office at 26 King Street East in downtown Toronto. That building is no longer standing but an image of it appears below:

The building at 26 King Street used as a head office by Edward Rogers Wood. This building has since been demolished. (Courtesy of Royal Bank of Canada)
The building at 26 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario used as a head office by Edward Rogers Wood. This building has since been demolished. (Courtesy of Royal Bank of Canada)
Signatures of Edward Rogers Wood and John Worth Mitchell on a vancouver Portland Cement Company document, 1910 (Author's collection)
Signatures of Edward Rogers Wood and John Worth Mitchell on a Vancouver Portland Cement Company document, 1910 (Author’s collection)

Here are some sites with more information on Edward Rogers Wood:

Edward R. Wood is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario alongside his mentor, Senator George Albertus Cox.

The graves of Senator George Albertus Cox (background) and Edward Rogers Wood (foreground) in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario (photo by Author)
The graves of Senator George Albertus Cox (background) and Edward Rogers Wood (foreground) in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario (photo by Author)

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