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Mayor John Oliver Booth

Portrait of Mayor John O. BoothAt the age of 19, John Oliver Booth traveled from England to South America, where he worked on a sugar estate as a plantation overseer for three years. After contracting malaria, Booth decided to move to Canada where he would be unlikely to suffer any recurrences. He found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), first in Portage la Prairie, then in Fort William, where he became Chief of the CPR yard staff. When the First World War began, Booth traveled back to Europe and fought in France, but was wounded in action. He returned to Fort William in April 1919 and worked as Superintendent of grain doors for the Canadian National Railway from 1920 until his retirement in 1955.

Booth sat on the Fort William Board of Education in 1934 and 1935, which marked the start of his political career. He then proceeded to win a Council seat nearly every year between 1936 and 1963, apart from a brief hiatus in the early 1950s when he sat as Hydroelectric Commissioner. He officially ran for Mayor once in 1943, but came third out of four candidates. When Mayor Catherine Seppala resigned due to illness in September 1960, Council chose Booth as her replacement and he served as Mayor of Fort William until the end of that year.

After retiring from public life, Booth travelled widely. He was killed in 1972, as the result of a head injury incurred during a dispute with a visiting United States Air Force intelligence officer (who was later cleared of any wrongdoing).

Born: Dec. 1, 1889 in Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: Jan. 7, 1972 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at age 82
Councillor: 1936-1942, 1944-1951, 1956-1957, 1959-1960, 1961-1963
Mayoral Candidate: 1943
Mayor: 1960 (September - December)

 

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