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Mayor Donald James Cowan

Portrait of Mayor Donald James CowanDonald James Cowan graduated law school in 1908 from Osgoode Hall in Toronto and set up his own law firm in Port Arthur later that year.

In 1913, Cowan was elected to the City Council of Port Arthur, and held his seat until 1915. He was elected as Mayor in 1916, during the First World War, which undoubtedly made the position much tougher.

Throughout his two years as Mayor, Cowan continued to make cutbacks in City spending, halting all capital expenses and reducing the salary of paid officials by four per cent. Cowan was also able to obtain Port Arthur Pulp & Paper Company Ltd. for the City of Port Arthur, closed bars throughout the city due to the proclamation of the Ontario Temperance Act in 1916, saw the Railway Marine and General Hospital become the Port Arthur General Hospital in November 1917, and the construction of the Richardson, Saskatchewan Co-operative and Grain Growers Elevators.

In January 1919, Cowan was appointed the City Solicitor of Port Arthur, and held this post until November 1934. In November 1925, he also became the Crown Attorney of the Thunder Bay District, and in 1928, was named a King’s Counsel. He was elected to two terms in Parliament as a Conservative for the riding of Port Arthur-Thunder Bay, in 1926 and 1930.

In July 1935, he was given the Judgeship of Brant County by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett, and there he stayed until retirement in 1958, at the age of 75. 

Born: Jan. 3, 1883 in Drumbo, Blenheim Township, Oxford County, Ontario
Died: Jan. 14, 1964 in Brantford, Ontario at the age of 81
Councillor: 1913-1915
Mayor: 1916-1917
Member of Parliament: 1926-1935


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