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Mayor Richard Vigars

Portrait of Mayor Richard VigarsRichard Vigars came to Canada from England with his family at the age of eight. The family continued to move around in Canada, where the men of the family worked as miners, and even lived in Michigan for a short time. They moved to Prince Arthur’s Landing in 1876, and Vigars and his older brother, William, built the District Court House. Vigars was working as a bricklayer by this time. The Vigars brothers worked on many projects, the most memorable including the Marks dock in 1876; laying the foundation, brickwork, and plaster of St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church in 1881; and the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway dock in 1882.

During the 1890s, the Vigars brothers became heavily involved in the lumber industry and secured a contract with the Ontario and Rainy River Railway, providing them with supplies for their stations and water tanks. In 1902, Vigars’ firm negotiated terms with the Canadian Northern Railway to build a warehouse and dock in Port Arthur and to make improvements to the West Fort coal dock.

During Vigars’ time as Councillor in 1885, he acted as Mayor of Port Arthur and had to supply the passing troops of the Wolseley Expedition, who were on their way to put an end to the Riel Rebellion, with meals. He decided to resign from Council in September 1891, as he did not support the electric street railway and all its costs. He did not enter politics again until 1905, when he was acclaimed as the Mayor of Port Arthur.

While Vigars was Mayor, he negotiated for the Atikokan Iron Works and the Pittsburgh Coal Company to be brought to Port Arthur. Vigars also laid the Port Arthur Salvation Army Citadel cornerstone on Sept. 8, 1905.

Born: Dec. 24, 1849 in Mary Tavy, Devon, England
Died: June 25, 1930 in Port Arthur, Ontario at the age of 80
Councillor: Shuniah Councillor 1882 (January-June), 1883-1884, Port Arthur Councillor 1884 (May-December), 1885, 1891 (January-September)
Mayoral Candidate: 1906
Mayor: 1905

 

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