Mayor Thomas Marks sitting for a painting wearing a suitThomas Marks was born in Ireland in 1834, and came to Canada as a child in 1842. Throughout the 1850s he worked as a merchant with his two older brothers at Bruce Mines in the Algoma District on Georgian Bay. Marks sent one of his employees to 'The Station' (which soon after became known as Prince Arthur’s Landing, and later Port Arthur) to build a general store, which then became the most important store under the Marks family’s control. Thomas Marks moved permanently to Prince Arthur’s Landing in 1872.

From this time up to his death in 1900, Marks was a leading figure in both commercial and municipal life in the area. He was a key figure in organizing the first municipal Corporation of Shuniah in 1873, and served as Reeve of Shuniah from 1875 to May 1884. In 1884, Port Arthur was incorporated as a town and, by acclamation, Thomas Marks became its first Mayor.

Marks campaigned unsuccessfully for Prince Arthur's Landing to become the home of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) connection to Winnipeg, instead of the favoured Fort William. He then played a significant role in the building of the Prince Arthur's Landing and Kaministiquia Railway, connecting Prince Arthur's Landing to the CPR. He was also involved in real estate, ship building, mining, lumbering, and hotel building and ownership -- he built the Northern Hotel which later became the Mariaggi. Marks had a huge influence on the development of Port Arthur, and is often referred to as 'one of the fathers of Port Arthur'.

Born: June 21, 1834 in Kilfinnan, Ireland

Died: July 9, 1900 in Toronto, Ontario at the age of 66

Reeve: Reeve of Shuniah 1875-1884 (May)

Mayor: 1884 (May - December)


Next Mayor: Mayor James Conmee


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