National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Donald Alexander Smith, Lord Strathcona (1820-1914)

Donald Alexander Smith, Lord Strathcona (1820-1914)

Businessman and politician in Canada

Donald Smith emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1838 and worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was promoted to various positions and was eventually made its governor in 1889. He was also involved in negotiations that led to the founding of Manitoba, played an important role in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, invested in companies on both sides of the Atlantic and made generous donations to hospitals and educational institutions including the University of Aberdeen. He was appointed High Commissioner to London in 1896 and created Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal of Glencoe and Colonsay the following year. He died in London on 21 January 1914 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery.

Birth in 1820

Donald Alexander Smith, lawful son to Alexander Smith, saddler, Forres, and Barbara Stewart, his spouse was born on 5 August 1820. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Forres gives the date of baptism as 4 October 1820 and the witnesses as Messrs James Innes, Surveyor of Forres, and William Cumming, Merchant, Forres.

Birth and baptism entry for Donald Alexander Smith (later Lord Strathcona)

Birth and baptism entry for Donald Alexander Smith (later Lord Strathcona) (31 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 137/4, page 142