Cameron McIntosh: A visionary publisher and builder of the city of North Battleford

Cameron McIntosh was born July 17, 1871 at Dornoch, Grey County, Ont.

He was descended from stalwart Scottish stock - the Camerons of Gray, Bruce and York. Mr. McIntosh received his education in the public schools of Dornoch, and at Durham High School and Owen Sound Collegiate.

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After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the Hamilton Normal School where he earned a professional teaching certificate in 1901. After teaching for a number of years, he was accepted into the College of Arts and Science and graduated with a degree in 1908.

Mr. McIntosh always had an interest in journalism. In 1911, he decided to move to the young, growing and prosperous community of North Battleford - hoping to find an opening in the newspaper business.

He taught school for the fall term and then took advantage of the opportunity to purchase The North Battleford News from a Mr. J.W. Bawden in 1912. Business was very good so Mr. McIntosh was persuaded to buy the Turtleford Record and The Times of St. Walburg. Mr. McIntosh also purchased the Battleford Press in 1951, one of the early newspapers in Western Canada.

Mr. McIntosh was an eminently successful publisher and businessman. But he was also determined to serve his community, province and country in public office. He was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the North Battleford constituency in 1925, re-elected in 1926, 1930 and 1935. He served until 1940.

During his tenure as MP, Mr. McIntosh was responsible for influencing the government to establish both city and rural mail routes. In addition, the Borden Bridge was constructed during his term of office. As well, he was an exponent of pensions for the aged and the blind, and he lobbied for allowances for unwed mothers. He was also an advocate for a distinctive Canadian flag. In this regard, he introduced a private member's bill on five different occasions.

Mr. McIntosh was also a proponent of northern development. He argued passionately for the construction of road and rail services in order to reap the riches of the north - timber, fish and minerals.

As a lifetime member of the Hudson Bay Route, Mr. McIntosh strongly supported the development of the seaport at Churchill, Man., Western Canada's only Atlantic harbour. As a result, western farmers realized large savings in transportation costs.

Mr. McIntosh ably served his community as a politician, but he also had an enviable record as a community volunteer. He was a member of the first library board in North Battleford.

After World War II, he founded and was the first president of the Canadian Club of the Battlefords. This organization was responsible for erecting the cenotaph to honour and remember the men and women who gave their lives in defence of their country. This memorial still stands in the Hugh (Howdy) McPhail Park located at 11th Avenue and 100th Street in North Battleford.

Cameron McIntosh was a man of faith. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church - a pioneer elder, and a member for more than 40 years. On many occasions, Mr. McIntosh represented Saskatchewan Presbyterians at Presbytery, and at Synod and General Assemblies. He was also the Superintendent of the Knox-St. Andrew's Sunday School for more than 50 years. In addition, he sang in the church choir. As a lay member of the church, Mr. McIntosh played a strong leadership role and was highly influential in the life of the Presbyterian Church.

In the last decade of his long life, Cameron McIntosh published his first book that detailed his life story, his philosophy and dreams for his country. He titled his book Canada Calling.

Mr. McIntosh believed, above all, that every citizen had a responsibility to be first of all, a Canadian - to express love for one's country - its limitless resources, its people and its institutions. Moreover, Mr. McIntosh passionately believed we must live by the laws of our great country as written in our constitution, and we must be willing to defend our great nation regardless of the cost.

Shortly before his death, Mr. McIntosh published his second book.

During his life, Cameron McIntosh was admired and praised for his many accomplishments as a publisher, member of Parliament, community volunteer and churchman. But perhaps the greatest honour bestowed on Mr. McIntosh occurred during his 100th birthday celebrations. Towards the end of his long life, North Battleford's airport was named the Cameron McIntosh Airport.

Mr. McIntosh was more than a successful businessman, politician and community servant, he was a family man. He married Pearle Suzanne, April 17, 1918. They were blessed with a daughter, Peggy, and a son, Cameron Irwin (who became lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan). They also had five grandchildren. After a lengthy illness, Mrs. McIntosh died July 26, 1968. Remarkably, Cameron McIntosh lived to be 100 years old. He was of clear mind and active well into his old age. On Aug. 8, 1971, one month after celebrating his 100th birthday, Cameron McIntosh died.

On the occasion of North Battleford's centennial, we pause to remember the life of a most remarkable man. He admirably served as a parliamentarian, publisher, in community service and as a member of his church. Cameron Ross McIntosh was truly a great citizen.

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist

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