Making Change: Fifty Years of the Laidlaw Foundation

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Making Change Fifty Years of the Laidlaw Foundation

Edited by Nathan Gilbert & Joyce Zemans ECW P R E S S

James Laidlaw b.H55d. 1819 Helen Scott b. a 1767 A1100



Margaret Robertson b. 1810m. 1828 d. I8«

Ellen Laidlaw b. 1828 d 1910 James Laidlaw b. 1830 d. 1913

Robert Laidtw b. 1792 d. aft. 1886

Andrew Laidlaw

James Laidlaw b. 1796 d. 1886

William Laidlaw b. 179H1839

Walter Laidlaw b. 1799(1.1873

b. 1794 d, 1174 Agnes QUARRIE


Mary Laidlaw b. 179111847


Thomas Laidlaw

lames, Ellen, John & Robert Laidliw

Margaret ARMOUR

Katherine(CalriErin) Laidlaw k. 1833d. 1899 William Laidlaw Alexander Laidlaw

b. 1835 d. 1865 Sadie CODE Robert Laidlaw

b. 1837 i 1929 Robert Etic Laidlaw Jessie CAMERON

b. 1874 d. aft 1929

Anne Clarke CHAMNEY

William Laidlaw b. 1839d,1923



Duncan Laidlaw

b. 1841 d. 1906 Mar^rel Laidlaw b. 184241919 John STEW ART

Walter Laidhw b. 114441144

* Please refer to the second chart for the descendants of Robert Laidlaw, founder of Laidlaw Lumber Company, whose sons established the Laidlaw Foundation in 1949

Robert laidlaw b. 1837 d. 1929 Jessie CAMERON b. approx 1843 d. aft 1929

Robert Alexander "Bobby" Laidlaw b. 1886 d. 1976

Walter Cameron Laidlaw b. 1875 d. 1962 Ann (Annie) Laidlaw b. 1878 d. 1964

Julia Isobel CAYLEY b. 1865 m. 1913

Margaret Christina Laidlaw b. 1881 d. 1960 Katharine Julia Laidlaw b. 1914 d. 1993

Andrew SMITH b. 1912 ro. 1939

Robert Gordon Nicholas Laidlaw b. 1916 d. 1990

Jeffery Cayley Laidlaw b. 1918 d. 1944

Mamie Kathryn GRANT b. 1924m. 1948

Roderick Walter Lukin Laidlaw b. 1922 d. 1971

Suzanne Agnes OLIVER b. 1924m. 1946 d. 1999

Robert David "Bob" Smith b. 1942

James Grant Laidlaw b. 1949

Carolyn Martha (Lyn) Laidlaw b. 1949

Jeffery Laidlaw Smith b. 1946

Julia Kathryn Laidlaw b. 1952

Deborah Sue Laidlaw b.1951

William David Laidlaw b. 1956

Katherine Mamie (Kim) Laidlaw b. 1954

Melissa Laidlaw b. 1960

Jeffery Douglas Laidlaw b. 1956

Copyright © ECW PRESS, 2001 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any process — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise — without the prior written permission of the copyright owners and ECW PRESS. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION DATA

Making change: fifty years of the Laidlaw foundation Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 1-55021-450-6 i. Laidlaw Foundation — History. 2. Laidlaw family. I. Laidlaw Foundation. HVI05-M3647 2000 361.7''.632'0971 PR9I99-3-B76C65 2001


Text design by Tannice Goddard Cover image by Sandra Gabriele Layout by Mary Bowness Printed by AGMV Distributed in Canada by General Distribution Services, 325 Humber College Blvd., Toronto, ON, uywjc} Published by ECW PRESS 2120 Queen Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M4E iE2 This book is set in Garamond. PRINTED AND BOUND IN CANADA

ECW PRESS gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program. Canada'

Contents Preface Acknowledgements Introduction ONE A Home and a Grave in the New World TWO Where I Come From We Trust One Another THREE Brothers FOUR A Time to Gain FIVE " . . . And a Time to Lose"

vii xi xiii i 12 24 39 51

six The Family Committee: An Early Experiment in Youth Engagement


SEVEN A Private Public-Interest Foundation


EIGHT "A Sweatshirt . . . Not a Suit"


NINE "What the best and wisest parent wants"


TEN "A Time to Dance"


ELEVEN " . . . And a Time to Heal"


TWELVE Doing the Right Thing Right



List of Boards of Directors and Advisory Committees



Laidlaw Foundation Grants 1950-1999



Publications Funded through the Laidlaw Foundation's Children At Risk Program



Recipients of Laidlaw Fellowships for Advanced Studies in Law 1984-1991



Pollution Probe Grant History



Laidlaw Family Photographs



Laidlaw Foundation-Funded Project Photographs


Bibliography Notes

179 183





provided a fascinating account of the history and philanthropic activities of the Laidlaw family and Foundation. The Laidlaw story offers a powerful reminder that the public interest can be extremely well served by privately managed funds accorded the privilege of tax exemption. Few private foundations in Canada have exercised this privilege as effectively as the Laidlaw Foundation; expert advisory committees have formulated its programs based on careful assessment of needs, the allocation of resources has been independently reviewed, and the programs, as a whole, have been subjected to interim and terminal arm's-length evaluation. Family adds an additional degree of complexity to foundation management. Since 1971, Laidlaw family members have served on the board as a minority and have contributed significantly to program initiatives, such as those concerned with the well-being of children or environmental sustainability. In addition to family



members, the Foundation has retained the services of a strong and imaginative Executive Director, outstanding professional advisory committees, and independent-minded, hard-working non-family board members. The history of the Laidlaw Foundation illustrates an evolution through three approaches to philanthropy: first, a focus on the key institutions with which the donors were personally associated, notably Upper Canada College, University of Toronto, and the Hospital for Sick Children; secondly, a professionally managed Foundation responding to applications in defined areas of interest; and, currently, a proactive strategy to be at the forefront in identifying issues and designing funding responses for unmet needs. The Laidlaw Foundation has been willing to accept substantial risk and "to try things they hadn't done before." This policy has resulted in leading-edge contributions to the social and economic well-being of children and families and strengthened opportunities for youth, support for the creation of new works in dance, drama, and music by small organizations not yet in the mainstream, and enhanced capacity of non-government environmental organizations in the Great Lakes region. These initiatives have served to reshape thinking in sectors dominantly funded by government programs, which are understandably limited by strong inertial forces and limited risk tolerance. In the final chapter one quotation brilliantly weaves together the strands that run throughout this history. "W.C. and R.A. Laidlaw were not near-saintly philanthropists, but thoroughly human: generous and cranky, oblivious and sensitive, stubbornly clinging to the past and better able than most to recognize that there would be needs beyond those of their lifetimes." The preceding chapters document how well the Foundation has perpetuated the admirable values of the founders: generosity of purpose, sensitivity to human security and creativity, and anticipation of future needs. The story of the Laidlaw Foundation illustrates the extraordinary value of well-managed private philanthropy in complementing



government-thinned programs, particularly when it encourages groups in society to "try things they hadn't done before." John Evans, CHAIR, WALTER AND DUNCAN GORDON FAMILY FOUNDATION; FORMER CHAIR, ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION September 8, 1999

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IN 1997, THE LAIDIAW FOUNDATION engaged Sheila Kieran to undertake research and prepare a draft manuscript on the jo-year history of the Foudation and the family that gave rise to this unique charitable organization. Nathan Gilbert assumed responsibility for the completion of the project in the latter part of 1999. Time and information supplied by dozens of others made this project possible. Members of the Laidlaw family answered questions and cheerfully went through personal letter and picture collections; Jamie Laidlaw, Lyn Apgar, and Bob and Jeff Smith were particularly helpful in talking about their family and in searching for material. We are indebted to Heather loannou for her meticulous archival and genealogical research. John Hodgson was a marvellous source of information about the early days of the Laidlaw Foundation, as well as about the members of the family, past and present. Appreciation is extended to the following individuals and



organizations: George Thomson for his candid and insightful comments; Dr. Clive Chamberlain; David Kilgour; Bryan Hayday; Wendy Barnes; Sandra Guillaume of the Archives of Ontario; Dr. John Belton; Geoff Cannon of the Halton Regional Archives/ Halton Hills Public Library; the late Dr. Robbie Case; The Honourable David Crombie; Kerry Dolan; Arthur Drache; Anne W. Dupre; Gordon Floyd of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy; Wolfe Goodman; Dianne Gilday at the Archives of the Hospital for Sick Children; Ken Jeffers; the Kahanoff Foundation; Urjo Kareda; Bruce Lourie; Linda McQuaig; Janet Mowat; Professor Viv Nelles; Ivon Owen; Charles Pascal of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation; David Perry of the Canadian Tax Foundation; Walter Ross; Bruce Quarrington; Preston Sewell; the Simcoe County Archives, especially Ellen Millar and Christina McBain; David Silcox; Dr. Robert Slater of Environment Canada; author Walter Stewart; the late Dr. Paul Steinhauer; Jessie Waiters; William Withrow; and Brenda Zimmerman. Sheila Kieran expressed particular indebtedness for the support she received for this project from her family, Patricia Kieran McCuaig and Michael Kieran, and friends Michele Landsberg, Doris Anderson, Norma Scarborough, and Peter Moore. Special thanks are directed to Laidlaw Foundation staff, Lynda Henery, Teresa Lo, and Andrea Vagianos, who photocopied papers, searched Foundation archives, and provided administrative support to both Sheila Kieran and Nathan Gilbert. Lastly, Alana Wilcox and ECW PRESS are to be noted for editing and layout. Nathan Gilbert Joyce Zemans December 15, 2000


THE LAIDLAWS you are about to meet are members of the family of Robert Laidlaw, who, in the late i9th century, created the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company, which passed into history in 1972 when it was sold to a unit of MacMillan Bloedel. There is no business or family connection between these Laidlaws and the multinational company of the same name whose yellow school buses, visible on streets across North America, keep the Laidlaw name before the public. The Laidlaw Foundation was established in 1949 by the lumberman's sons, Walter and Robert, in order to minimize taxes and distribute their money to organizations and causes in which they had long been interested. On his death in 1962, Walter, a lifelong bachelor and the wealthier of the two, made relatively modest bequests to two nephews and left the rest of his fortune, more than $5 million, to the Foundation. After providing for his children and grandchildren, his younger brother did likewise, though on a necessarily smaller scale.



This book is a history of the Laidlaw family, how it amassed money, and why the brothers decided to disperse it as they did; it is also a record of the development and key activities of the family foundation over the past half-century. It examines the significant impact the Laidlaw Foundation has had on this country — on the way it regards children in need, trains scholars, and supports social, cultural, and environmental causes. Throughout, it highlights the process by which, slowly and sometimes after disagreements within the family, the Foundation became the admirably open, professionally run organization it is today. Making Change seeks to identify what motivates people to act philanthropically and the implications of their doing so. Initially one might have assumed the Laidlaw Foundation's now firmly established culture would be a reflection of Walter's and Robert's characters. That turned out to be too reductive, although it is true that giving is a family tradition. Philanthropy has been a constant throughout the generations, and its continuation has been ensured by the Foundation, principally through Robert Gordon Nicholas Laidlaw, Robert Alexander's oldest son, and — until his early death — by Roderick Walter Lukin Laidlaw, RA.'s youngest. All were descendants of James Laidlaw, a shepherd in the Ettrick Forest area of Selkirkshire, Scotland, who came to Canada with his family in 1818. They might have continued farming in Upper Canada but instead moved into industry when a neighbour offered James's grandson a job in his sawmill. Walter and Robert Laidlaw in turn further shifted the family's livelihood, from lumber to investment, from accumulating to managing wealth. Their generosity had its roots in the family's religious traditions, but it was not always a reflection of spiritual values. As children, the brothers were taken to church three times each Sunday, and Walter remained a church member even as an adult. Robert, however, said that he had been obliged to attend so frequently as a child that he "figured he could never go again and still keep a good average." Wolfe Goodman, an expert in non-profit law and estate plan-



ning, says that one of the most vital ingredients of generosity among the well-to-do is tradition. In his professional experience, the people who make arrangements to contribute to the community after they die "are usually good contributors in their lifetime. They feel the need to keep doing it and they're concerned their children and grandchildren may not feel the same incentive — they may live in a different community, country, or lifestyle."1 W.C. and R.A. Laidlaw shared the interests and outlook common to people in their economic and social circumstances: they travelled, entertained, hunted, and sailed. But, unlike the overwhelming majority of their peers, they formalized their philanthropy by creating a family foundation, which, since December 1949, has given more than $38 million in grants to a broad range of charities. Learning what motivated the Laidlaws is a matter of more than idle interest: with dwindling tax support for a host of cultural, environmental, educational, medical, social, and community needs, Canadians are increasingly dependent on private and corporate philanthropy to fill the void. That being so, it is useful to understand what persuades wealthy people to give away their money and to provide leadership in areas where government stewardship is lacking. The idea of an authorized history began with the Laidlaw Foundation's Board of Directors, who wanted to mark the joth anniversary of the Foundation. They felt it was important to document the Foundation's origin and development, and believed that the project would yield a narrative that might be of interest to new Foundation board and committee members and the Laidlaw family, and, secondarily, to social and behavioural scientists, prospective applicants, and, in particular, to the larger philanthropic community. The directors expanded the scope of the project so that it would capture some sense of the people responsible for creating the Foundation and raise certain of the issues surrounding today's "third sector" and its relationship to society as a whole.



Finally, while it cannot provide simple answers — because there are no simple answers — this book seeks at least to raise some of the difficult questions philanthropy invokes. They begin and end with our ideas about government: What role do Canadians think it should play in our society, in our communities, and in our lives? Is it essentially functional and bureaucratic, for monitoring economic performance and issuing passports? Or should government activities express, strengthen, and reflect a set of broadly agreed-upon values? The choice, of course, is not that cut and dried. Whether it's printing stamps, grading beef, warring, or keeping the peace in the Balkans, governments, especially the federal government, always have duties related to social values: in Canada, universally accessible, publicly funded health care is only the most obvious example of that fact. Disagreements arise over the values government should underwrite and the extent to which it should do so. Such concepts as the right to shelter, education, and adequate nutrition for all, protecting the vulnerable against abuse and discrimination — are these Canadian values? Do enough of us subscribe to any or all of them to claim them as our own? If we do, does the role of government include transforming them into programs and policies? If it does, are we willing to bear the cost such programs and policies involve? In the past decade and a half, Canadians have favoured the least-government approach. But when the major responsibility for the social network is left to the private sector, it is especially important to encourage and enable philanthropies to act in the public good. At the very least, that means clear-cut rules, evenly and rigorously applied. Today, however, despite good intentions on all sides, a mix of social, political, and economic factors make clarity difficult to achieve. Departments responsible for collecting taxes (in Canada, the Customs and Revenue Agency) are vigilant about keeping definitions of "tax-exempt" organizations and activities up-to-date and in



line with current social needs. But their best efforts are undermined by the very basis on which those definitions rest. The first problem is that charities are characterized according to rules used in the time of Queen Elizabeth — the one who died in 1603. They originated in the preamble to the Statute of Charitable Uses Act, 1601, as interpreted in the 1891 court decision known as Pemsel, which grouped charities into four divisions: the relief of poverty, the advancement of education, the advancement of religion, and other purposes "beneficial to the community or analogous in spirit and purpose to one of these divisions and [of benefit] to a substantial body of the public." In 1601, and even in 1891, the four categories probably covered all endeavours that might be considered worthy of public support. However, they hardly cover a world concerned about the environment, racial and ethnic harmony, gender equality, problems of minorities and the socially vulnerable, and such concepts as "rights." Since 1930, when "charitable donations" were introduced into Canadian tax law, governments have used various rules, regulations, and court decisions to fine-tune definitions, but no one has yet undertaken the basic heavy hauling needed to rethink the very foundations on which the rules rest.7 The idea of charitable, tax-exempt donations was contentious from the start, and quarrels about what should be included (or excluded) and why began even before the first tax receipt had been issued. During the Second "World War, there were exemptions for gifts to the Canadian War Service; later, people had to present receipts to back up claims and could deduct gifts made to federal, provincial, or municipal governments and, in the 19505, donations for non-profit housing corporations providing low-cost housing for seniors. Initially, charitable organizations could not be involved in political activities, a rule that changed in 1986, after a Federal Court of Appeal decision on the matter. Now, the political endeavours must be ancillary and incidental to the charitable activities or purposes



and must not involve direct or indirect support or opposition to political parties and candidates. At the same time, private foundations remain obliged to devote "substantially all" of their resources (generally interpreted to mean at least 4.5 per cent of the average market value of their assets calculated over the previous eight quarters) to registered Canadian charitable organizations or for their own charitable activities. The problem, however, is not just one of legal antiquity: tradition also plays a role in the current system. For example, most churches, all of which have tax-exempt status, oppose reproductive choice, while many groups that support it lack the same advantage. But the consensus against taxing religious institutions is strongly rooted in Canadian society and seems unlikely to change. We have all heard stories about exemptions being given to groups that hardly seem to merit it (the one, for instance, that sold beer to raise money for "social welfare, charity, education, and civic improvement") while it was denied to such beneficial organizations as the Audubon Society, a university's co-op residence, and a memorial trust.3 Nonetheless, the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency (CCRA) is generous in its rulings: there are some 78,000 currently registered "tax-exempt" organizations, and approximately another thousand being added yearly. That does not support accusations that the system is overly restrictive, though there is an urgent need to rethink some of the rules. For example, a foundation must give funds only to qualified donees, tax-exempt groups, which is no problem when money is earmarked for hospitals, large arts organizations, or to universities — in other words, the larger, established institutions. But it puts emerging not-for-profit organizations, particularly those organizations grappling with non-traditional and experimental services and issues, at a disadvantage and makes it more difficult for interested benefactors (including the Laidlaw Foundation) to help them as efficiently as they could. It could also be argued that CCRA would at least appear to be



more accountable if its decision-making process were more public. At present, on grounds of "privacy," the Agency releases little information about groups it accepts or rejects. There is one final question about philanthropy, perhaps the most interesting and least asked: Whose money is it, anyway? On the surface, that's obvious: money belongs to those who give it or to a company's owners and investors, to do with as they see fit. The Rockefellers, for instance, made charitable contributions a public relations exercise and to stay the hand of unfriendly governments against their companies — the kinds of uses that are increasingly common. On October 20, 1998, for example, the Globe and Mail reported that, through a family foundation of which he is chairman and his brother is administrator, press baron Conrad Black planned to give $5 million to the Hospital for Sick Children "just after" he launched a new national paper, the National Post; the article described a hospital spokesperson as "laughing when asked whether the timing of the donation is supposed to be coincidental with the launching of the . . . paper." In the U.S., billionaire Bill Gates's family foundation, administered by his father, announced that, over the lifetime of Microsoft's founder and his wife, Melinda, their charity would give billions away for a variety of causes, ranging from AIDS prevention to scholarships for minorities.4 The most generous of those announcements began at the time the U.S. government's antitrust case against Microsoft was wending its way through the courts. But perhaps self-interest does not diminish the value of a gift: whatever the motives, recipients benefit. What is less discussed is that givers also receive — they get tax cuts that may run as high as 50 per cent. Of course, all foregone tax revenues must be captured elsewhere in the tax system; a gift that erodes one person's or one organization's tax liability increases the burden carried by the rest. In some sense, all of us support all philanthropy: the atheist has



a stake in religious donations, the school dropout in university fundraising, the traditionalist in the avant-garde, and the postmodernist in the classics. If our financial stake were more significantly acknowledged, perhaps a greater sense of charity as a collective rather than an individual effort would result. Not in order to give every taxpayer a claim on philanthropic decision-making, but quite the opposite: so that taxpayers are assured that donations are being given at arm's length, through well-run organizations (also functioning at arm's length) to recipients chosen through an open and consistent process that is publicly monitored and evaluated. In his Sunday New York Times Magazine "Ethicist" column of June 20, 1999, writer Randy Cohen even suggests that "charity subverts democracy." He points out that "in a democracy we (or our representatives) gather publicly to identify common problems, devise solutions, and establish accountability. Charity shifts these activities to unelected celebrities and private councils. What kind of society leaves the solution of its social problems to the whims of people like me and Rosie O'Donnell?" And, he adds, "the more that private money supports parks and libraries, the more easily [government] abandons its responsibility to them. . . . This is no way to build an egalitarian society." Read in that context, the way the Laidlaw Foundation operates could become its greatest contribution to Canadian society, using its independence to pioneer new ideas and test new possibilities, its efficient operations to get the most from every penny it spends, and its commitment to openness, monitoring, and evaluation for the benefit of the entire community. Whatever the questions about the sector in general, that is the kind of philanthropy we can all support.


A Home and a Grave in the New World

THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION'S roots go back more than 180 years ago to the dales and bums of the Scottish border country, celebrated by Sir Walter Scott, that was home to generations of Laidlaws. A border surname largely confined to Selkirk, Laidlaw is recorded as early as 1296, when William of Lodelawe was accused of concealing a horse from the English1; a family legend holds that the name comes from Ludlow in Shropshire, England. The ancestors of today's family were shepherds in and around Selkirkshire, which was called Ettrick Forest until the mid-i5Oos, when it was cleared and "James V turned 10,000 sheep out to graze."1 But in the early years of the nineteenth century, Scotland was troubled by the move from a land- to a sheep-based economy: what had been sufficient to support a relatively small number of people was inadequate for the needs of a growing population. This problem was to become even more desperate a few years



after the Laidlaws' departure as potato famines in Ireland drove thousands to Scotland seeking food and work. Hope beckoned, however, from across the ocean, where the Canadian colonies and the young American republic were eagerly seeking settlers to fill up unpopulated spaces and create new nations; exciting descriptions filled letters home and newspaper and magazine advertisements. In Canada, there was the promise of free land on very good terms — a powerful inducement in a society where land was still the most reliable, and the most cherished, standard of wealth. The Laidlaws were very much of their time and place: short, wiry, hard-working men and women, the former tending the flocks, the latter their families. Uneducated but not unlettered, they were people of strong convictions on most subjects, religion in particular. In Scotland, their chief claim to fame lay in a family connection: their cousin James Hogg was a well-known contemporary and friend of the legendary Sir Walter Scott, his work good enough to merit mention in the same breath as that of the novelist-poet. According to Hogg, James Laidlaw, who was his "cousingerman" (first cousin), was "successful as most men in the same degree of life; but for a number of years bygone he talked and read about America until he grew perfectly unhappy; and, at last, when approaching his sixtieth year, actually set off to seek a temporary home and a grave in the new world. . . . He never was at any school, and what scraps of education he had attained had all been picked up by himself."3 Reversing the usual sequence, James Laidlaw, who had been widowed for years, sent his son (also named James)4 to evaluate opportunities in the colonies before setting out himself. When the elder James left Scotland in 1818, he was accompanied by his daughter Mary, his sons Walter and Andrew, Andrew's pregnant wife Agnes, and their little boy. Agnes bore a daughter while on the journey, but the couple's son died later that year. After pausing for the winter, probably with relatives or friends in New



York, the family settled near what is now Milton, Ontario, in Esquesing Township's southwestern area, populated mainly by Scots and known, in time, as the "Scotch Block." The elder James's sons Robert and William remained in Scotland, though William did eventually emigrate, settling in Joliet, Illinois, in 1834; his death five years later — he was always referred to as "Poor Will" — left a widow and five children who joined Andrew and his family in Canada. When they were older, Poor Will's three sons moved to the Blyth area in southwestern Ontario, a decision that resonates today in the fiction of William's greatgreat-granddaughter, Alice (Laidlaw) Munro. Eagerness to inform people about life in the New World may have been one reason James Hogg's description of his cousin was accompanied by a letter,5 dated September 9,1819, from the elder James Laidlaw to Robert, the son who never left Scotland. His descriptions of the backwoods colony were as detailed, if less polished, than those of Susanna Moodie, giving evidence of a querulous nature but, also, of the great sorrow imposed by distance, however much his lot in life had improved. I do not Expect Ever to See you hear. . . . May the good will of him that Dwelt in the Bush rest on your and [your wife]; and may you be a blissing to one another. If I had thought you ould have deserted us, I should not have come hear: it was my ame to get you near me made me Come to America; but mans thoughts are vanity, for I have Scattered you far wider, but I Cannot help it now. Them that I have hear is far more Contented than I am ... the work hear is very heavy; it is not a place for old men Lik me,6 altho it is a fine Cuntry, and produces plenty. . . . However much he missed his old home and the son he had left behind, James Laidlaw was deeply impressed by the flourishing society of which he was becoming a part:



The people hear Speaks very good English . . . and they Live far more independent than King George; for if they have been any time hear, and got a few acers of there farm Cleared, they have plenty to Live upon; and what they have to Sell, they get always money for it, for bringing it to york. . . . Some of them will have as good as 12 Cows, and four or five Horses; they are Growing very rich, for they pay no taxes, but Just a perfict trifell and rids in there gig . . . Like Lords. We Like this place far better than the States. . . . I have as much Hickery on my farm as will be fishing wands to thousands, and many of them a Hundred foot High, and they are for no Ewse to us but to Burn; but it is the best fire wood in the world. I shall Say no more, but wish, that the god of Jacob may be your god, and may be your gide, for Ever, and Ever, is the Sincer prayer of your Loving Father, till Death. . . . Two months after writing that letter, on November 5, 1819, James and his youngest son, Walter, took possession of 200 acres on the Third Concession Line, fronting on what would become the Fifth Side Road. Andrew's property lay diagonally opposite; Walter and the younger James, who had been in Nova Scotia but left to rejoin the family, worked their father's land.

The elder James's living and his family were secure, so he turned his attention to the third foundation on which his life rested: his church. The past, it is said, is a different country, and never more different than when considered from the perspective of its religious attitudes. Seen through today's scepticism, it may be difficult to grasp the full impact and meaning of the Presbyterian Church in the lives of the Laidlaws and their neighbours; far from dead or irrelevant, their God was palpable and everpresent, a factor in eveiy decision and activity. Moreover, their church tied immigrants together in the new world even as it tied them to the old one.



It was hardly surprising, then, that —- waiting only long enough to gain title to their property (a cumbersome bureaucratic process that much irritated the Laidlaws) and for the first winter to pass — the community should turn their attention to organizing a church. The Reverend William Jenkins travelled from Markham to conduct a service on Andrew's farm in June 1820, using the stump of a maple tree as his pulpit, with the worshippers seated on logs. The following summer, another visiting minister preached near James's home and dispensed communion.7 Andrew was businesslike in his dealings with his church: in 1825, he sold an acre and a half of his land grant to the new church, charging seven pounds, three shillings, and three pence "in lawful currency of good mercantile wheat to be delivered to his house or to Jasper Martin's mill at Trafalgar."8 The Laidlaws, like all the leading families in the new community, were participants in the historic quarrels that plagued the Church of Scotland of the time. As a result, the congregation in Esquesing Township went through a period of repeated mitosis, dividing first into two congregations, then into others with various presbytery affiliations and names. Andrew Laidlaw spoke against religious patronage, which had been a key issue in the quarrels, and in support of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland; in 1845, he and his supporters joined that group. The little meeting house took the name Boston Church, after the Reverend Thomas Boston, at least in part in deference to the Laidlaws because, like them, he had come from Ettrick. In time, the opposing factions agreed to share the building, holding services at different times, an arrangement that continued until July 1855. Five years later, the two groups reconciled and returned to worshipping together. Today's church dates from 1870, when the original structure was moved to Andrew Laidlaw's field, on what is now the church parking lot. The old building continued to be used for some years; it seems fitting that the pioneer history of the Laidlaw family is written on tombstones in the adjacent graveyard.



Religious controversies aside, life in Esquesing, while rewarding, was far from easy. York, 40 miles distant, was a two-day walk — less time, of course, by horse or by a cart mounted on wooden wheels cut from tree trunks. Food was cooked over a family's open fireplace, and bread was baked on the hearth. Bedding was made, in part, from the branches of fir trees. Lighting came from candles that had either been moulded or made from wick dipped in melted tallow (it would be some time before Halifax's Dr. Abraham Gesner made the nights brighter, albeit also foul-smelling, with a fuel he called kerosene). In Upper Canada, wheat farmers still employed many of the tools their ancestors had used in the Middle Ages. Logging, for instance, still involved arduous labour: ". . . two men sawed out a board from an elevated log with a whip-saw, one standing above the log, and the other below it."9 Nonetheless, existence in the colony was not as primitive as it had been at the turn of the century, some 30 years earlier. Although rivers and lakes were still the major highways, land-based roads were being developed: as Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe had established Dundas Street, running east-west, as well as Yonge Street (Highway n), which stretched north from York. It's even possible that the Laidlaws were able to travel the 10 miles to Martin's Mills (later Milton), where there had been a curling club since the mid-i83os.10 As their new country began to prosper, Laidlaw's sons also flourished, personally and in business. Andrew had shown considerable generosity within the family, and whether it was from a sense of duty or from genuine compassion mattered not; even at a time when family members relied on each other when there was trouble, it was no small thing, especially for Andrew's wife, to take in his brother William's widow and five fatherless children. In Walter, James's youngest son, ambition matched industriousness: not content just to work his own land and part of his father's, he bought portions of other people's holdings. He became partowner of a threshing machine, a new technology that was changing



the world. Invented in Scotland before Walter's birth, threshers were part of a wave of Scottish ingenuity — John Macadam's road surfaces were another — that flowered before and during the Industrial Revolution.11 In 1828, having assured himself a good future, 29-year-old Walter married Margaret Robertson, 18, who had been born in Schenectady in upper New York State. When the elder James Laidlaw died the following year, the wisdom of his decision to come to Canada had been repeatedly confirmed: although it would take another six years for Walter and Andrew to gain free title to their land, they were firmly on the path to prosperity.12

Pleased as they were with the condition of their land, the Laidlaw family also felt a responsibility to tend to the condition, social and political, of their new country. The elder James set an example for his sons. For instance, in a letter of 1829, the year of his death, he wrote a letter to William Lyon Mackenzie, a fellow Scot and "Editor of the Colonial Advicate York," a disapproving description of his neighbours: I belive the Cribblers in york ould take the Last Shilling that you or man has before they ould do any thing for him in the way of getting land. . . . they are an avericious lot. I am realy feard that the Devil get the must part of them if they do not bethink memselvs in time, I sopose that they never read the tenth Commandment, or they ould not covet there nighboures money. Full of grievances, James was also critical of James Hogg for having published his 1820 letter in Blackwoods magazine: Now Sie I would tell you Bitts of Stories but I am afraid that you put me in your Colonial Advicate I do not like to be put in print I once wrot a bit of a letter to my Son Robert to Scotland and my friend Jas. Hogg the poeit put it in Blackwoods Magzine and



had me through all North America before that I Ken that my letter was gone Home. Hogg poor man has spent must of his life in Coining Lies and if I read the Bible right I think it says that all Hares is to have their pairt in the Lake that Burns with fire and Brimston but they find it a laqurative trade for I believe that Hogg and Walter Scott has got . . . money for lieing. . . . this world is let must light by for people is fonder of any Book than the Bible altho it is the greatst blissing that ever the world [seen] Now may the Blissing of God rest on you and on all lovers of his name is the sincer prayer of your Loving Contryman old James Laidlaw James's sons were better educated than he had been, although their letters, while more polished, were less originally phrased. This next generation of Laidlaw men was deeply conservative, sympathetic to Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Bond Head. Today, when remembered at all, Francis Bond Head is most frequently recalled as the person whose intransigence in dealing with the Reform movement of the day was, if not the cause of the 1837 Rebellion, certainly a factor leading up to it. His behaviour, which eventually resulted in his recall, was almost universally condemned, but not by the Laidlaws. In the aftermath of the Rebellion and Francis Bond Head's recall, the three Laidlaw brothers were among a few hundred signatories to a February 21838 petition that is worth quoting, if for no reason other than that Sir Francis Bond Head's few admirers seldom get much attention in Canadian histories:13 . . . Sir: when we review the circumstances of difficulty and danger and the bitter and malicious obloqus14 which has attended your every word and action, we beg to assure your Excellency that our best sympathies were ever alive on your behalf, and now that circumstances have manifested to the world that your



genius exerting itself in a firm and undeviating line of upright policy, has crushed the most foul and ungrateful rebellion, that has ever stained the history of an enlightened people, we cannot forbear to express to your Excellency our deep sorrow for the cause (whatever name it may deserve) which deprives us at this juncture of our affairs of the benefit of your Excellency's wise administration. [With] Representatives in the House of Assembly . . . we ... express "Our earnest hope that your Excellency's prosperity in future life may be commensurate with the claims, deep and lasting as they are upon our gratitude — the approbation of our Gracious Queen — and the acknowledgement and applause of the British nation. . . . We are Sir on behalf of the inhabitants of the Township of Esquesing, as well as in our own persons, your Excellency's Most Obedient and Respectful Humble Servants. "Our Gracious Queen" emphatically did not agree that Sir Francis was a "genius": after he was brought back from Canada, he never received another royal appointment. There were other sources of Laidlaw discontent over the years: throughout much of the 1850s, Walter Laidlaw was fighting against taxation of his property, which he saw as an unwarranted attack on his liberty, and he complained about "the exceedingly high rate at which [a property he owned in Milton] was assessed."15 In 1854, he was busy attacking a proposal that the Esquesing Town Council invest £10,000 in the Toronto and Guelph Railway, so that a railway line could be built through the area; in a letter to George Brown's Globe, he envisioned the consequences: . . . you must bear your share of the losses and expenditure of the undertaking according to your standing in the Company, and become participators in the guilt and odium of binding grievous burdens on men's shoulders for the completion of this scheme. And instead of £12,000 of interest squandered from you



to Capitalists in Britain in the course of 20 years, there will be an additional sum of that of a yet-undefinable extent. In the matter of railway financing, Walter warned that taxpayers should not become "part and parcel" of a company in which they had no control. "They have you at their back," he said, "to defend them from harm, and you thus become sponsors that they will lose nothing by the speculation, whether the work prospers or not." The financing — and the railway — did go through.16 By 1864, Walter was comfortable enough to go back to Scotland to visit Robert, the brother he had not seen in 45 years. On a Belgian ship carrying flour from Quebec to Liverpool, Walter described "sagacious, sturdy-looking seamen" and "fantastic -wonders" that passed on either side of the vessel: icebergs that, he said, resembled "great hulks, like old huge castles in ruins." Walter gave thanks for safe delivery from "these dangerous neighbours" and reflected that the experience was "calculated to raise the mind above all evanescent things to Him who made them all."17 Robert had moved, and lived, with his "auld wife" Tibby, in a small cottage on the estate of the Duke of Sutherland. The reunion was tearful: "The flood of Noah ran off the soil," Robert later said. Walter had taken an opportunity rarely available to immigrants of his time: he had gone home again, however briefly. He even sat for a photograph, which shows his long, high-cheekboned face in solemn repose, flowers in one hand, a "plaid" (a homespun length of material that, in earlier days, had been used as a kind of cloak by kilt-wearing Scots) over one shoulder, eyes staring stiffly into the imaginary distance. In a letter to Walter after the visit, Robert wrote: "When I think of the days of our youth when our Father's family was all under one roof and the events that have occurred since . . . I regret my not going to America with my Father, but these regrets will do no good now." Walter had by then long been a widower; Margaret survived only three days after the birth of her ninth child in May 1844. Named for his father, the infant lived only through the months of



that summer and was buried with Margaret. Shortly after Walter's return from Scotland in 1865, his oldest son, Alexander, a doctor, died at the age of 30. Robert, the third of Walter and Margaret's five sons, was born in 1837 and was destined to live until he was 92. In that remarkable lifespan, he founded, among other enterprises, the R. Laidlaw Lumber Co. As hardworking as his grandfather, as thrifty and mistrusting of government as his father, Robert was a giant of Canada's lumber industry until his death; the trees James Laidlaw had described as "no Ewse to us but to burn" were building a new country and were to become the foundation of the family fortune. The forests on 'which Robert's business initially depended are long gone; the solid wood doors and flooring it provided have become luxury items, and their mass-market counterparts are the result of technologies unfathomable to him.


Where I Come From We Trust One Another

SOME 30 YEARS AGO, Robert Laidlaw's grandson, Robert Gordon Nicholas ("Nick") Laidlaw started to write an "Introduction" — though to what is not clear. Ruminating about the old man he remembered from his childhood, he asked: How may a man know his grandfather? Where had he left traces? In what public documents, in what archives, in what cherished reminiscences of his children, his colleagues, his friends, his employees — of all stations? . . . Can he be known without some acquaintance with the history of his times? A lot of history — for he was born in 1837, when Victoria came to the throne. And what of his forebears — and the history of their times? And so the search is on.1 The most "cherished reminiscence" was contained in Nick's own pages, and the search for Robert Laidlaw's history is rewarded by hundreds of documents, pictures, and objects that remain in his



family, many of them there because Nick himself was an obsessive collector of family documents and ephemera. Robert Laidlaw was of the first generation born here, in what was then Upper Canada. He was the fifth of Walter and Margaret Laidlaw's nine children; just seven when his mother died, he was given to the care of his oldest sister, Ellen, who was only 15 at the time. "Faithful and beloved" Helen, as she was referred to in later years, did not marry until she was 28 (a quite advanced age for a bride of the time), possibly because she was busy caring for her brothers and sisters. Despite their patrician sympathy for Sir Francis Bond Head, the Laidlaws remained working farmers, though their interests were expanding into other areas, lumbering in particular. It was not until Robert was in his 305 that his livelihood began to change; Thomas Shortreed (whose family were long-time friends of the Laidlaws) hired him to work part-time in Shortreed's nearby sawmill because, he said, Robert was the hardest-working man in the district. In making that offer, he changed the course of Robert's life and led him to the industry on which the family's fortunes would be built. By 1871 Robert had acquired timberland of his own and Shortreed proposed they become partners. They formed Shortreed & Laidlaw. An enduring but unsubstantiated family legend explains how Robert had procured his own land; he was staying in Toronto at the Black Horse Inn (at what is now the corner of George and Front Streets) when he overheard two men unsuccessfully trying to negotiate the sale of 200 acres of prime timberland near the Minesing Swamp, in Vespra Township, near Barrie. The Inn, rated "excellent" in a guidebook of the time, rented shared rooms to strangers and, in one of those strokes of good luck that can be more consequential than the shrewdest strategy, Robert discovered that his roommate that night was the would-be seller. They quickly reached a deal and Robert bought the property. Robert's good fortune continued: in Thomas Shortreed he would find not only a partner but a friend and — though the two were born within three weeks of each other — a mentor and teacher.



The Shortreeds and Laidlaws had much in common, including Scottish roots and Presbyterianism, as well as large families (Thomas was the eldest of 12). The Shortreeds had settled near Guelph, but Thomas's lumber business was in Esquesing and it was there that the partnership, Shortreed & Laidlaw, began. The local forests, however, had already been cleared, so the two moved to Barrie, where lumber was still comparatively plentiful. There is no record of Walter's thoughts on his son's decision to leave the farm, but, whether he was displeased or simply regarded Robert as having less need than his other children, his legacy to Robert was smaller than to any of the others. His grandson and namesake, Alexander's son, received $500 "with current interest," and Helen was left $500 and a quarter of a farm Walter owned near Blyth. Her brother Duncan got $500 and the rest of that farm, and sisters Katherine and Margaret were left $1,000 each. The remainder of the estate, which would have included the property in Esquesing, was bequeathed to James and William; Robert received $500 — and nothing else.2 By the time of the elder Walter's death, in 1873, Robert and his nephew Walter had settled, permanently they thought, in Barrie. They had also become very close: when, for instance, Walter took sick while studying in Berlin in 1885, his Uncle Robert quickly travelled to be at his bedside and, after the patient recovered, toured the continent with him. In 1874 Robert married Jessie Cameron, a tiny Scottish-born woman brought up in Brucefield, whom he met while she was visiting relatives in Esquesing. Her life would always revolve around two centres: her family and her church. Even when the family began to enjoy great wealth, she continued to do her own baking and bread-making. For a time, the lumber business grew: according to Canadian historian A.R.M. Lower,3 $18.5 million worth of forest products were exported from Canada in 1870, and that figure climbed by more than a third within four years. Thomas Shortreed and Robert Laidlaw, however, were not content with their sawmill operations



in Vespra Township. They soon opened a manufacturing firm; according to their description, they were "leaders in Lumber, Lath, Shingles, Dressed Flooring, Sash and Doors . . . stuff cut from 12, to 50 feet. All Orders Promptly Filled and Shipped to Any Railway Station. Mixed Car Lots Made Up to Suit Purchasers." They nailed a sign over a door in the yard: "Where I come from we trust one another."4 They had entered the industry at a time when it was undergoing rapid change on all fronts. Europe was struggling through a financial depression, and the difficulties posed by technology (hardly unique to our own day, whatever we may believe) were threatening every aspect of the lumber business. Among the greatest changes were those to the transportation industry: not only had ships moved from wind to motor power, with wooden vessels giving way to those made of steel and iron, but marine shipping itself was being threatened by the steam-powered railways — reducing the need for lumber. Though travel was challenging and communications clumsy, Shortreed & Laidlaw continued to flourish, making deals, visiting clients, creating partnerships, and essentially practicing an early kind of franchising. They dazzled — and sometimes overwhelmed — the competition. In addition to their company, the two invested in the Barrie Tannery and, with another lumberman, helped found the Barrie Loan and Savings Co., with Shortreed as vice-president and Robert Laidlaw as manager.' For the first and only time, a member of this branch of the Laidlaw family became involved in electoral politics: Robert won an election fought "with the expressed intention of getting the municipal street lighting contract for his gasworks" and became second deputy reeve of Barrie.6 Nonetheless, their Barrie Gas Co. did not win the contract. Community reaction to their involvement in the issue, however, was a factor in their decision to leave Barrie. According to Robert's younger son (also named Robert, but usually referred to as R.A. and, to his closest friends, "Bobby"),



. . . one day, [Dad] and Shoitreed were walking down the street and he heard two men saying, "I hear that Shortreed and Laidlaw are going to get the franchise for the gasworks. They are going to own Barrie and I don't like the idea of these two having too much control. So they just packed up and left the next day. If the people felt that way about it, to hell with it. Let's go down to Toronto where there is more future there for us.7 Walter Cameron Laidlaw, R.A.'s older brother, remembered the move as motivated by a problem more intractable than the local citizenry: "After 15 years of operation, the timber in the Barrie area was gradually petering out and [they] moved to Toronto in April 1886. . . ."8 They decided to become involved in stonecutting, a seemingly wise choice in the bustling city. According to the account in an industry magazine, Stone was obtained from quarries on Pelee Island, Lake Erie, near Windsor and was cut into blocks which were largely used in the construction of canal locks and for other purposes. About that time the old-fashioned wooden sidewalks were much in evidence. Cement walks were just coming into use and the first time that Mr. Laidlaw saw them was on a trip to Paris, France. He foresaw the possibilities of cement walks, which was first conceived in the brain of a Scotchman. Mr. Laidlaw . . . [tried] to secure the patent which had already been sold but it was not through lack of confidence or faith in the future that he lost out on the proposition.9 The company existed only a few brief weeks, until the end of June 1886. A "Loving Remembrance" explains that: On the 23rd of June Mr. Shoitreed had gone down to his place of business as usual, and was superintending the removal of



some of the great stones in the yard. While giving directions to the engineer, he saw that the derrick, which was fifty feet in height, was about to fall. He instantly warned the workmen of their danger and was pointing them to positions of safety. During his busy life, he had often been in the midst of danger, but his quick perception never failed him, so that he always escaped unhurt; but on this occasion, in his anxiety for the safety of others, he had not fully considered his own position and, as the derrick fell, the guy rope which extended a distance of over two hundred feet from the top of the derrick to a point away beyond and behind him, caught him and threw him forward with great force.10 Shortreed was killed instantly. According to R.A., "Father went out of the quarry business the next day. He didn't know what to do with it."11 The loss of Robert's partner (and probably his closest personal friend) was a severe blow, another upset in a life already troubled with change. Robert had uprooted his family, which now included four children, the youngest born in Barrie at the beginning of that year, and settled them in a large, comfortable home at 86 Dunn Avenue in Parkdale — in those days a stable, middle-class neighbourhood they had chosen over Rosedale, where the Shortreeds had purchased a house, because "the air was fresher there on the Lake."" Whatever the personal loss, Robert was more than up to the task of setting a new course for the business, for the family, and for himself. Leaving stonecutting, whether as an emotional reaction to Shortreed's death or because he recognized his lack of experience in it, Robert again turned his attention to the lumber industry. In 1887, he and Allan McPherson signed an agreement of partnership in Longford Mills, on Lake Couchiching. In pursuing his own interests, Robert rented offices in the Imperial Bank Building at Colborne Street and Leader Lane in the same building in which his brother William practiced law. Over the next several years, the



company opened a site on Brock Avenue, in the city's west end and, later, yards on St. Lawrence Street, at King and Bathurst Streets, on Abell Street, and on Spadina Avenue. In 1904, the very large West Yard opened at Bloor and Dundas and, a short time after, on Merton Street. The last one, in Weston, on Oak Street, opened in 1954. By 1901, Canada's population was growing rapidly, and within 20 years it would have, for the first time, more urban than rural dwellers. Robert was able to meet the demand for lumber, not only in Toronto but, through a series of companies linked only by his personal financial interest in them, in London, Sarnia, Buffalo, Tonawanda, and Syracuse. Once described as "diligent, sober, judicious, observant, unassuming and not given to strong views on anything but freight rates and religion," Robert knew prices, costs, and margins and kept a close eye on changing real estate prices, taxes, and wages. He knew the number of men on the payroll, the number and condition of the horses in company stables, and the cost, to the penny, of sawing a thousand board feet of lumber, taking into account rent, insurance, salaries, labour, travelling expenses, and interest, whether in Toronto (where the cost in 1899 was $1.75) or in Buffalo ($1.87 in 1901). That, combined with Robert's ability to find and keep good people, enabled the company to prosper in an industry that was often volatile because of emerging technologies, economic upswings and downslides, as well as the vagaries of supply and demand. Even as the company grew, Robert continued to make a point of knowing and listening to his employees. "It is not right that a man should work along year after year without his thoughts being ventilated or being passed along," he asserted in a speech given in 1914. "We are looking for men who work harder than they have to, and who have brains to do their work for something besides money. . . . Incompetent employers and incompetent employees alike are being turned out by the competitive nature of modern business. The spirit of the times has no place for them."13



People who had worked for the company — many for decades — praised both the company and the family. A.H. Copeland described Robert, whom he referred to as "the old gentleman," as "thrifty and honest and shrewd. [He] knew when prices were high and when they were low and when not to try to beat the game. [I] never heard anyone say an unkind word about him. He had no enemies." Copeland, who was employed by the Laidlaws for 40 years and rose from working in the office to become a director of the company, noted another important factor in Laidlaw's successful approach to management in a volatile industry: "Laidlaw's didn't let anyone go. I took several salary cuts [in hard times] but I still had a job. Many other companies simply fired their people."14 Colleagues remembered Robert as hard-working, "always thrifty and industrious and, when running a mill . . . he was first at the plant in the morning to see that the fireman had the fires going and that steam was ready for starting. He exercised the closest supervision over all departments. . . ."I5 R.A., his younger son, said that "holidays meant nothing to [Dad]: they were silly and a waste of time. But his real ability was to pick good men and never criticize them." When the son referred to an employee as a "silly ass [who] has gone and bought some other cut of lumber," Robert admonished him: "Don't -worry about it. He'll know he has made a mistake. Don't say anything to him about it — not a word — don't tell him he has been wrong. He'll know it and if you tell him he will never forgive you."16 While the family was still in Barrie, Robert had purchased a small number of shares in the Bank of Commerce and later increased his holdings — an investment that could be used as excellent collateral and was also a steady source of income. In time, Robert also became a founding director of the Wallaceburg Sugar Company (later the Canada and Dominion Sugar Company) which, as it converted from beet to cane, expanded rapidly, dramatically increasing the value of Robert's initial investment. Robert made other wise investments and, by the time of his



death, his holdings, valued at $1,806,126, accounted for almost three quarters of his total assets; more than half were in government bonds, more than a quarter in sugar, and the rest were in oil and rubber, banks, smelting and steel, and utilities. When he was actively involved in business, Robert's ventures could sometimes be rather casual; his younger son, R.A., said that " . . . somebody would just come along and tell him there was an opening and if I get the money and buy this business I will pay you back. And Father would not think so much of making money as of helping this fellow. He did this with George Belton [a fellow lumberman] in London. George didn't know what to do [about his business]. After his father's funeral, Father said, 'I will buy it for you, George, and you can pay me back.' George never forgot that as long as he lived."17 His personal philanthropy was as singular as his generosity in business: asked to subscribe to a fund to honour the Reverend Thomas Boston, buried in the cemetery in Ettrick, he responded with a brief overview of his family ("My grandfather's name was James. He and his sons Andrew, James and Walter came to Canada in 1819 and settled in the township of Esquesing. . . . My father's name was Walter. Yours very truly, Robert Laidlaw") and enclosed one pound, asking that it be acknowledged. Robert later spent more than $1,000 to fund a history of the Boston Church, written by his cousin, the Reverend John McColl, and directed that, on his death, $4,000 be paid to the church "for the benefit and support of the office of the Minister. . . . " According to R.A. Laidlaw, his father once helped a man named Harrison, who owned a lumberyard in Guelph and "got tight [drunk] and got on a boat with a girl and crossed over to England and came back and they were selling his business. A nasty old fellow . . . in Hamilton was trying to steal it. Father went to the sale and just bid higher than [the man] all the time and he got it and gave it [back] . . . just to see Harrison re-establish himself."18 Robert and his family were themselves able to enjoy the results of his burgeoning wealth as well. They lived in Parkdale until 1904,



when they moved to the by then distinctly more fashionable precincts of Rosedale. Robert bought the last vacant lot on North Sherbourne Street from Edmund Osier in 1903; the following year, he and his family moved into the house, designed with a style that is vaguely Jacobean, with features of the very popular Arts and Crafts movement of the time, that still stands at number 32. In a diary entry for March 24, 1904, Robert noted: "Took five loads over on our own single horses and one moving van of three horses. $1.2,5 Per hour, five hours, $6.25.'"9 Among Robert's four children there were, in effect, three distinct units: Walter, the sisters, and R.A. (Robert). Walter was only three when Ann20 was born in 1878, with Margaret following three years after that, but he was somewhat isolated from them by the chasm in social norms, interests, and expectations for sons as compared to those for daughters. R.A., five years younger than Margaret and more than ten years Walter's junior, was of course very much the baby of the family. Life was comfortable on Sherbourne and if Robert, the shepherd's grandson, was able to enjoy the comfort and prestige of having a great deal of money, he never took full advantage of the leisure it also offered. "I believe he was essentially a very simple, profound man," Nick Laidlaw wrote of his grandfather, Robert. I remember him chiefly as a presence. For many years in the 19205, we grandchildren were shipped off to Granddad's on Sunday afternoons of the Fall, Winter, and Spring. We studied the Bible under the doting guidance of our two Aunts, played the automatic piano or heard a gifted reading from Winnie the Pooh by our Uncle and then were supplied with a sort of high tea in the drawing room, in the presence of Granddad and Grandma and under the supervision of the Aunts. Grandma would sit at the far end of the room, by the window, tatting or crocheting, smiling indulgently now and then, seldom speaking. Grandfather sat closer to us, facing us



more directly. I suppose he spoke occasionally, perhaps to assure his daughters that he was well and comfortable, but I think rarely. One thing would rouse him unfailingly to speech, however: the occurrence of squabbling amongst us children. A finger would be raised admonishingly, and we subsided as the voice — gentle, but firm — would declaim from the works of Robbie Burns. . . . Could this mildly reproving gentle man, however brightly blue the eyes and trim the short white whiskers, be the Great Man that grown-ups assured us repeatedly that he indeed was? Could he have been a "farm boy" (in condescending quotes!), who built with his own hands and brains the fortune that made our family "more fortunate" than many others? It was not legendary, but true, that he still went to the office every day (until the age of 91). How were we to know what a businessman did at his office? (We were infrequent visitors who played with the adding machine at best.) Did he sit silently there, in his oldfashioned boots, sucking audibly on Dad's Cookies soaked in warm milk, and occasionally lecturing his office staff on the subject of the delights of dogs and men? What was business, anyway, if it could be run effectively by this indubitably fine example of the Grand Old Man?21 Robert had been born on the cusp of a new age, at a time when opportunities to make money were plentiful, and, by practicing many of his society's most attractive values — honesty, thrift, hard work — he made a lot of money. On the second Saturday of July 1929, in the summer of his 93rd year, he "succumbed . . . to an attack of pneumonia after four days' illness."" He was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, within earshot of the company's North Yard on Merton Street, at a modest gravesite, where he was joined over the years by his wife, his daughters, and his elder son. Like his grandfather James, Robert had disliked public knowledge of his affairs. In a "Memorandum to my Sons, Walter and



Robert," he complained that "newspapers continue to publish extracts from copies of Wills in the Probate office "without regard to the feelings of the people concerned." To escape such scrutiny, his will directed that everything be divided between the two, "leaving out certain legacies and bequests that I would otherwise have included" and directed them to "jointly provide for the following gifts." The list included their mother, their cousins, the Shortreed children, and the Boston Church. He left the Sherbourne Street house to his daughters.23 Robert's funeral was "largely attended"24 and included, along with his wife and four children, many of the men and the sons of men he had known and with whom he had worked.



ALTHOUGH IT is tempting to impose symmetry on past events, they are usually a product of simple happenstance. So, it is likely a result of coincidence that Laidlaw history is replete with brothers who balanced each other to an often astonishing degree. There were traces of complementary brothers even before the company was founded: of the sons of James, the original settler, Andrew was involved in church affairs and the community, while Walter worked and expanded the family's land holdings. In the next generation, Thomas Shortreed, effectively a brother if not actually one — tall and imposing, with an open, sunny disposition — was the outgoing member of the duo while Robert, built on an equally handsome but smaller scale, was quietly occupied making the deals through which the company prospered. Of all the Laidlaws, however, the sense of equilibrium was strongest in Robert's two sons. In keeping with family tradition, they bore the names of members of previous generations: Walter,



of course, was named after his grandfather, and his middle name, Cameron, was his mother's before she married. His younger brother, Bobby, was Robert for his father and Alexander for the uncle who had died so young. To complicate matters further, Alexander's son was also named Walter and was adopted (though not legally) and brought up by Robert and Jessie; the household comprised a mother, father, two sisters, a Bobby, and two Walters. The other Walter, Alexander's son, eventually became a clergyman in the United States and a leading expert on demography and the census. Both he and his son seemed always to need money and sent dozens of importuning letters to Uncle Robert. By 1922, the senior Laidlaw was tired enough of the pleas to tell a small lie about his own financial circumstances: "Yours of September 15 to hand with ref. to loan, we have overdrawn our credit at the bank, having to make unusual advances to manufacturers of lumber this year. We are living in very strenuous times. The news this morning indicates that there might be a settlement without war. The world has gone crazy. I am able to be at the office every day again. With very best wishes for the success of your work. I remain, yours very truly, R.L." Within a short time, the stream of requests began again, but usually fell on deaf ears. He did, however, leave father and son $25,000 each on his death. Both of Robert's sons worked for him, although they were, perhaps in part because of differences in family circumstances over the years, dissimilar in temperament. Walter was born to a man four years removed from the fields, a worker in another man's business, head of a family living modestly in a small town. On the other hand, by 1886, the year of Robert's birth, there were the two sisters, Ann (1878) and Margaret (1881), the move to Toronto was in the works, and the family was headed by a partner in a thriving business who was involved in a variety of money-making ventures, and they were enjoying an increasingly affluent standard of living. Of course, there may have been other differences as well, including the more expert parental skills and self-confidence in dealing with a fourth child, as compared to the first.



While Robert Senior had left his portfolio of investments to his grandchildren, the income from it had been bequeathed to his two sons during their lifetime. Interest and dividends gave each of them an average annual income of $49,098 during the Depression from such sources as Canada and Dominion Sugar, B.A. and Imperial Oil, Consumers Gas, and government bonds. Robert's estate (and that of his wife, Jessie, who died just a few months after he did) had become something of a cause celebre: the Liberal government of Ontario Premier Mitch Hepburn set up a Royal Commission under Justice C.P. McTague to decide whethe the $645,772 paid in succession duties was sufficient and whether assets had been undervalued or transferred improperly. In 1937, Hepburn abandoned the Royal Commission1 and, instead, the government undertook a suit against the estate, to be heard in the Supreme Court of Ontario, for nearly $2 million but it was also eventually abandoned. Nonetheless, the entire affair would have a lasting influence on the family, particularly on the brothers. In addition to their inheritance, of course, both W.C. and R.A. had personal holdings, which, exclusive of lumber companies, would probably have amounted to about $2 million for Walter and approximately half that for Robert; these would probably have generated another $50,000 annually for Walter and a proportionate amount for Robert. In effect, the "old gentleman" had given W.C. and R.A. not one business, but two: lumber and wealth management. The family now lived firmly in moneyed circumstances, wit chauffeurs, cooks, housemaids, private schools, and international travel. With the change in economic fortunes had come a change in social prospects: while the elder Robert had married a modest young woman from a farm family, his youngest son chose a bride from a family that, though not wealthy, was noted for its connections, especially to Canada's original upper crust. Julia Cayley met young Robert Alexander at the wedding of mutual friends and married him in 1913 when both were 27; she had



an oval face, with large eyes and a scaffolding of high cheekbones that ensures age-defying beauty. Her maternal grandfather was Sir James Lukin Robinson, brother of a former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario and son of Sir John Beverley Robinson, a Chief Justice of Upper Canada and a powerful figure in the colony's Family Compact. R.A. and Julia had four children: Katharine Julia, "Kay," born 1914; Robert Gordon Nicholas, called "Nick" all his life, in 1916; Jeffery Cayley, called "Jeff," born in 1918; and Roderick Walter Lukin, born in 1922 and known as "Rod" (or, by his schoolmates, as "Roddy"). In the years when the children were young, R.A. seems to have led a charmed life, with fe'w troubles other than an ulcer, in 1936. He loved sports and, in the early '305, played polo whenever he had the opportunity — about three times a week — at meets in Toronto, Buffalo, and Montreal. As the Depression wore on, however, polo, considered a rich man's game, waned in popularity in a country increasingly ravaged by economic and agricultural drought. Attention shifted to the misfortunes of much of the country. At the Laidlaw home, talk often centred on family friends who had flown high and been brought low by the market. From time to time R.A. offered these friends loans, many of which were subsequently written off. Friendships, however, also led to more business. For example, thanks to his pal Conn Smythe, legendary hockey coach and entrepreneur, R.A. became a shareholder in Maple Leaf Gardens in its very early days. A coach and hockey player himself (at both Upper Canada College and University College), R.A. was eager to participate. He also knew that the new arena would require enormous amounts of lumber; during construction, the company became a leading supplier, and R.A. himself became a director of the Gardens.2 His life took on a pattern: on the first of May, it was off to one of the clubs to open the fishing season, then occasional golf throughout the spring and summer, followed by duck hunting. (After the war, this expanded to trips to England and Scotland for



grouse shooting.) The spring was also a good time for travels to the southern U.S. to watch polo matches or do some shooting at his clubs in Georgia or South Carolina. Holidays were planned around this schedule and often included Julia and some of their wide circle of friends. R.A. kept meticulous records of his catches and kills: between June 12 and August 30, 1941, for example, he caught 783 fish, averaging 12 pounds, at the Bonaventure Salmon Club. In the first week of October 1942, he and four friends travelled by train to Virden, Manitoba, where they shot 31 ducks. By 1932, the Stutz Bearcat car R.A. had bought for $9,200 in 1928 had become another victim of changing attitudes to displays of wealth and he traded it in for a Ford that cost $800. In 1936, however, he returned to grander automobiles: first a Packard and, in 1938, the least expensive Cadillac. In May 1933, Robert and Julia Laidlaw enjoyed what was then a genuine social triumph in a country where royalty was still deeply revered. Their daughter Katharine, a few months shy of her nineteenth birthday, beautifully gowned and wearing a traditional headdress of plumes, was presented at Court to Queen Mary and to the Prince of Wales (later Duke of Windsor), the latter taking the place of his father who was absent due to illness.

Although accounts of his activities sometimes characterized R.A. a "modest" or "shy," to those who knew him, he was dapper, outgoing, gregarious, and even occasionally political. The truly shy one was W.C., who enjoyed reading Greek, and who is almost universally remembered as "quiet" or "retiring" or "never saying much." As one man who worked for the Laidlaws for many years remembered, however, Walter had a habit of personally shaking hands with each man at Christmas, "which meant a lot to the old employees."3 W.C. never married or had children but his life seemed as full



as his brother's. A traveller in a grand tradition even before World War I, Walter went to places as unremarkable as Rochester and New York City; further afield to London; in 1900, to Amalfi on the Italian Riviera; and, ten years later, to Russia — a daring destination in a world where international transportation involved steamship, rather primitive motor vehicles, and various animaldrawn conveyances. W.C. maintained a hunting lodge in the Huntsville area with friends; he was also a lifelong member of the tony Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto. Although he loved sailing, he did not own a boat. He had a place at Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe, bought in the 19203, and used as a camp for poor children from downtown Toronto who were involved in programs at Central Neighbourhood House, the cause closest to his reticent, unassuming heart. He had dormitories built for the 80 to 100 of those children and their parents who holidayed at his Lake Simcoe home, called The Gables, each summer. His niece Kay offered her assistance; both she and her son, Bob Smith, continued W.C.'s commitment to Central Neighbourhood House beyond his lifetime. But the camp was not the older brother's only act of generosity. In 1924 -— when a top-of-the-line home in Lawrence Park cost less than $10,000 and a rib roast was selling for 25 cents a pound4 — W.C. donated $250,000 to the Art Gallery of Toronto, which promised to name part of its space in his honour. (Although it was always referred to as the "W. C. Laidlaw Gallery," the modest room near the sculpture court, traditionally used for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European paintings, was not designated in W.C.'s honour until May 1963, almost a year after his death, when William Withrow, the young new director, officially signed the necessary papers.)5 Always meticulous — even as a young man he had shown his father's intuitive feel for the quality, pricing, and selling of timber — he talked knowledgeably about crops and, according to one nephew, was "the kind of person who knew the Latin names of



weeds." He was a devoted gardener, both at Sherbourne Street and at Kempenfelt Bay, for pleasure and to help feed the army of campers. W.C. lived in the Sherbourne Street house until his death in June 1962. His sisters Margaret and Ann, also unmarried, owned the home, which had been left to them by their father, and the three seemed content with an odd mix of luxury and Spartanism: there was a cook and a chauffeur but no furnace and, in Walter's thirdfloor quarters, apparently no heat of any kind. Younger family members found W.C.'s reserve and silences somewhat intimidating, the same reaction they had to the drawn shades in the large, high-ceilinged, unusually dark room where they visited him. "He may have had lunch with us," Rod's eldest daughter remembers, "but if he did he must have been so quiet I don't have any memory of him being there."15 There were tensions amongst the four Laidlaw siblings: tired of having their brothers control their assets, and upset that R.A. was better off than they, the sisters once marched into his office on King Street to confront him. Deeply offended, he is said to have seldom seen them again and to cease inviting them to his home.7 The rupture remained unhealed; although R.A. and Julia entertained extensively in their home on Jackes Avenue, not even W.C. appears to have been invited there. Instead, the unmarried three spent Christmas together at Sherbourne Street, while R.A. and his family were enjoying convivial feasts at their home. (Lyn Apgar, Rod's eldest, recalls one Christmas — "just once, we had the Jackes crowd at our place — it was before Grandmother died, but it must have been after the aunts died.")8 Whatever the rupture between the adults, the aged siblings at Sherbourne Street were close to their nieces and nephews, inviting them often to visit. Kay's son, Robert Smith, the first-born in his generation, remembers "magnificent dinners" that ended with homemade peppermint ice cream with hot chocolate sauce, followed by movies of various family members and friends. In the summer, the feast would move north as the chauffeur drove



the aunts to visit Lake Simcoe, bringing lunch with them.9 W.C. liked to meet friends outside the office for lunch at either the National Club or the University Club. He was also known to take dinner at the National Club, returning to the office afterwards. His great-nephew, Jamie, says he "believes W.C. maintained his father's strict attention to detail in business" but recalls, on the other hand, an employee who had worked for the company for several decades and saw R.A. only several times in all those years. W.C. had an earnest but conventional interest in Canadian art; on one occasion he ignored the Picasso show he was touring with the director of the Art Gallery of Ontario to talk at length about the Group of Seven (several of whose works each brother purchased). R.A. had a different outlet for his energies: building a summer house. With the family comfortably ensconced at 35 Jackes Avenue he turned his attention to the Roches Point10 area of Lake Simcoe, some 90 kilometres almost due north of Toronto. It was a place his father had known in days when the company was involved in log drives. Moreover, R.A. and Julia rented a house at the Lake annually and were acquainted with some people at its south end. Building began in 1931 and was finished the following year. R. had purchased the property in 1928 for $50,000; the builders, Anglin and Norcross, cost $60,000. R.A. later bought the adjoining lot for $30,000 and the farm opposite, to be used as a place for family members to ride, for $25,000. According to Rod, the total amount came from R.A.'s regular annual income.11 The house was designed by H.J. Burden, a fraternity brother of Robert's who was well-off and characterized as something of a dilettante who chose to work on houses for wealthy young Torontonians. At the Laidlaws' Lake Simcoe residence, however, low-grade material (knotty pine used for mouldings, for example) was used in ways that tested the company's millwork department, which had to make curved doors to fit the towers in Burden's design. Looking back, Rod remembered the site as "idyllic." The enormous house, with its twin towers, was styled after Chambord, a



French chateau, but it was meant to be an English country estate. "The lawn was planted by a tyrannical English gardener," recalled Rod, adding that "each morning when [I] got up to go to the beac or the tennis courts or wherever it happened to be ... [I] hated going through that grass because it was always wet and clammy and dewy." The estate was used year-round during the Depression, while Robert and Julia's four children were growing up, and it was equipped with anything they might want: outboardmotor boats, sailboats, and even ice boats. Over the years, what was, in effect, a Laidlaw family compound was created at Roches Point: in addition to "Moongate" (the name R.A. gave his home), Katharine, by then married to banker Andrew Smith, was summering at nearby "Windward." Youngest son Rod and his wife ("Suz") built "the Beehive" on a corner of R.A.'s property, while Nick and wife Marnie were at the "Sky House," between Rod's place and Katharine's — all within a short distance of one another. When the aunts arrived, driven by their chauffeur, known as "Speedy," and carrying lunch from the cook at Sherbourne, it was to Katharine and Andrew Smith's they went, to visit the young couple and their sons, Bob and Jeff. Even after the breach with the sisters, summers at Roches Point involved a separate trip to a club in Barrie, in honour of birthdays, all in July, celebrated by each of the Smiths, as well as by Rod's wife, Suzanne, Like many of her friends, R.A.'s daughter Katharine attended Bishop Strachan, a private school for girls, while the three boys were educated at Upper Canada College. In an interview, Rod said that, because his "Mother was Anglican and by this time University College [at the University of Toronto] was regarded as being non-denominational and indeed had a number of Jews . . . the family generally came to regard Trinity as the best place for them to pursue their post-secondary education." While the family had done well during the Depression, the same could not be said of the business. Rod later recalled that "the Depression was felt probably more severely by the building industry than by many others [between 1930 and 1939 when] the company



had as many losses as it had profits." After the elder Robert Laidlaw's death, the company had been reorganized, in part to avoid paying succession duties. In order to escape from the more expensive, more complex federal regulations, it was re-incorporated, this time as a provincial entity. Over the years, the brothers also began to sell various of the companies in which the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company had maintained an interest, including two unprofitable enterprises in Syracuse and Buffalo. And in 1944, the companies in Sarnia and London were sold to the Laidlaws' old partners, the Beltons. The bulk of the money was channelled into investments, probably through the Ettrick Lumber Company, a holding company that had been created in 1921 in order to minimize taxes. In moving money from the family firm to securities, the brothers' goal was to earn a higher return on their investment than they would make in the lumber business and to realize a substantial capital gain. There was another reason: according to Rod Laidlaw, both his father and his uncle had begun to lose interest in the business during the '305, because they saw no future in it. Ups and downs in the industry continued until the beginning of the Second World War, when wartime contracts brought renewed vigour to the company and its balance sheets. It also meant new customers. Research Enterprises Limited, for example, was making optical instruments for aircraft for export to the United States and Great Britain; these had to be carefully packed in "sophisticated wooden crating." The company began to manufacture a variety of new types of products — crates, containers, and vessels — and, according to Rod, the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company plunged into the market with considerable enthusiasm. They were able to find lumber, they were able to deliver it on time, and they were able to supply the crate builders, though they did no designing of their own. [But] . . . the war completely cut off the firm's exports to [its company] in Manchester [England]; . . . the war had completely shut down that kind of operation.



During the war, too, the firm made no sales to the United States: the great expansion of business would have resulted from military-oriented orders, orders acquired as a result of new manufacturing companies needing new kinds of lumber, and orders associated with building dormitories and air fields and army camps. The war would also precipitate change that, in time, would end both the company's involvement in the lumber industry and the family's involvement in the company. Even before the war, it had been clear that Nick was not suited to the world of business: at his father's insistence, and over his own vigorous dislike of the subjects, he had enrolled in political science and economics at the University of Toronto, but had twice failed before graduating with a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree. Nor was Jeff, the next eldest son, interested in the company. His ambition was to buy a ranch and raise horses; at dinner one evening, R.A. was "quite agitated" about Jeff's enthusiasm and asked, "Really, what are you going to do?" to which Jeff replied that he was going to breed horses and all the rest of the Laidlaws were going to support him at it.12 Such concerns, however, were set aside when first Jeff and then Nick joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. In the long wartime years that followed, their mother was a tireless correspondent, writing often to both of her sons. The first blow came in 1942: Nick, a flying officer, was taken prisoner when the crew of the plane he was in was forced into the water during a reconnaissance mission over Isle d'Oussant, a small patch of land near the coast of Brittany. Julia's letters were deliberately bright and newsy; Nick's replies were, probably in accordance with common sense and the rules governing the camp, short and noncommittal. On February i, 1944, the Laidlaws received an ebullient letter from Jeff, stationed in Lagos, Nigeria, describing his birthday celebrations; only later did they learn that he had been killed the



day before the letter reached them. His room at 35 Jackes and a Moongate remained untouched for many years13 and, even among close friends, Nick could hardly bring himself to talk about his late brother.14 On February 6, Julia wrote to break the tragic news to Nick: "When I tell you that this letter will be one of heavy sorrow for you and for all of us," she began, "you will know that it is Jeff who has gone." Calling him a "darling fellow," his mother said, "all he wanted was to come home, have his little ranch, and raise his beloved horses. Don't think of us as cast down," she bravely assured Nick, "we had so much for twenty-five years — and we loved him so dearly and the joy of knowing that he loved us both — Dad and me — seeing us with affectionate humour and allowing for our crotchets. We say to ourselves 'how sorry he would be for us' — and we let the tears run. We know what a desperate blow it will be for you . . . " The letter did not reach Nick until May, and, again presumably because of prison rules, his reply was not received for several weeks after that — the long silences further salting the pain on all sides. At home, the Laidlaws' youngest, Rod, graduated from the University of Toronto in honours maths and physics. He quickly took a job in applied mathematics at the De Havilland aircraft factory, where he had worked the previous summer. In September 1945, in the aftermath of the Allied victory in Europe, Rod was invited to England to assist the company in regaining a peacetime footing. But Rod deemed the offer financially inadequate and instead seriously considered joining a friend in the United States to establish a helicopter company (a business in which, according to Rod, the friend eventually became very successful).15

By 1946 it was becoming clear to the 24-year-old Rod that Nick, then 30, would probably reject any role in the Laidlaw firm. Throughout the year, the brothers, who had once been quite




competitive (trying to outdo each other in memorizing the works of A.A. Milne, for example), talked about the future and late in 1946, Nick wrote a letter telling R.A. of his plans to pursue a career in psychology. "I have tried for over a year to be a businessman, and I still don't fit," Nick wrote. He acknowledged that he might, indeed, fail at psychology, but explained in his letter: "I will never be happy unless I try. If I went into the business always thinking there was something else I wanted very much to do . . . " R.A. was later said to have mourned the loss of two sons to the war: the one who died and the one who had been irrevocably changed. It would probably riot have occurred to R. A., like most people of his time, to view his daughter, the eldest and, as it turned out, the longest-lived, as a potential heir to the business. To be fair, Kay herself might not have even entertained such a possibility. But, level-headed and affable, she might have been an excellent choice. Fortunately, Rod, the youngest, was extremely intelligent and highly educated, and he had a fierce sense of loyalty, willing to subsume his own ambitions for the good of the family. He reconciled himself to a career in the company, making only the one stipulation that before beginning he needed a month off to learn to fly. Then he turned his energies to the Laidlaw Company.

Despite the many changes that had taken place in the family and in the family business, philanthropy remained a constant. Old Robert, always active in the Presbyterian Church, had contributed to the parish and, as well, gave money to needy employees or families of his acquaintances. He supported friends, took back mortgages, and helped in his quiet way, usually through his church. To him, philanthropy was a private matter, carried out in keeping with his views on spiritual salvation. But charity, like the people it was meant to help, was also changing. In the late 18805, when the Laidlaws first arrived in Toronto, city streets were home to a population of delinquent children who



roamed in gangs, stealing, setting fires, drinking, and accosting pedestrians. In addition, there were hundreds of "street urchins" — destitute kids who supported themselves (and, often, their families) by working as bootblacks and newsboys; some supplemented meagre incomes with petty thievery and bootlegging. Eight per cent of the males in Ontario's jails were boys younger than 16. John Joseph Kelso, a reporter for the World newspaper, emphasized in a story headlined "Oliver Twist Again," the similarities between Toronto's slums and those described by Charles Dickens. It was becoming clear that the needs of the big city were quickly outstripping the resources of religious institutions, which had traditionally taken responsibility for the sick, the hungry, and the orphaned. By 1887, Kelso had left journalism to help create the Toronto Humane Society — a name that now conjures up lost kittens and puppies, but originally referred to children. Kelso, a shrewd organizer, took the job of Society secretary, persuading the Lieutenant-Governor, John Beverley Robinson (Julia Cayley's greatuncle), to act as patron.16 The founding of the Toronto Humane Society marked a move from church-based charity to a broader kind of philanthropy. The older Laidlaw brothers, W.C. and R.A., would make an important contribution to that process, but they did so almost reluctantly. Throughout their lives, they had favoured one-on-one giving. W.C., while still a schoolboy, was sending money to the fatherless Shortreed family, and before he became interested in Central Neighbourhood House, he gave the vegetables he grew to company workers. Even with larger causes — W.C.'s eventual focus on Central Neighbourhood House, R.A.'s enduring commitment to the Hospital for Sick Children, where he served as a board member for more than half a century — both were strongly involved, not just in giving money but in helping organizations function. That tradition of engagement beyond financial support continues to this day among R.A.'s grandchildren.



By the end of the 19405, though no longer running the family business, they were dealing with a steady stream of supplicants, some asking for just a few hundred dollars and others for substantial amounts, all in the name of good causes. But the brothers were getting on in years (W.C. was now almost j-y) and such unsystematic giving could not continue. Furthermore, like many wealthy people, they always hated income taxes; succession duties — which had caused them so much trouble after their father's death — would have to be minimized by all necessary means. Therefore, in consultation with B.B. Osier, K.C., the lawyer wh had drawn up wills for members of the family, the brothers agreed to set up a foundation through which they would make charitable donations and which, after their death, would receive and distribute their estates. In order to avoid the despised duties, the foundation was incorporated under a Province of Ontario charter, which limited it to making grants within the province. Asked many years later why he had decided to give away his money, R.A. answered in his blunt way: "What would I do," he said, "if I kept it? I can't take it with me. And the government will take . . . all they can get their hands on. But if I give it away the government can't get it. And the people that are getting it can benefit more than the government will. The government would just raise their pay. . . . I would rather give it to the Hospital for Sick Children, Upper Canada College, or the University of Toronto, or any good charity, than let the government boys get their fingers on it."17 According to John Hodgson, who eventually succeeded Osier as family friend and legal advisor, the result was "a typical family foundation." In its first year of operation, it reported gross income of $1,362 and contributions of $1,200.lS But it would stay at that miniature scale for only a short time; it would change, though not in ways that all the Laidlaws liked or agreed on. But however strong the disagreements, they could not halt the momentum of change because it had two agents within the family itself: Rod and Nick, and then, for almost two decades after Rod's premature death, Nick.


A Time to Gain

THE 19205 WERE a time of great prosperity and expansion for the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company, which eventually included almost a dozen companies involved in various aspects of the lumber business, wholesale and retail. During the Depression in which the decade ended, the company, while facing the problems of most businesses — difficulty getting customers to pay their bills while being pressed by suppliers to pay its own — was stable because it had been well and carefully managed in the good times, and had little debt. The Depression, however, was just one burden among many being borne at the time by the lumber industry as a whole; among other problems was the increasing availability of substitutes for products once made exclusively of wood. Among the new items were plasterboard, plywood, and asphalt roofing — all inexorably moving the industry from its traditional focus on lumber and lumber products to today's more generic "building materials." To combat the worsening situation in both the economy as a



whole and the industry in particular, the Laidlaws retrenched and consolidated, closing some yards and cutting expenses to the bone. The company was proud of having laid off only very few workers, even in the most perilous economic times, and those who were let go were rehired as soon as there was work for them. There were others — employees R.A. and, especially, W.C., deemed valuable — who were kept on the payroll, even when there was little for them to do. At the same time, everyone on staff took deep salary cuts: members of senior management, who had been making about $80 a week, dropped to less than $70, while the yard managers went from $50 to $40, and clerks, who had been getting as much as $28 a week, were now earning no more than $22. Even when business picked up after 1934, uncertainty about the future, as well as increased government regulation, made W.C. and R.A. proceed with caution. In 1937, they sold Merton Street and one other yard; company operations were centred at the Dundas and Bloor location, though the brothers maintained the offices they had long occupied at 67 Yonge Street. Their last new yard, at 50 Oak Street in Weston, opened in 1954 (and added $4 million to the Foundation's coffers when it was sold to MacMillan Bloedel in I989).1 The family was still in the lumber business in the mid-'5os, but the Laidlaws' main assets lay in the Ettrick Lumber Company, which, name notwithstanding, was actually a holding company for their investments. Over the years, both brothers had also become increasingly involved with other companies, where they served as board members, directors, or trustees. As early as 1912, Walter had been active in the Canadian Manufacturers Association, and from 1933 to 1951 was a member of the Association's executive council. He had succeeded his father on the board of the Canada and Dominion Sugar Company, was a member of the board of the Canadian Malting Company and, later, a director of Confederation Life Association, Consumers Gas, Federal Fire and Wellington Fire Insurance, and two trust companies, Canada Permanent and Toronto General. He was, as well, a director of the Imperial Bank of Canada.



R.A. -was equally busy, serving as chairman of National Trust, vice-president and director of the Canada Life Assurance Company and acting as a director for, among other enterprises, Moore Corporation, Maple Leaf Gardens, the Steel Company of Canada, British-American Oil, the Bank of Montreal, Bell Telephone, Toronto Savings and Loan, and Consolidated Bakeries, as 'well as being a member of the board of governors of Upper Canada College and of the Board of Trade. Throughout the 19305 W.C. and R.A. gave, either individually or together, to a good many groups and organizations, on an almost casual basis: people -would ask and, if the cause appealed to them, the brothers gave. Recipients included Central Neighbourhood House, Upper Canada College, the University of Toronto, and the Hospital for Sick Children. But they were not the only ones: the number of causes grew so rapidly that, at one point, a list of R.A.'s donations alone covered three single-spaced, typewritten pages.2 With so many demands on their time and an ever-growing list of good causes, it was inevitable that the response to hundreds of personal appeals for their interest and contributions would have to become less personal and more organized. Moreover, changes to the Income Tax Act provided further impetus for making donations "while protecting assets from the succession duties that had been so troublesome in settling their father's estate.

On September 13, 1949, the Province of Ontario issued letters patent that incorporated the Laidlaw Foundation, the charitable purposes of which were to make . . . payments to or for the benefit of any charitable or educational organization which carries on its work solely in the Province of Ontario or of any religious organization which carries on its work solely within Canada . . . to or for the benefit of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind or the Canadian Red Cross Society. . . .3




At 10:30 in the morning of October 27, 1949, the first Board of Directors of the Laidlaw Foundation met at the law offices of Blake, Anglin, Osier and Cassels in the Canadian Bank of Commerce building on King Street. In short order, Rod Laidlaw (age 27) was elected President and Nick Laidlaw (age 33), Secretary. The President reported that the letters patent had been issued, incorporating the Foundation as a corporation with no share capital under the Companies Act of the Province of Ontario. Two bylaws were presented, one relating to general operations and the second to borrowing; both were passed unanimously, as was a motion that the Foundation's first general meeting be held immediately, all members being present. The general meeting was small, as the Foundation membership totalled only three — Rod and Nick Laidlaw and Terence Sheard, a senior officer of National Trust. The three resigned and were quickly renominated as directors, to hold office until the next annual meeting of the Laidlaw Foundation. With the necessary legalities out of the way, the directors appointed Clarkson, Gordon as auditors. Fifteen minutes after this first general meeting, the Foundation's Board of Directors met: Rod was elected President and Nick VicePresident of the new corporation. T.A. Morrow, Trust Accountant of National Trust, was appointed the Foundation's SecretaryTreasurer. After further dealing with banking matters, the Board carried Rod's motion that J.G. Hungerford, an Assistant General Manager of National Trust and an old friend of RA., be admitted to membership. With this duly done, Terence Sheard resigned and Mr. Hungerford was elected a director in his place. As in the final business of the day, Rod presented a cheque for $50,000 on his father's behalf "as a donation from him to be used, as this Board shall determine from time to time." The meeting adjourned. The day-to-day operations of the Foundation were small and while governance involved the need to make shrewd investment decisions, it took relatively little time. The directors' second meeting, on November 161949, was called to discuss two matters. First, R.A.'s $50,000 was invested in Province of Ontario Bonds yielding



two and three-quarters per cent. Further, "the President submitted the names of Mr. R.A. Laidlaw and Mr. W.C. Laidlaw for membe ship in the Foundation." Both were unanimously elected.4 The directors met again on June 16, 1950, at which time they agreed that application should be made to allow a small technical amendment to the wording of the letters patent. Ten minutes later, their brief business finished, the second annual and Special Genera Meeting took place; Rod, Nick, and Mr. Hungerford were unopposed as directors. The effect of an amendment to the Income Tax Act was discussed and, in compliance with it, the directors agreed that the income and expenses of the Foundation would be dealt with on the basis of cash receipts and disbursements. The third Annual Meeting, held in April 1951, was as brief and businesslike as its predecessors, with Rod, Nick, and Hungerford again running, unopposed, for their offices, following which there was an equally brisk directors' meeting. This became something of a pattern: money was taken in, accounted for, invested, distributed; National Trust was appointed and reappointed as trustee; Blake, Cassels as law firm; Clarkson, Gordon as accountants; the Imperial as bank. Rod and Nick seldom missed either directors' or annual gatherings. At the latter, they exercised proxies for R.A. and W.C., who were almost never there: R. A. attended just a few times, beginning in 1959, and, according to the minutes, "W.C. was present only once, at the Annual General Meeting held on May 19, 1961. W.C.'s decision to finally visit the Foundation he had done so much to create and support, however, was probably motivated as much by personal as by charitable concerns: the main business of the meeting was a tribute to Julia Laidlaw, R.A.'s wife, who had died less than a month earlier.

The creation of the Foundation in 1949 was not a replacement for R.A. and W.C.'s personal philanthropy but a supplement to it; both continued to support their favourite causes. The Foundation's first



donation was significant as a mark of R.A.'s commitment, over the course of more than 30 years, to the Hospital for Sick Children, but he continued distributing private gifts at the same time. In 1968, for example, he gave almost $69,000 to 66 charities, from $10 to the John Howard Society and $25 to the John Milton Society, to $12,10 to the University of Toronto. R.A.'s particular interest in the children's hospital came initially from his admiration for its physician-in-chief, Dr. Alan Brown, whose private pediatric practice included the Laidlaw children. Brown was a legendary figure in Canada between the wars, noted for his tender care of small patients and his autocratic, often sarcastic, manner with their parents and with colleagues. When, for instance, an apprehensive mother expressed concern at his decision to remove her child's tonsils in the winter — "But, Doctor, it's January!" — he is said to have replied, "Madam, you will be pleased to know that we do tonsillectomies indoors." People either hated or loved Alan Brown; R.A. Laidlaw was on of his most unabashedly ardent fans. He had become involved in the hospital's board in 1921 because, he said, "Alan Brown asked me if I'd come on and I said if it would do him any good, I would."5 In 1934, R.A. was elected chairman of the Board of Sick Children's, a position he held for 18 years. But his presence was notable for much more than its duration: he was a moving force in creating the hospital's present site. In 1929, the Board had begun to think of moving from its old location at College and Elizabeth Streets, but the plan collapsed along with the stock market that October. To R.A., however, the setback was temporary, and within days of the end of the Second World War in 1945, he was hard at work reviving the concept. The first money contributed to the new-building campaign came from the trustees themselves, in amounts large enough to pay for the chosen parcel of land on the east side of University Avenue. "You see," R.A. later recalled, "we had to set a good example."6H did, making hefty contributions, estimated to be $i million, through



personal contributions and through both the family and the business. Construction began in 1947 and, in 1949, the new building's cornerstone was laid at the corner of University Avenue and Gerrard Street (where a family named Smith and their daughter Gladys Mary — later Mary Pickford — had once lived). The inscription reads: This stone was laid by Robert Alexander Laidlaw, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of this Hospital, on the und day of April A.D. 1949. As a major fundraiser, R.A. pulled out all the stops: he turned first to his friend George McCullagh, owner and publisher of the Globe and Mail who, in turn, called on his best feature writers for help. Newspaper stories appeared regularly, and the building committee was soon organizing tours for politicians, business people, and members of service clubs and other community organizations. Their purpose was to show how frighteningly overcrowded and outdated the old hospital was. In R.A.'s own words, "We took them right through the old place and rubbed their noses in it. Showed them the crowded wards, let them ride the balking elevator, took them right into the operating rooms. They soon got the message."7 And the hospital soon got the money. Shortly after the cornerstone was laid, however, it became clear that rising inflation was draining the original fund; unless $4 million were added to the $7 million already committed, the building might become an empty monument to a community that meant well but had overreached itself. A second fundraising campaign was created and though money was harder to come by this time, the target was reached in early January 1950, and the building was completed that fall. At a fundraising dinner given by the medical staff in honour of the trustees and the campaign committee, Dr. Brown "naturally . . . highlighted R.A. Laidlaw's part in the campaign," according to a report in the Telegram. "Not only was Mr. Laidlaw chairman of the campaign, he also made vast contributions himself. Despite the fact that he is well endowed with this world's goods, said Dr. Brown, 'we of the hospital staff want to make him a presentation.



Mr. Laidlaw was asked to rise, which he did with his customary modesty and shyness, Dr. Brown made his presentation, which was a kiss."8 On January 15, 1951, the hospital was ceremoniously opened, with speeches by Paul Martin, Sr., Minister of the Department of National Health and Welfare, representing the federal government; Leslie Frost, Premier of Ontario; and Toronto Mayor Hiram McCallum. Speaking "on behalf of the children, the doctors and the nurses who will make [it] live," R.A. thanked "all those who advised and assisted us in the construction of the new building." In the five days that followed, an astonishing 85,000 people stood in lines stretching down Gerrard Street, eager to see the new facility. On February 4, 223 small patients were moved in a flotilla that included members of the St. John Ambulance, private cars, and the Toronto police, with hydro workers directing traffic on their new walkie-talkies. When the first two youngsters arrived at the admitting door, R.A. impulsively picked up one of them, Beverley Smith, and carried her across the threshold into the hospital.9 This was a moment of great triumph. Not long after, R.A. gave up chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, though he continued to serve as Honorary Chairman of both the board and the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. He had also become involved in another cause: the National Ballet of Canada.. In 1950, a group of ballet-hungry Torontonians chose the English dancer, choreographer, and teacher Celia Franca to found a national company — a cheeky move in a country that was still considered a cultural backwater. R.A. worked hard to help bring the National into existence,10 and remained a loyal audience member and a generous (and sometimes anonymous) patron for the rest of his life, even contributing money to help support poorer students joining the National Ballet before the National Ballet School was established and scholarship programs were in place. His support of the company included such unconventional donations as return fare from Alberta for the dancers.



In addition to contributions to the hospital and the ballet, R.A. continued to give money to Upper Canada College and to the University of Toronto. He was also an early member of the board of the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, and donated 27 paintings by the Group of Seven to the gallery. W.C. was involved in his own causes — always and especially Central Neighbourhood House (CNH). It was one of several "settlement" houses of the time, created to serve the mostly poor immigrants flocking to large North American cities in the early loth century. There, they could learn English, get help seeking work, and find food and money until they did so. In the Toronto of that day, J.J. Kelso was the person to see for those in need. Therefore, in 1910, students at the University of Toronto's Victoria College, appalled by conditions in the downtown area known as "The Ward," approached him "to discuss social methods and to enquire what line of activity they should take up.""The result was the inter-denominational Central Neighbourhood House, which opened its doors on Gerrard Street West in September 1911. Among its facilities and programs were a Boys' Parliament, a branch of the Toronto Public Library, a drama club (which produced Peter Pan in 1917), a music school, night classes in English, arithmetic, and dressmaking, Young Men's Debates, classes in political economics (taught by a university professor), and public lectures on such topics as "pure milk, pure water, and pure air."12 From the settlement house's early days, through the rest of his life, W.C. strongly supported this generous vision of assistance to the poor. He had become involved shortly after it opened when his friend, W.A. Firstbrook, first president of CNH'S Board of Directors, asked him to apply his financial expertise to straighten out chaotic account books. The head of the overworked staff, short of both time and money, had been dealing with invoices by stuffing them in a drawer. W.C. quickly solved the problem by paying the bills from his own pocket.13 Despite his quiet, reserved demeanour, W.C. was deeply



attached to the impoverished children of Central Neighbourhood House, always taking the time to listen to tales of troubles and, occasionally, of triumph. A tribute published by CNH shortly before W.C.'s death in 1962 said "his staunch sustaining love for the Settlement, and its children and families, has found expression in countless ways both in good times and times of crisis. In return he is known and loved by thousands of members, past and present.'"4 W.C.'s most welcome gift to CNH in its early days was his solution to one problem that could not be resolved by all the culture and English lessons in the world: Toronto's hellish summer heat. The indomitable JJ. Kelso had convinced "Holy Joe" Atkinson, editor and owner of the Toronto Star, to establish the Star Fresh Air Fund, which survives to this day. Its initial purpose was to offer impoverished children day trips — "streetcar picnics" at Kew Gardens, High Park, and on the islands in Toronto Bay. W.C., however, was not content with the idea of day trips. While on the Board of Directors of Central Neighbourhood House (an office he held from 1912 until his death in 1962), he bought from Sir Edmund Osier an estate on Lake Simcoe known as The Gables. Osier had been making it available as a camp for a settlement organization in which he was involved; now W.C. turned it over for use by CNH. Soon the camp at The Gables was as important to the residents of The Ward as CNH itself. To those living in the ward — "with thei poor living environment and constant health, financial and family worries" — a summer holiday at The Gables offered a reprieve. A description, written in the 19305, lists the pleasures of spending time there: Sunny morning and moonlit nights, comfortable cabins, wholesome, plentiful meals, someone at hand to mind the baby, to take the boys off fishing and the little people to gather wild flowers. Bonfires and masquerades, dancing in the barn, rowing on the lake, and lovely, long, golden hours just 'doing nothing.' What a Paradise it is. . . ^



Thanks to Walter Laidlaw, some of the "wholesome food" was even shared with those still in the city: every Tuesday morning, the Laidlaw chauffeur, "Wilson" and later "Speedy," would take eggs, chickens, and vegetables from The Gables to Central Neighbourhood House, where they were given to mothers of children in the nursery school, to the elderly, and to families in the neighbourhood. In 1953, after 30 years and innumerable campers, W.C., close to 80 and beset by staffing problems, reluctantly closed The Gables.16 Upon his death, it was left to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, which used The Gables as a nurses' residence until it was torn down in the late 19805. In any case, Central Neighbourhood House remained a favourite cause for Laidlaw family members: W.C.'s niece Kay Smith was actively involved as a director for much of her life and Robert, the elder of her two sons, served in several capacities, including as a part-time staff member, on the Board of Directors, and as president. As minutes of various meetings show, the interests the brothers took in these and other causes shaped the Laidlaw Foundation's choice of recipients throughout most of the first decade of its existence. Upper Canada College was a case in point: both W.C. and R.A. had been students there and the latter served as chairman of its board from 1931 until 1939. All three of R.A.'s sons were also ucc alumnae. According to Rod, they "received most of their primary and secondary schooling [there]. . . . As a pattern, the boys went to Upper Canada at the age of around eight or nine, and came out around eighteen or nineteen and went off to the University [of Toronto]." Between 1950 and 1960, when the old Upper School building of Upper Canada College was being demolished and a new one erected, the institution received by far the largest portion of the Foundation's grants; a total of more than $200,000 went to the ucc Foundation and to the Emergency Building Fund,



Both Laidlaws continued to give to the Foundation/7 although W.C.'s bachelorhood made it possible for him to make contributions which were larger than R.A.'s, whose family had by 1961 grown to include ten grandchildren. The combination of prudent investment, minimal spending on administration, and the brothers' open-handedness resulted in growth of both the Foundation's assets and the funds these generated. They would increase, first modestly and then spectacularly, thanks to a donation by W.C, of $2,000,000 and, in February 1959, of 1,920 shares of Confederation Life stock.

Walter Laidlaw, youngest son of James Laidlaw, emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1818

Farm and residence of Walter Laidlaw, Esquesing Township (now Milton), Ontario

Andrew Laidlaw, Walter's brother

Andrew sold a portion of his property to build the Boston Presbyterian Church

Walter donated the building supplies

Robert Laidlaw, son of Walter and Margaret Laidlaw, founded the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company in 1887

Employees of Laidlaw Lumber Company, 1902

Business sign, Shortreed & Laidlaw, 1871-1886 Barrie. Oniario

Placement of billboard advertisement for R. Laidlaw Lumber Company in Ontario Safety League magazine

Robert Laidlaw

Jessie Cameron Laidlaw

Robert and Jessie Laidlaw's children: Ann (age 19) and Margaret (age 16)

Walter (age 22) and Robert (age 11)

Walter Cameron "W.C." Laidlaw

Robert Alexander "R.A." Laidlaw

Robert and Jessie Laidlaw with son Robert A. Laidlaw and three grandchildren: Katharine, Robert, and Jetfery

Robert A. and Julia C. Laidlaw's four children: Robert, Roderick, Katharine, and Jeffery

Robert A. Laidlaw

Walter C. Laidlaw

Katharine and Julia Laidlaw preparing to meet King George V

Rod and Jeffery Laidlaw with their mother, Julia

Dr. Robert Gordon Nicholas "Nick" Laidlaw

Roderick Walter Lukin "Rod" Laidlaw

Katharine Laidlaw, 1980s


". . . And a Time to })

IN ITS FIRST EIGHT years, the Laidlaw Foundation gave substantial amounts of money to a list of family favourites, including, of course, Upper Canada College, the Hospital for Sick Children (which received almost $30,000 between 1950 and 1957), and Christ Church in Roches Point (of which Jeffery Smith, second of R.A.'s grandchildren, is now a warden). At the final Directors' Meeting of 1957, income for the year was estimated to be $28,063.93, of which 90 per cent had to be distributed before December 31 to comply with the Foundation's charitable status under the Income Tax Act.1 Aside from ucc, the hospital, and the church, the Royal Ontario Museum's Archeology Purchase Fund received support, as did the Art Gallery of Toronto, Central Neighbourhood House, and, for the first time, the Quetico Foundation (dedicated to saving wilderness areas and, in particular, to protecting Quetico Provincial Park). In those early years, decisions simply reflected the brothers' personal interests — sometimes on a relatively large scale. In 1959,



for example, the Upper Canada College Foundation received $40,000, a figure equivalent to more than half the Foundation's total income the year before. But, over time, Rod Laidlaw, thoughtful and thorough by nature, and as precise as his Uncle Walter,7 set himself the task of preparing the Foundation for the future. It could simply continue to act as a tax-exempt conduit for philanthropy based on personal choices, subject only to the requirements of various tax-related laws. Or it could become something else — though exactly what was unclear. What was clear, however, was that Rod had the intellect, the curiosity, and the drive to figure it out and to set the Foundation on the best course for the future. In reconsidering the shape of the family foundation, Rod was not content to simply copy other such groups in Canada, with their deeply conservative preference for the traditional triumvirate of schools, churches, and hospitals. Preston Sewell, who headed National Trust's Private Trusts Department (which provided custodial services to the Foundation) for a quarter-century, recalls, for instance, that its first big client, the J.P. Bickell Foundation, treated funds as a "pie": so much for education, so much for hospitals. And money in the Mclaughlin Foundation was given to 18 doctors annually to do "two-year fellowships anywhere in the world."3 These worthy causes were typically favoured by wealthy Canadians and the foundations they created. But the Laidlaw Foundation was moving away from that model. According to Rod's daughter, Lyn Apgar, "While there is no absolute certainty about how Nick and my father sawed off responsibilities in running the Foundation, they were certainly moving away from R.A.'s and W.C.'s ideas." Already the Foundation had established a tradition of using external reviews and advisors. Lyn Apgar suggests that "perhaps this was . . . a way for Dad to get some external advice on matters Nick knew about, to make sure they were sound rather than just reflecting Nick's interests."4 Furthermore, Rod began to look beyond Canada for models.



Philanthropies in other countries were engaged in a much broader range of giving that more nearly matched Rod Laidlaw's sophisticated take on what a family foundation could be. He looked south to the Rockefellers and across the Atlantic to the Guinness and Cadbury trusts in England; the point was not to imitate what they were doing — the Laidlaw Foundation operated on a far more modest scale than any of the three — but to replicate their originality and professionalism. Rod and the Foundation's secretary, Mary Claire Thomas, who was hired in 1961, recognized that the Foundation board, while well placed to make investment choices, did not have the expertise needed to make decisions on the worthiness of candidates in the social and health fields, where the Foundation was most active. As a result, they recruited an official Advisory Committee, consisting of some of Canada's leading social work and mental health figures.5 In 1963 the first Advisory Committee was appointed. Its members included leaders in fields related to the needs of children — William Hawke, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children, William Line of the Institute for Child Study, who had been a "personal and professional mentor"6 of Nick's, Lillian Thomson, and Jessie Waiters, a senior social work consultant to the Children's Aid Society of Toronto — as well as three pioneers in Canadian social work — Dr. Albert Rose, professor of social work at the University of Toronto, and one of the premier architects of public housing policy in this country; Bess Touzel, who, among her other accomplishments, helped design Canada's family allowance system; and John Spencer, who introduced community service orders and victim-offender reconciliation programs for young offenders. The Committee was important for two reasons: it gave solid, professional advice on grant applications and, even more significantly, it was one of the factors that moved the Laidlaw Foundation beyond personal interests to a new kind of professionalism. Because the Foundation was willing, in the words of Nathan Gilbert, who later became its executive director, "to choose [a]



field and choose the experts in that field," the Laidlaw's unique perspective quite literally fills a book. According to The Charity Game, Walter Stewart's provocative book on philanthropy in Canada, the majority of foundations "operate by fiat of the president, who operates the organization out of his or her bottom drawer as an extension of private giving." Calling them "Secretive, Smug, and Silent," Stewart says that "a pot of money earned or inherited by a few individuals, some of which would normally flow into the coffers of the hellhounds of Revenue Canada, is instead protected; and the income, and part of the capital, are used each year to back specific projects that appeal to the trustees of foundations."7 Thanks primarily to Rod and Nick, that was not true of the Laidlaw Foundation, which — even against the founding wishes of their father and their uncle (R.A. and W.C. Laidlaw) — always sought a significant pioneering role for itself. It benefitted from the brothers' interests and character, their ability to work together with respect for each other's strengths, and their tolerance for each other's weaknesses. In this equilibrium, the relationship between Rod and Nick resembled the one between their father and his brother. Through the years, and despite personal disagreements, "there was natural harmony of mind, affection and respect between my grandfather and his brother: R.A. was generous, quiet, but had a temper; that was also true of 'Unkie' (Walter)," says Jamie Laidlaw. "Nonetheless, they got on well and made nice lives for themselves. Walter was the forgotten man in the Foundation but it was the beneficiary of his estate to the tune of a considerably larger amount than from my Grandfather, who had a family and assorted responsibilities, was able to contribute." In 1962,, the 88-year-old Walter Cameron Laidlaw, still quiet and self-effacing, died and was buried next to his parents. In his will, he made bequests to Rod and Nick, mostly in the form of preferred shares in Laidlaw Lumber and the Ettrick Lumber Company. He



bequeathed the shares left under his father's will equally to Kay, Nick, and Rod, and the rest of his estate — $5 million — went to the Foundation.8 Now only R.A. was left, and he turned to his two surviving sons to run the family philanthropy. Day-to-day operations would be handled by Mary Claire Thomas. Mary Claire had originally been interested in the natural sciences but decided, while at graduate school in England, to study social work. Back in Toronto, she received her MSW from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work; after a stint with the Children's Aid Society, she joined the Laidlaw Foundation at age 33. In addition to her natural tact and organizational skills, "M.C." or "Mickey," knew the Foundation's history, understood its culture, and sympathized with the outlook and preferences of its founders.

In the late summer of 1971, the family suffered a stunning loss: Rod died in an accident at Roches Point. He had made generous provisions in his will for his wife and then divided the rest of his estate equally between his children and the family philanthropy he had 'worked so hard to nurture, which realized about $i million from his bequest. The premature, unexpected death of his youngest son was a terrible blow to R.A., whose closest colleague he had been since W.C.'s death. For his part, Nick had been deprived of not just a reliable and loyal friend and confidant, but the person with whom he worked most closely. According to his son Jamie, the two "had been so close they could finish each other's sentences; Nick admired Rod's mind and perceptiveness. Nick was tense and high-strung while Rod, who wasn't communicative, was quieter and read a great deal. His death was very hard on my father and seemed to further isolate him."9 But R.A. had been raised according to the precepts of stoicism and he carried on with his various charities, clubs, and boards. He found it hard, however, to maintain the family business by himself



— of the boys, only Nick, who had already rejected the option of heading up the company, was still living. Before Rod died, he had begun discussions about selling R. Laidlaw Lumber Co. to forestry giant MacMillan Bloedel, and the deal was completed not long afterward. In January 1976, R.A. celebrated his goth birthday. Six months later he died and, after a private funeral, was buried at the church in Roches Point. The following Monday, Upper Canada College held a memorial service for the dapper, lively Old Boy who had given so generously to the school. According to the text of a historic plaque near R.A.'s grave: . . . [he] was a kind and generous man, with a great love for children. . . . He is best remembered for his work while Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children (a position he held for eighteen years); his many years as Chairman (and later Honourary Life Chairman) of the Board of Governors of Upper Canada College; and for his generous support of the National Ballet of Canada and the National Ballet School. Not only did he contribute to the advancement of these institutions and organizations by his donations of large sums of money (always anonymously) but also by his abilities as a dynamic leader and organizer. His crowning accomplishment was the opening of Toronto's new Hospital for Sick Children, on University Avenue in 1951 . . . . [It] was, and is, one of the finest . . . in the world. . . . Robert Laidlaw was a familiar figure around the wards for he visited and played with the children, and stopped to chat with the staff, almost daily. [He] also contributed generously to other worthy projects, including the McMichael Canadiana Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, the University of Toronto, and the Royal Ontario Museum. . . . R.A. left the property at Roches Point to Rod's widow, Suzanne,



while the house at Jackes Avenue and any of the furnishings not wanted by the family were willed to the National Ballet School, with the proviso that the building be sold if it were not suitable for the school's use. The school sold the property to a developer; the grounds to the rear of the house were separated off and eventually developed into premium condominiums. The house itself was turned over to Frontier College, which is still located there and has itself been a beneficiary of several Foundation grants. The National Ballet School used the proceeds from the sale of the property to build the R.A. Laidlaw Centre.10 R.A. made minor bequests to his children, who were already well taken care of by their grandfather Robert's estate and by provisions R.A. had made in his lifetime. Under his will, which was drawn up not long after Rod's death, he left two parts of his assets in trust to Rod's children and two parts to Nick's children, while Bob and Jeff Smith received one share each. John Hodgson, who handled the matter, says this was not a slight, but reflected the fact that, when Katharine Laidlaw married Andrew Smith in 1939, her father had established a settlement trust — in effect, a dowry — on her. The remainder of R.A.'s estate, worth $1 million, was willed to the family's foundation. Nick, the only remaining son and senior family member at the Foundation, now began the process of gradual change on which .today's organization is based. Say "Nick Laidlaw" to Torontonians of a certain age and style — downtowners, successful, and politically, socially, or culturally involved — and the response is almost automatic: "Oh, he was an eccentric." Or "I'll never forget the brass ear trumpet." "A veiy strange guy, even at that time." But Robert Gordon Nicholas Laidlaw was much more than a collection of unorthodox behaviours. Because his character had a decisive, lasting influence on the Foundation, it is an important part of its history. The eldest boy, Nick suffered as the first sons of the successful traditionally suffer: from impossible pressure, unrealistic expectations, and the complete disregard by his family of his natural



interests and strengths. In his case, that unhappy mixture was further complicated by fragile early health. One of his nieces recalls being told that "Nick spent the first year on a bed, considered too frail to be allowed to crawl.™ But he grew and became sturdy enough to compete in track and field at Upper Canada College. And he survived three and a half years in a German prisoner-ofwar camp, where he was confined after the plane on which he was a flying officer had to be ditched off the coast of Brittany.12 His decision to become a psychologist brought him great professional satisfaction, but he did suffer some personal problems. He was, for instance, the subject of a great deal of gossip and speculation in the early 19605, when his marriage ended. Nick played the part of an eccentric very convincingly. From the late '6os onward he had a long white beard, and he usually wore a grey tweed jacket from Ely's. His shirt pocket was always filled with scrap paper for notes and a ballpoint pen. Hung around his neck was a transistor radio with a cassette tape and an earplug through which he listened to the CBC. The house he eventually settled in on Dunvegan Avenue in Forest Hill soon began to bulge with newspapers, magazines, and videotapes, all of which fed Nick's curiosity about a wide range of subjects. He searched endlessly for phrases or articles that might interest him or his wide circle of family and friends, jotting them down to present to people at Foundation meetings. "I thought you would be interested," he'd say, or he might ask, "Isn't that curious?" wondering about the accuracy of some fact. A portrait of Nick, painted by artist Joyce Wieland, shows a long, narrow, solemn-faced man with the beard of a prophet. One friend says he chose Wieland, who was not known for her portraiture, because "he wanted people to try things they hadn't done before." He wore several watches, "no fewer than two, no more than four — usually three," perhaps, one friend suggests, "because they were gifts and he was reluctant to hurt anyone's feelings by choosing among them" —: something Jamie identifies as a "Laidlaw trait."13 It appeared again when Nick worked briefly for Bruce



Quarrington, as a vocational counsellor; "it wasn't successful," Quarrington remembers, "because he was unable to withhold his sympathy and would brood about his clients." One colleague says that Nick "carried around a sense of obligation because he was part of the 'club' [of well-to-do, established families] and a sense of expectation because he carried the family's honour. He felt himself duty-bound and obliged to carry through." Clive Chamberlain, a board member, recalls an instance of this, at a meeting of academic psychiatrists the Foundation held at Val David. "The hotel had a great wine list, some of which cost $300 a bottle. As guests of the Foundation, most of us selected from the low end of the price list, but others, obviously deeply impressed with their importance, ordered the more expensive bottles. At the end of our stay, Nick was embarrassed to discover that the wine bill was $5,000 and immediately paid for it out of his own pocket."14 And then there was the famous brass ear trumpet, which some believed was an affectation. "Nick was somehow able to hear whatever it was he wanted to hear," according to David Silcox, who was both his friend and art advisor, adding that "Nick had an off-the-wall sense of humour, was always very amusing, very light, and would ask penetrating, pertinent questions no one else would ask."15 Clive Chamberlain thought the ear trumpet was "a bit mischievous. He could make it clear, without saying a thing, that he wasn't listening to you, either by putting the trumpet down or setting it in another direction. I have no idea whether he had trouble hearing, but it was a personal statement, calling attention to himself without seeming to." Lawyer, long-time Board member, and old friend John Hodgson saw the ear trumpet as "fun" and points out that, when bored, Nick would just close it and fold it away." Behind the ear trumpet and the other eccentricities, however, was a warmhearted man. Hodgson notes that "he was generous — sometimes outrageously so — not just with family and friends, but also with people he did not know but whose talents he admired. For example, when a very talented but impecunious maker of bass



viols approached him, he supported the man and, in time, paid his way to Europe for further studies. His protege's work became much sought-after by musicians there and he eventually settled on the continent."16 Shifts in outlook and practice in the Foundation owed a great deal to Nick Laidlaw. Sometimes he initiated them; other times he was the person around whom they were planned by others. However such changes were instigated, they were always handily implemented under Mary Claire Thomas's smooth and tactful management, which was able to absorb changes readily. Today, psychologist Bruce Quarrington remembers Mary Claire as "a key figure in the Foundation's development," and points to her tireless work in organizing the many applications for grants, keeping the Board and the family apprised of Foundation operations, and acting as secretary and minute-taker at the many board and committee meetings.17 In June 1982, after 2,1 years of service, Mary Claire Thomas officially retired. On her retirement, Nick warmly praised her many contributions to the Foundation (of which she was the first fulltime employee), paying tribute to "her assistance to the directors in formulating policy and program directions . . . together with her skilled supervision and sensitivity in carrying out the program objectives." These, he said, "contributed in large measure to [the Foundation's] excellent reputation across Canada.." Her responsibilities passed to Nathan Gilbert, age 30, a graduate from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work, executive director of an intergovernmental (provincial-municipal) socialwelfare association, parent, and community volunteer. First appointed to the position of "Foundation Secretary," his position title was later changed to "Executive Administrator" in 1983, and in 1987 to "Executive Director." In 1983, three long-standing board members (John Hodgson, Bruce Quarrington, and Frank Hayes) declared their intention to retire from the board in an orderly manner over the next three



years. This decision would require the Foundation to recruit a new generation of leaders, people with no connection to the family and, in most cases, not even known to Nick. John Hodgson suggested that Anne W. Dupre be invited to join the board, which she did in 1984. Frank Hayes then retired. As a volunteer in the field of children's mental health, Anne W. Dupre was experienced in the Foundation's major interest, the well-being of children. She had served as a director on the board of the Dellcrest Centre (now the Hincks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre), which offers programs to troubled youngsters; she was also an officer and director of the Alliance for Children, an umbrella of voluntary and government agencies dealing with kids, and the president of the Ontario Association of Children's Mental Health Centres. The fact that she was a woman made her especially welcome. In contrast to the days when Kay Smith had been ignored, the Foundation was finally ready to have a woman on its board. Furthermore, in 1989 the board elected Anne W. Dupre the first non-family president. Clive Chamberlain was next to join the board in 1985 on the retirement of Bruce Quarrington. Nick knew him slightly and was impressed with the vast professional expertise he could bring to the board at a time of so many fundamental changes to the Foundation's operations. While these changes were taking place in the Foundation, Nick continued his own form of personal philanthropy to the arts, lending so much of his own money to impecunious folkies looking for work in the many Yorkville coffee houses of the day that his icus were eventually gathered up by a chartered accountant who tried, with some measure of success, to collect on them. For a while, Nick even had his own label, "Nick's Records," recording artists he particularly admired, including the group STRINGBAND. In 1986, he became one of the few truly disinterested philanthropists ever thanked at an Academy Awards ceremony, when Brigitte Berman acknowledged his support for her winning feature



documentary, Artie Shaw-. Time is All You've Got. A friend of Nick's remembers that, "the next day he was delighted because, he said, 'billions heard my name.'" Perhaps the most insightful view of Nick Laidlaw comes from Clive Chamberlain, who remembers that "he had so many parts n one knew them all; you keep bumping into people who knew a different Nick than you did. Actually, it's too bad he was only a millionaire, not a billionaire: he had an instinct for giving money away intelligently and that's the hardest thing to do.'"8 By 1989 it was becoming clear that Nick Laidlaw — to use an appropriate old Scottishism — had "begun to dwindle." He had been President and Chairman of the Board of the family foundation for 32 years, chaired all committees, was the organization's most senior volunteer and its undisputed head. He was now considering his responsibility for disposing of a considerable estate and discussing the way the Foundation would function after his death. When he spoke of possible gifts he might make, members of the board pointed out that the Foundation was well positioned to offer sizable contributions to his favourite causes. At a meeting on October 28, I988/9 the directors talked about honouring Nick by supporting the organization that, aside from the Foundation itself, was closest to his heart: the Institute of Child Study. Founded in 1926 as the St. George School for Study and established with a grant from American philanthropist Laura Spellman Rockefeller,20 the Institute of Child Study later became a division of the Faculty of Education of the University of Toronto, with the purposes of education research and student training. Its 180 students, aged three to twelve (junior kindergarten to sixth grade) were supervised by Dr. William Blatz, its founding director. The Institute, where he was a lecturer and research associate, was Nick Laidlaw's professional home for virtually all of his career. By the mid-'8os, however, it had fallen on hard times. The University's administration was silent about the Institute's future and, even more ominously, had not included funding for it as part of a $ioo-million fundraising campaign. Nor had it suggested a



graduate research agenda or financial support for one. In the late 19805, when it appeared that the independence and interdisciplinary future of the Institute might once again be threatened, the new dean at the Faculty of Education and the Institute's new director made a commitment to restore the Institute's graduatelevel research program.21 At roughly the same time, the Laidlaw Foundation's board asked Nick to name a single organization that the Foundation could endow as a living legacy of his leadership; not surprisingly, he chose the Institute of Child Study. The Foundation's gift of $i million enabled the Institute to create the Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Research Centre. The Centre is now the research division of the Institute of Child Study. The Institute itself is now linked to the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education — University of Toronto (OISE-UT). Nick Laidlaw would have been delighted with the impact the gift has had on the Institute to which he had dedicated his professional life. For example, the late Dr. Robbie Case, a world leader in the field of child development, who had grown up in Montreal and become Professor of Child and Adolescent Development at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, received a fellowship at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He returned to Canada in 1995, when he agreed to become head of the Institute — which, thanks to the Centre, once more had a serious research program.11 "Nick would have considered Robbie Case's presence, in itself, vindication of the gift," Gilbert says. The Centre's prospectus (which incorrectly lists the contribution as a personal gift from Nick, rather than from the Foundation in Nick's honour)23 notes that it is currently engaged in several potentially significant projects, including an exploration of children's concepts of truth; a survey of efforts in Canada to coordinate children's education, health, and social services; and an assessment of the vocabulary and understanding of children for whom English is the first language and those for whom it is the second. By late 1989, the toll of the war years on Nick Laidlaw's always



delicate constitution and weak heart was obvious as he became increasingly frail. At the beginning of 1990, suffering from angina, the 73-year-old Nick entered the Toronto General Hospital for tests and, after a massive coronary, died there on February 3rd. Like Rod before him, Nick had divided his estate into shares — in his case, one for each of his children and the fifth, worth almost $2 million at the time of his death, to the Laidlaw Foundation. While there were no other charitable bequests in the will, John Hodgson points out that, "in addition to the 20 per cent left to the Laidlaw Foundation, in his lifetime Nick had been a tremendous contributor to causes and people, often in amounts that almost exceeded 50 per cent of his income; in addition, he made generous loans and gifts to unregistered charities, including small trust funds he set up for people in the early stages of their careers."24 Nick is buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard at Roches Point, near his father, beside Rod, and close to the monument to his brother Jeff. The family held a traditional memorial service at Timothy Eaton Church on February 8 and, several weeks later, some of his arts friends braved a bitterly cold night to honour him at an outdoor service at Harbourfront. The Foundation was flooded with messages of condolence.


The Family Committee: An Early Experiment in Youth Engagement *s


IN FEBRUARY 1974, the Foundation's directors discussed the merits and hazards of expanding the membership of the Foundation and/or the number of directors, either with other family members or with outside directors. They decided not to change the formal structure of the Foundation, but they did give consideration to establishing a new subcommittee, similar to the existing Professional Advisory Committee.1 In November 1974, the Foundation's directors invited the eldest child of each of R.A. Laidlaw's three children — Kay's son Bob Smith, age 32, Nick's son Jamie Laidlaw, age 25, and Rod's daughter Lyn Burns (later Apgar), age 25 — to discuss the formation of a new group, the Family Committee. In a memorandum prepared for this meeting, the directors outlined the Foundation's pattern of grants that reflected special family interests as well as broader community concerns: In our decisions, we endeavour to balance the pressing needs



of today with those of the future, giving recognition to the changing requirements of the times. Your generation may have different interests and ideas about the function of the Foundation. We want you to have the opportunity to develop your ideas unhampered, but supported by the present infrastructure. The Family Committee was established in order to provide members of the third generation of the family with an opportunity to gain experience, learn the craft, and determine their own interests in philanthropic giving through an incorporated foundation. It was anticipated that members of this generation would, in due course, become board members responsible for the overall operation of the Foundation. The Family Committee was given an initial budget of $50,000. Its members had the option of using consultants of their own choosing, to be paid out of their budget, or consulting with Mary Claire Thomas, the Foundation's secretary. Grant recommendations would ordinarily be approved if supported by the majority of Family Committee members and reviewed by Nick Laidlaw, the Foundation's president, and Mary Claire. Proposals that raised policy, legal, or ethical questions and recommendations to add nonfamily members to the committee would require full board approval. From 1975, the Family Committee's first year of operation until its dissolution in December 1985, the Committee awarded $691,000 in grants. The Committee reported annually to the Board of Directors. It took the committee some time to settle on particular areas of concentration, but from the start the preference was for self-help services, seed grants, prevention services, and innovative use of community resources. The Family Committee was generally disinclined to support proposals from large, well-established institutions; it also rejected requests for capital funding and for funding it viewed as a duplication of services.1 On December 18, 1975, the Family Committee reported to the Board of Directors that in the coming year they would:



plan to develop their community contacts and anticipate that this could lead to formal evaluation procedures. Out of the experience of developing wider community contacts, they may decide to form an Advisory Committee. The members of the Family Committee questioned the length of term served by the present Professional Advisory Committee. The Family Committee expressed the belief that terms should be limited. Over its n years, the committee sought repeatedly to have its budget increased. In 1976 the committee's budget was increased to $70,000 and the committee recommended grants of $68,435. In 1977 the budget was increased to $80,000; the committee recommended grants of $66,625, including a gift of $30,000 to the new London Regional Children's Museum. An additional $7,475 was committed to the Museum from its 1978 budget.3 In 1981 the Family Committee's budget was again increased, this time to $100,000. In January 1977, the Foundation's directors invited Bruce Quarrington to join the board, increasing the number of directors to four. He was asked to prepare a memorandum outlining suggestions for the reorganization of the Foundation; when it was presented at the March meeting, it was discussed at length and approved in principle. The directors agreed upon the concept of the Foundation as a public trust. To confirm this principle, they approved a resolution that the Board of Directors of the Foundation should have no more than 50% of its membership drawn from members of the Laidlaw Family. The memorandum also recommended that new members be recruited to join its two advisory subcommittees, the Professional Advisory Committee and the Family Committee. The Family Committee invited Deborah Laidlaw (Rod's daughter), who declined the invitation, and Jeffery Smith (Kay's son) and Julia Simmers (Nick's daughter), who both accepted, to join the committee as associate members for a two-year trial membership period. At the Annual Meeting of June 1978, the Family Committee



reported that it did not want to restrict itself to any specific area of interest and would continue to review all applications submitted to the Foundation. The committee indicated that it planned to invite Bill Laidlaw (Nick's son) and Kim Laidlaw (Rod's daughter) to the committee to explore their interest in the Foundation. A decision regarding permanent membership on the Family Committee was deferred. By May 1979, the composition of the Family Committee was in fluctuation. Only Bob Smith, who served as the committee's unofficial chair, attended meetings on a regular basis. Jamie Laidlaw, inactive due to absences in England, promised to attend more regularly. In 1980, Lyn Apgar resigned to concentrate on raising her family. Julia tendered her resignation because her family was moving to New Zealand. Jeff Smith attended irregularly; Kim had just begun her two-year term as an associate member. Bill Laidlaw (Nick's son), Jeff Laidlaw (Rod's son), and Melissa Laidlaw (Nick's youngest) had expressed interest but had not yet attended any meetings. In September 1981, the Board of Directors convened a meeting with all of R.A. Laidlaw's grandchildren to discuss a report that set out guidelines for Foundation reorganization. The report proposed that the membership of the Family Committee be increased, and that the remaining grandchildren be asked to join, first as rotating associate members and later as permanent members. The directors thought that this would bring a "coherent growth of interests."4The board asked the Family Committee to invite all family members to offer suggestions on a method for nominating two Family Committee members to sit on the board on a rotating basis. The Family Committee reported back that seven of R.A. Laidlaw's ten grandchildren had elected to join the Family Committee. All committee members would have voting authority. The Family Committee chair and one other committee member would be nominated to join the Board of Directors for a one-year term. Nominations to the board would be reviewed by the committee annually, keeping in mind the principles of rotation and staggered



terms. In 1981, Bob Smith and Jeffery Laidlaw became the first Family Committee members to be nominated to the Foundation's board, to serve until December 31, 1982. In addition, the Family Committee proposed guidelines and procedures for the review of proposals. It determined that it would give higher value to projects, generally of a direct service nature, where a small grant or challenge grant would likely be of strategic importance to the applicant and which would likely be overlooked by other advisory committees. Priority would be given for start-up funds, grassroots self-help groups, professional development, or new directions for existing organizations and support for excellence. Between 1982 and 1985, the Family Committee made several significant grants. A large multi-year grant was approved to help create the Georgina Community Resource Centre — the first multiservice centre in York Region. The Resource Centre brought together under one roof many of the social and human resource agencies delivering services in the Town of Georgina, at the time one of southern Ontario's most socially disadvantaged communities. Jeff Smith, demonstrating commitment and leadership in this initiative, was resident in the community and served as the multiservice centre's first chair. Jamie Laidlaw also played an important role in the Georgina community project. A large grant was also made to the Daily Bread Food Bank, an agency created to collect and distribute surplus and donated food to Toronto's poor. The Creative Centre for Technology, (an organization created to provide selected senior high school students with an exceptional summer residential program in computer studies and entrepreneurship at the University of Waterloo and later at university campuses across Canada) received a grant in each of its first four years to cover the sponsorship/scholarship costs of a student — after the first year, a special effort was made to select a female student — selected from the Town of Georgina, At the same time, Jamie began to actively develop a network of contacts in the environmental field and become more informed about the emerging issues.



Between June and December 1985, the members of the Family Committee participated in a comprehensive review of the committee's future. Several members identified areas of their own individual interest; for Jeffery Laidlaw it was the elderly, for Jeff Smith it was multi-service centres, for Bob Smith it was disadvantaged children, and for Jamie it was the environment and the conservation of natural resources. The committee, however, chose not to limit itself to any particular specialization or region. Several members felt that they had completed the apprenticeship period and were now qualified to assume a full position on the board. For its part, according to Jamie Laidlaw, the family "deliberately wound up [its] committee to become totally integrated into the emerging life of the Foundation."5 Concerns were raised in heated discussions regarding the role of family members at both the board and committee level.6 On two matters there was consensus: the name of the committee needed to change and non-family members needed to be added. At a joint board-Family Committee meeting held on December 6, 1985, in the Massey College Library, the following conclusions were reached: 1. The Family Committee would be dissolved; 2. Family members would be encouraged to join the advisory committees and the board. While expertise was not a criterion for membership, normal committee responsibilities would be expected; 3- The majority of members of the board and any advisory committee would continue to be non-family, so as to retain the Foundation's public foundation structure; 4. Life membership in the foundation was extended to all of R.A. Laidlaw's grandchildren and current and past directors and advisors; and 5- The decision to extend membership to R.A. Laidlaw's greatgrandchildren was deferred to enable the family to develop a recommendation for the board.



The creation of the Family Committee was a developmental strategy on the part of the Foundation's Board of Directors, designed to provide the next generation of the Laidlaw family with an opportunity to define their own philanthropic space. It presents itself as an interesting model for intergenerational engagement and leadership succession.


A Private Public-Interest Foundation FROM 1960 ONWARDS, there had been general agreement among the Foundation's directors that the Foundation should develop a broader public interest and operate primarily as a public or open foundation. A 1977 reorganization proposal by Bruce Quarrington explains these terms: First, an open foundation seeks to be known by the public. This in turn implies public evidence of its realm of concern in the form of projects or undertakings identified as having Foundation support. Such public statements are regarded not as ways to exclude applications for support but as providing some distinctive features of the foundation's interests and thus to encourage the flow of appropriate applications. An open foundation implies a breadth of interest or rather wide limits around particular foci of concern. An open foundation seeks to be viewed by the public as one that makes its awards on the basis of objectively assessed merit.



It is only with this perception by the public that a foundation attracts thoughtful and honest submissions that are of promise. The implication of an open foundation concept for its relations with support-seeking individuals or groups is less clear. It has been argued that the role of an open foundation should include some consultative, advisory or even collaborative functions. Specifically, it has been held that an open foundation should disclose to applicants the reasons for its denial of support. It has also been maintained that advice should be given to applicants so that subsequent submissions would be more likely to find support in the particular or some other formulation. Perhaps it could be agreed that an open foundation should be, at least, willing to entertain relations with applicants other than the impersonal one of giving or withholding financial support. An open foundation seeks to attract and support ventures that offer promise of new knowledge or new social programmes that have very general utility. It will have an interest in the 'generalizability' of research or the developmental possibilities of newly conceived social programmes with a high risk of failure, yet offer promise for general application or dissemination if successful."1 In his own report, Nick Laidlaw added that an open foundation achieves credibility by striving for visibility, accessibility, clarity, and objectivity.2 In March 1977, the Board of Directors reached a consensus on the "concept of Laidlaw Foundation as a public trust," and unanimously approved a motion "that the Board of Directors of the Foundation should have no more than 50% of its membership drawn from members of the Laidlaw Family."3 This decision is almost without parallel in the history of Canadian private family philanthropy. It was, nevertheless, a logical evolution and was entirely consistent with the Foundation's activities from the early 19605 onwards.



When Mary Claire Thomas, the Foundation's first professional staff member, was appointed in 1961, she assisted the board with the recruitment of an advisory committee. The committee was comprised of selected individuals from the social and health disciplines who would collaborate with the Foundation's directors in determining policies and the assessment of applications in the areas of social services and mental health. In 1963 the Foundation committed even more firmly to a focus on the social sciences; two thirds of the Foundation's income was set aside to support "the development of social sciences and social services, with particular emphasis on experimental and research projects, studies and other activities, which might contribute to the better understanding of dependency, deprivation and poverty in an affluent society."4 In 1963 the Foundation issued the first of a series of regular reports; names of directors, committee members, and staff were included, as were application guidelines and financial statements. Recent projects were also listed, effectively serving to demarcate the approximate boundaries of Foundation interest. The Foundation also established the Laidlaw Fellowship Program in 1963 to support advanced training in the social and behavioural sciences. Even in its earliest years, the Foundation was aware of the doors its grants could open in the careers of doctoral-level candidates. In a period of increasing concern about the number and influence of Americans teaching in Canadian universities, the Foundation was making generous grants to highlevel students in the social and behavioural sciences, social work, nursing, and child psychiatry. While there was a great deal of hand-wringing and tough talk across the country about the number of Americans teaching Canadian students, the Foundation was actually tackling one of the root causes of the situation: a lack of public funding for the advanced education of Canadians. The original objectives of this program were three-fold:



1. To increase the number of people qualified to design and evaluate research in the social sciences, 2. To provide qualified staff for the growing number of Schools of Social Work, and 3. To provide opportunity for experienced practitioners to broaden and update their knowledge.5 The Foundation had decided to emphasize two aspects of supporting research and clinical careers that are crucial but get little attention: early assistance and advanced training. Possibly without even recognizing it specifically as a "labour market strategy," over time the Foundation trained and inspired a generation of Canadian university researchers and professors. Although many members of that generation have now retired, their influence remains, thanks to the work of people trained and inspired by them. A glance at some of these recipients' doctoral theses — replete with expressions of gratitude for the badly needed support and funds, offered by the Foundation — gives ample evidence of the way the Foundation helped many academics, clinicians, and researchers take the first steps in their careers. It is, in fact, almost impossible to overestimate the effect Laidlaw generosity had, and still has, on Canadian society. Thanks in great part to the Foundation's board and committees, whose members knew from experience how important it is to nourish early careers, it made many such grants. Support often came precisely when frustration might otherwise have led a researcher to abandon either a project or a community. A look through the Foundation's annual reports attests to this generosity: • Between 1950 and 1963, the Laidlaw Foundation gave $52,900 in grants, fellowships, and scholarships to the University of Toronto's departments of Psychiatry and of Psychology, the Faculty of Social Work, the Institute of Child Study (which would later receive an especially generous gift from the


• •



Foundation), the Centre for Russian and Far Eastern Studies, and New College. In the next three years, the amount was more than double what had been spent in each of the previous 13: $107,568.6 Between 1963 and 1965, money was given to 20 Laidlaw "Fellows," some of whom received grants to support doctoral studies or research, while others were given grants-in-aid of "advanced studies that might not necessarily lead to a degree."7 According to the Foundation Report covering the years 1966-68, "48 fellowships or grants-in-aid [were] awarded to students taking advanced training in the social and behavioural sciences." In the following two years, the Foundation awarded a total of $106,000 for advanced study fellowships and $2,660 for a "special fellowship."8 In 1971 and 1972, the Foundation gave $195,096 in fellowships, mostly to students pursuing advanced degrees in social work, nursing, child psychiatry, law, and psychology.9

By 1970, it was becoming evident that most well-qualified applicants were receiving support from newly established government grant programs: National Welfare Fellowships, Provincial Graduat Fellowships, and the Canada Council and later the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The Laidlaw awards were merely supplementing inadequate government support rather than making any further contribution. In 1972, the Foundation notified the various government granting agencies that it would be phasing out its fellowship program, and in 1974 it was discontinued. By 1977 the Advisory Committee had become less than enthusiastic about the general quality of applications being received. The committee re-organized, with some members retiring (Bruce Quarrington, Jessie Walters, William Hawke) and new advisors being appointed (Sylva Gelber, the first director of the federal Department of Labour, Women's Bureau, and Robin Ross, viceprovost, University of Toronto). A Foundation-Initiated Grants program was launched as a new category.



The Laidlaw Award was established to support individual researchers of merit in the social/behavioural sciences whose ability to pursue their research in Canada was seriously hampered by problems of ongoing funding from conventional funding bodies. Strict criteria for selecting worthy recipients were adopted. The quality and nature of the research would need to merit special consideration by the board and its advisors. Recipients would be selected on the basis of past performance and a statement of future research directions. Periodic reports would be required. The value of the award would be set at $30,000 a year and it could be held for up to five years. Individuals could not apply for the Laidlaw Award; candidates would be nominated through the Advisory Committee, Foundation consultants, or established institutions. The awards would be made through established institutions but no "overhead charges" by the institution would be covered. Awards would not replace salaries or funding available to the recipient from established sources. The award was made to support the work of a specific individual to enable the recipient to pursue research activity. The award would be discontinued, pending a review, if the recipient moved to another institution or if the recipient left Canada. The first recipient of the Laidlaw Award was Dr. Klaus Minde, director of pediatric research at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Minde's research focus was on premature infants and their parents — a difficult subject less likely to receive conventional funding. It was generally acknowledged that "hard" research, where the variables can be more easily controlled, would likely be given higher priority by the regular funding bodies faced with serious budget constraints. This made it difficult for a promising scholar like Dr. Minde to secure short-term funding support for his research plans in the area of early childhood development. Dr. Minde held the Laidlaw Award for five years ($150,000 from 1977-82) and was able to retain basic research staff. Dr. Victor Marshall of the Department of Behavioural Science, University of Toronto, was the second recipient of the Laidlaw



Award ($90,000 from 1984-86) for his work in gerontology.10 At the same time, the Laidlaw Scholar program was established to support researchers, from Canada or abroad, whose work was expected to "enhance the development of family studies and services from an interdisciplinary perspective in Canada." The Laidlaw Scholar awards were to be made through established institutions. Recipients would pursue advanced scholarly work of value to the Foundation's program initiatives, conduct colloquia, and guest lecture at symposia organized by sponsoring organizations over 3-18 months. It was the Foundation's intention to publish the Scholar's research and lectures at the end of the Scholar's award period. In 1980, Dr. Hans Mohr, a distinguished sociologist and law professor at Osgoode Hall, was appointed Laidlaw Scholar for a six-month period. Dr. Mohr prepared several studies and reports on the role of families and groups in society, and the way they are affected by formal and informal institutions." His reports led to consultations with the Ontario government concerning legislative changes planned in this area. In 1993, Dr. John O'Neill, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at York University, was appointed Laidlaw Senior Scholar and was commissioned to prepare a conceptual paper on the role of the child in society. His book, The Missing Child in Liberal Theory, was published by University of Toronto Press in 1994 and received international acclaim. Laidlaw Arts Scholar Awards were made to Michael Langham, the first director of the Stratford Festival's Young Company (1982), and to New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg, who spent three months as Scholar-in-Residence at McMaster University (1985).n With additional funding support from the Hamilton Spectator and Southam Publications, Mr. Schonberg was able to travel across Canada and prepare reviews on symphony orchestras in cities across the country. Between 1977 and 1985, the Laidlaw Continuing Education Award provided release time to private practitioners of merit — clinicians, social workers, and psychiatrists working with children



and families — to pursue scholarly activity and training with acclaimed experts. Applications were accepted from individuals who were undertaking clearly defined educational projects. The award could cover travel, research grants for academic sabbaticals, and partial support for individuals enriching their training in unusual yet productive ways. Laidlaw Continuing Education/Special Training Awards were given to Elizabeth Ridgley (Toronto), to enable her to receive training in family therapy in Philadelphia from Dr. Salvador Minuchin, widely recognized as a pre-eminent family therapist; Mary Wambrod (Manitoba), to attend a training program at the Centre of Deafness in San Francisco; Dr. Harvey Golombeck (Toronto), for study and research in child and adolescent psychiatry at Maudsley Hospital, London, England; and Dr. Paul Steinhauer (Toronto), to study with Dr. Gerald Caplan, a child psychiatrist, at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and many others. The board continued to take fresh approaches to philanthropy. Between 1983 and 1985, for example, the Foundation provided the Hospital for Sick Children with funds to enable Dr. Jo-Anne Finnegan to develop her work in clinical genetics and to assist with linking the hospital's departments of genetics and psychology. The Foundation responded in 1983 to a study, "Law and Learning," prepared by Harry Arthurs, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and later President of York University and, at that time, a member of the Foundation's Advisory Committee. Released by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), the report found that many law schools in English Canada lacked faculty members with advanced degrees; it also reported that law schools were under-represented when the Council's grants were being distributed. Moreover, there was limited funding and few incentives that might persuade law students to defer the rewards of immediate practice in favour of taking higher degrees in their field. In 1984, still engaged in training a generation of scholars, the Foundation established the Laidlaw Fellowship Program for



Advanced Studies in Law. Fellowships were awarded by committee comprised of lawyers and law teachers. The committee included George Thomson, then a family court judge and later federal Deputy Minister of Justice; Robert Prichard, who went on to become President of the University of Toronto; corporate lawyer Ed Waitzer; Peter Hogg, now Dean of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University; constitutional expert Peter Russell; University of Toronto law professors Michael Trebilcock and John Hagen; as well as Larry Taman, former law professor at Osgoode Hall and former Ontario Deputy Minister of the Attorney General. In all, twenty doctoral candidates received fellowships (listed in Appendix D). Many have since been appointed to law faculties in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. As with the behavioural sciences, the effects of Laidlaw contributions to the study of law are evident in the many fellows who now teach new generations of scholars and practitioners. The Laidlaw Law Fellowship Program was discontinued in 1991, however, when the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice and SSHRCC, committed to making ongoing fellowships available to law students pursuing advanced research studies. Between 1991 and 1997 the Foundation's Aboriginal and Black Children at Risk Scholarship Program offered support to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. Its objective was to create incentives for training and scholarly research compatible with the Foundation's Children at Risk Program goals. Awards were made to 2,0 students across Canada, including fellowships to three doctoral candidates, Andrew Gotowiec, Cultural Identity in Aboriginal and Non-Native Adolescents (University of Toronto), Fay Martin, Tales of Transition, Leaving Public Care (University of Bristol), and Wanda Thomas-Bernard, Survival of Black Men: A Comparison of British and Nova Scotian Experience (University of Sheffield), who continue to provide academic and professional leadership in Canada.



Education has remained central to the Foundation's work. Since 1963, when it convened its first expert meeting, which explored the state of clinical research and practice on multi-problem families, the Foundation has sponsored a number of symposia, workshops, and retreats to provide forums for discussion of issues important to educational development and planning for the future. These workshops have encouraged interdisciplinary interaction, fostered new research and training programs, and provided crossdisciplinary opportunities for engagement and service planning. In 1968, the Foundation gathered a group of experts for a retreat at Canadian Pacific's Seigneury Club outside Ottawa to consider the need for establishing qualified training and professional standards for residential child-care staff working in the residential child treatment centres being established across Ontario. (Among those present was Deborah Brown, who, with her husband John and Dr. Martin Fisher, would create the famous Warrendale treatment program for disturbed adolescents and its successor, Browndale.) The workshop led directly to the establishment of a professional association of residential child-care workers and the development of standards of qualification for them. In 1974, the Foundation convened a meeting of academic psychiatrists at La Sapiniere, Val David, Quebec, to consider the best -way to deliver psychiatric services to children. Social worker Jessie Watters calls that meeting "a key event in establishing child psychiatry as discrete from the treatment of adults in Canada; it led to the creation of child psychiatry programs in such places as the University of Toronto."13The Workshop proceedings were included in a special issue of the Journal of Canadian Child Psychiatry. Treatment services for hard-to-reach youth were the focus of the Foundation's 1978 multidisciplinary symposium, "The Impossible Child: Problems in Serving Children Whose Behaviour is Severely or Persistently Antisocial." A three-day -workshop retreat was organized for a group of 44 psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, front-line workers, and academics at the



Benmiller Inn in southwestern Ontario. Speakers at the workshop emphasized the need for research to facilitate early intervention and treatment programs. As a result of the workshop, a major research project, funded jointly by Ontario's Ministry of Community & Social Services and the Laidlaw Foundation, was undertaken by Dr. Dan Offord and his colleagues at McMaster University's Department of Psychiatry. The final research report, "The Comparison of Hard-to-Serve Adolescents and Their Siblings" was completed in 1983. The study was broadly circulated and its findings were published in a number of journals. In 1979, the Foundation augmented Ontario Ministry of Health funding to create a new research centre in the Department of Psychiatry at McMaster University where Dr. Dan Offord and his colleagues could carry out clinical and epidemiological studies on behavioural outcomes for children at risk. The Foundation's involvement was seen as a validation of the project by outside scientists. The Foundation's commitment in this field provides another interesting parallel: just as R.A. had laid the cornerstone for a children's hospital, Nick laid the cornerstone on which excellence in research in children's mental health could be built.

While taking an increasingly important role in funding the work of social and behavioural scientists, however, the Foundation was also rethinking its arts-related commitments. The '705 were a period of growing cultural nationalism. The expansion of Ontario's college and university systems, federalgovernment support for broad forms of social engagement and citizen participation through the Voluntary Action Program and community-based student employment programs (Opportunities for Youth (OFY), Local Initiatives Projects (LIP) and Local Emplo ment Assistance Programs (LEAP)), and support from the Canada Council and later the Ontario Arts Council heralded the broadening of indigenous cultural expression. Opportunities were emerging



for new Canadian cultural voices to be presented in alternative venues, in the colleges, and in public spaces. In May 1977, at a joint meeting of the Foundation's directors and advisors, "it was noted that while substantial time and effort is devoted to examination of some grants, others appear to made in a 'whimsical' manner. Personal conviction and interest are valid reasons for lending support. It was suggested, however, that if substantial funds continue to be granted to the Arts, consideration might be given to obtaining consultation from people knowledgeable in this field."14 In 1979, Mary Claire Thomas and Nick Laidlaw invited David Silcox to prepare a report for the Foundation outlining how it might focus its limited funding resources in a strategic manner. Silcox's report set out five options for consideration, and the board elected to make support for the creation of new work in the performing arts its program focus. Consistent with its broader philanthropic mission, the arts program combined attention to new ideas, scholarship, training, and presentation. With this focus, the Foundation's board saw another opportunity to support in a modest yet significant way the development of Canada, this time through the performing arts. The board decided to focus resources on performing arts organizations, generally the alternative theatre, dance and music companies, which in contrast to the more established companies, showcased the creativity and talent of many emerging young Canadian performing artists. The larger regional companies provided too few opportunities for producing new creative work or to nurture audience development in support of indigenous cultural capital. At the same time, the most significant change yet to the Foundation was taking place, not in its arts policy, but in its own structure: in 1981, the board decided to expand from four to seven members. The Family Committee was invited to nominate two of its members to join the board. In addition, Ed Waitzer, a 2,8-year-old corporate lawyer was introduced to the board through John Hodgson. Ed had worked with John in establishing the Agora



Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. He had written and spoken publicly on the subject of philanthropy and corporate responsibility. And finally, early in 1982, the Foundation's first and only professional staff member for 21 years, Mary Claire Thomas, announced her intention to retire.


"A Sweatshirt. . .

Not a Suit"

GIVING MONEY AWAY, however, was becoming a problem for the Laidlaw Foundation, "which was challenging a ruling on Foundation grants made in response to Nick Laidlaw's interest in amateur sports groups. Ontario's Public Trustee (now the Public Guardian) challenged those contributions on the basis of earlier court decisions that had rejected sports and athletic activities as "charitable." The challenge also raised the possibility that the Foundation's Directors would be found personally responsible for payments totalling some $262,000 made to athletic groups.'An application to the courts led to a decision in the Foundation's favour; it was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.1 That outcome, which, in lawyer John Hodgson's words, "has been a thorn in the flesh of the Public Trustee ever since," was still uncertain in the summer of 1982, when die Foundation hired an unknown young man to succeed its original, seasoned professional secretary, Mary Claire Thomas, who had supervised the



Foundation's operations almost from the beginning. On July i i98z, Nathan Gilbert, a person as unlike Marie Claire Thomas or the Laidlaws as it would be possible to imagine, became executive secretary (and, later, was given the more senior title of "Executive Director"). In Walter Stewart's book, The Chanty Game, in a witty and caustic chapter on foundations, the author's kindest words are saved for the Laidlaw Foundation and, in particular, for Nathan Gilbert, whom he describes as "a shrewd, cheerful, outgoing man . . . who radiates charm, energy, and purpose. Interviewing him is like interviewing a 5oo-watt light bulb: share the warmth." "I have come to his office . . . expecting to encounter a Suit," Stewart also wrote. "Gilbert is not a Suit. A Sweatshirt, maybe, but not a Suit.3 Perhaps that's because Gilbert did not come from a Suit background and does not have a Suit's outlook: until he arrived in Toronto in 1974 to attend the University of Toronto's School of Social Work, he seemed headed to become a leader in Montreal's Jewish community, where he had developed and coordinated the Jewish Free University, which taught more than a thousand students annually throughout its three-year existence. Gilbert initially worked as part-time executive assistant to a Toronto alderman and, through her, got to know people in municipal politics and social services. At the end of his first year at the University of Toronto's School of Social Work, he applied for a job at W.C.'s beloved Central Neighbourhood House; instead of working there, however, he followed the advice of its director and went back to school to finish his degree. Gilbert was a community planner for the City of Toronto Planning Department from 1976 to 1980, at the tail end of a remarkable period in Toronto's civic history. Toronto ina the '7°s was cauldron of creative citizen involvement: the Spadina Expressway had been halted; Eaton's had backed off from its egregious plan to tear down E.J. Lennox's late-Victorian city hall and replace it with a store; and Union Station had been rescued from the wrecker's ball.



Through it all, Torontonians had revelled in a heady sense of connection to the political process. Participation •was the norm, while politicians were expected to act as leaders in expressing the community's values and transforming its priorities into reality. "The bottom line" had not yet become either a mantra or the sine qua non of public policy: it was a phrase used mostly by accountants. Even in the late '708, it seemed perfectly reasonable for the city to fund workplace classes in English as a second language and to help residents defend their communities against the kind of mindless redevelopment that had gutted downtown USA. Gilbert's mandate covered both those issues. However, by the time he arrived, the focus was already shifting from preserving neighbourhoods to planning for the city's central area. Gilbert became, in his own word, an "anachronism," and was seconded to the mayor's office to work on publicly and privately sponsored resettlement of Vietnamese refugees; in that capacity, he was also appointed as the City of Toronto's delegate to the tri-level settlement programs being funded by the federal government. For two years after leaving City Hall, Gilbert was Executive Director of the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association, an umbrella group of social service commissioners/administrators from Ontario municipalities. He sat on the board of the Jewish Family and Child Service (JF&CS), the leading social agency in Toronto's Jewish community and, a foster parent himself, was president of the JF&CS Foster Parents' Association; as well, he was co-chair of the Metro Agencies Work Group, an association of Metro's social service agencies. Although his experience might have made Gilbert seem too senior to be Mary Claire Thomas's successor, he applied for the job. "She had been there almost ^^ years," he says, "which meant it would come up only four times in a century: this was my only shot. I knew little about the Foundation and, in fact, assumed that it was a patrician-dominated, pretty conservative outfit." It was worth the effort of applying, he adds, "because I wanted the practice: I had taken the Ontario Municipal Social Services



Association as far as I could and this wasn't a bad time to look for a new job." Nonetheless, he was determined to be candid about himself. "I was going to play it as I was: a left-of-centre Jewish male, which I assumed meant I wasn't going to be taken seriously." That hardly seemed to matter to the search committee: Bruce Quarrington, John Hodgson, long-time board member Frank Hayes, and, of course, Nick Laidlaw. They interviewed a stream of candidates and initially chose a woman who seemed a logical successor to Mary Claire, but she decided to work for the provincial government instead. Nick, however shy and reclusive in his own right, was able to recognize talent in others — psychiatrist and long-time board member Clive Chamberlain thought he had a "rare" instinct for doing so — and he turned to the man who has been the Foundation's executive director ever since.4 Initially, Nick was concerned that Gilbert might have ambitions of becoming a provincial deputy minister and would find the Foundation "too boring." "We want someone who will stay," he said. But the Search Committee was impressed with Gilbert, especially that he was a foster parent, and Nick eventually offered him the job, beginning a professional partnership — and a close, caring friendship — that continued until Nick's death eight years later. Clive Chamberlain described the decision to bring Nathan into the Foundation as "a stroke of genius on Nick's part. Nathan and Nick worked beautifully together: they fed each other. Nick was strong on intuition but had difficulty in translating that into coherent, simple prose. Nathan has a very focused mind and he took Nick's intuition and grasped its complexity and fed it back: 'is this what you mean?'" Despite various proactive initiatives, including the convening of seminal workshops and symposia, the Foundation's overall thrust, even in the early 19803, still came from the applications it received, rather than from its own strategy or long-term goals. As long as that continued, the Foundation would not be a significant force for change. It would take some time, however, for members of the Foundation to decide on a clearer process for making choices —



one better understood by potential grantees and more consistent with its own policies and goals. The fact that the Foundation lacked the vast financial resources required to support the broadest, most sophisticated research projects did not deter it from being strategic and focused with its funds. A retreat was organized for early April 1987 at the Eaton Estate in King City. In attendance were past directors (John Hodgson and Bruce Quarrington), current directors (Anne W. Dupre, Clive Chamberlain, and the recently appointed Jalynn Bennett (investment finance) and Michael Trebilcock (law professor)), past advisors (Dr. Quentin Rae Grant, Dr. Hans Mohr), current advisors (George Thomson, Dr. Ralph Garber, Prof. Marvyn Novick, Dr. Dan Offord, Gerry Eldred) and four members of the Laidlaw family (Nick Laidlaw, Jamie Laidlaw, Jeffery Laidlaw, and Jeffery Smith). The agenda for the retreat was set by a steering committee consisting of Nick Laidlaw, George Thomson, Anne W. Dupre, and Nathan Gilbert. George Thomson, who co-chaired the meeting with Nick, recalls that Nick wanted firm rules regarding the family's continuing role: tired himself and aware of the heavy burden involved in overseeing the Foundation, he recognized that it was time to make plans beyond his lifetime, to ensure continuity while maintaining the Foundation's independence of the family itself. Nick was concerned that, in the longer term, as time eroded connections with earlier family members, the Foundation might move away from the issues and organizations W.C., R.A., he, Rod, and Kay had supported. In fact, the next generation already had many new opinions about the best use of Foundation resources, and a continuing interest in either child development or the arts was unlikely. The retreat explored new volunteer leadership arrangements: Nick would become Board Chair and would cede the active board leadership to another director; Advisory Committee chairs would be appointed from within the committee rather than Nick being the chair of each Advisory Committee; new strategic foci were identified for each program area; and participants, particularly the Family



members, were encouraged to propose new program themes. The decision was not without controversy: even Lyn Apgar, the only member of her generation of Laidlaws to serve as president of the Foundation (1993-96), was critical of changes Nick was proposing. In her view, he "wanted to retain control; he wasn't prepared to acknowledge that we were all well past 30 and it was time for him to move on."'Bruce Quarrington, on the other hand, saw the changes in a different light; he believed that "the board was actively thinking about that next generation of Laidlaws and Smiths: we believed it was important that they be introduced to something with specific direction." The prospect of change to the Foundation was put in context by Quarrington's opening address to the April retreat, in which he explained it as the next step in an evolutionary process that had characterized the organization from its earliest days. Although he describes himself as "a lousy historian," Quarrington offered an incisive overview of governmental and private foundations, divided into a series of developmental stages (an area in which he was an expert). He described the first stage as that time when a foundation is controlled by a small select group that, while "intellectually recognizing the objectives of the Foundation as made explicitly in a charter . . . in fact, perceives the goals of the organization to coincide with their personal goals or objectives." He went on to note that some groups remain at that stage until the end of thek "usually short life." The second stage, he explained, occurs when the foundation creates "an institutional identity . . . a structure . . . that will assure that the explicit purposes of the foundation receive greater expression than the personal desires of the foundation members, a move that smaller private foundations seldom make."6 Once problems of identity have been resolved, he said, a foundation has to learn to deal more effectively with the community it is trying to serve. To do so, it must be known publicly "to have a clear interest in the realm of concern in which the potential applicants are working." And, he added, "the Foundation must be



respected by that community of applicants for the fairness and sophistication of its processing of grant applications." While "only a few private foundations, and these usually the largest, attain this [third] developmental stage," Quarrington said, the Laidlaw Foundation had reached it some time earlier. Quarrington then defined the fourth stage as the process of becoming a "public foundation," a designation the Laidlaw had long sought for itself, not in the "narrow technical meaning that it has — that is, to designate those private foundations qualified for special treatment on foreign investments — but to connote that the Laidlaw Foundation would publicly declare its areas of interest and objectives, that it would employ expert and fair appraisal of grant submissions, that it would be accessible to applicants at all stages of the processing of applications, and that it would produce periodically a public accounting of its activities." While the federal Customs and Revenue Agency refuses to accept Quarrington's definition of a "public foundation" because the funds come from a single, private source, the Laidlaw Foundation nevertheless has been run according to these principles since 1963. After outlining the many Laidlaw-sponsored projects that met the public foundation definition, Quarrington spoke of the need for further development to prepare them for the future. The board, he said, was meeting "to do some stock-taking of where we are as a foundation, but also to consider what we can do to accommodate to some real pressures for change to anticipate the future." He pointed out that the board was "struggling with Stage rv problems and, while they may be difficult," it was necessary to "remember how far we have come." Quarrington closed with a tribute to Rod, to Mary Claire Thomas, and to Nick, praising the efforts that had brought the Foundation to successfully complete the third stage. The speech was emotionally and strategically brilliant: by using history to demonstrate that the future was not a wilderness into which the board would stumble but the next step in a process that formed part of Foundation's culture, he was making change, including reconsideration of the Foundation's basic mission statement



and its definition of itself, both inevitable and reassuring. The King City retreat ended with a commitment to: • explore and develop a conceptual framework for the design of a multi-year children-at-risk project; « explore the development of a more focused program in environmental issues; and • confirm the Foundation's ongoing commitment to the continuation of the performing arts program. By the end of their time in King City, the group agreed to strike an Advisory Committee subcommittee, which would identify the specific at-risk populations on which the Foundation should concentrate. The four subcommittee members were Nick Laidlaw, Dan Offord, Marvyn Novick, and Ralph Garber. Offord was the Director of Child Psychiatry at Chedoke-McMaster Hospital, an epidemiologist and the most senior clinical researcher in the field, and principal investigator of die Ontario Child Health Study (which the Foundation had helped fund); Novick, formerly a senior policy analyst at the Toronto Social Planning Council, was currently a professor at the School of Social Work at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now Ryerson Polytechnic University); Garber was Dean of the University of Toronto's School of Social Work. Jamie Laidlaw was asked to prepare a report for the board on possible directions for a focused environment program. Two proposals were commissioned, one on the areas of concern in the Great Lakes watershed and the second on nature preservation through land stewardship. Two discussion papers were eventually presented to the board and in 1988 the board dedicated $200,000 a year to a new environment progra iative focusing on Greaton greatin Lakes water quality. In July 1987, the board crafted a new mission statement setting out the Foundation's view of its meaning and mandate. For the first time, it included support for environmental causes, an especially appropriate approach in view of the source of the family fortune.


"What the best and wisest parent wants"1


the needs of children are the Foundation's focus, tying today's institution to its creators and to the family's past. From W.C.'s interest in Central Neighbourhood House and RA.'s support of the Hospital for Sick Children and the National Ballet School, to its most recent grants, the Foundation, like the individual family members, funds projects that help kids. Among R.A.'s children, Kay worked tirelessly for Central Neighbourhood House (as her older son did later) and the Women's Auxiliary of the Hospital for Sick Children, while Rod and Nick both made a steady stream of personal and corporate contributions to schools, service organizations, and various child-centred groups. As the Foundation evolved, however, so too did its approach to assisting children. Beginning in 1989, the Foundation started to make decisions that would transform it from passive contributor to sophisticated force for change in the way Canadians regard and respond to children. This transformation is a continuing process,




one that will carry the Foundation into newer, more socially important territory, offering even greater benefits to all Canadians. The shift can be traced to many roots, including the fact that by 1981 the number of board members had been increased from four to seven, with no more than three to be drawn from the family. At the same time, the emphasis for membership moved from old family friends to a younger generation, neither colleagues nor contemporaries of the founders and their children. These changes sharpened the sense that it was time to reconsider the Foundation's strategic focus and its structure. This, too, was a slow, carefully considered process that took several years. It was influenced by Clive Chamberlain's observation in 1986 that it was possible to escape the trap of entropy — the loss of energy that is an inevitable part of the ageing process for organizations as well as for humans — by concentrating on a particular issue. The idea resonated with the board. As it happened, a project very soon suggested itself: the then-Liberal Government of Ontario had undertaken a review of its social assistance programs, organized under the chairmanship of George Thomson, a legal scholar and family court judge, and former associate deputy minister at the Ministry of Community and Social Services (COMSOC). The Social Assistance Review Committee (SARC) had a daunting mandate and undertook unusually broad consultations; its voluminous report (623 pages) was titled Transitions. At first, Transitions seemed destined to meet the traditional fate of such efforts: gathering dust on bureaucratic shelves. However, Marvyn Novick invited a group of colleagues to a breakfast meeting at his apartment to discuss ways of keeping the SARC report at the top of the government's agenda. Among those present was Bryan Hayday, head of the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse (OPC), a then provincially funded organization designed to provide information on programs and community interventions that could prevent later social and health problems for children and families. The OPC agreed with the report's basic premise: that people ar



entitled to live with dignity at a level described as "frugal comfort," rather than in mere subsistence or chronic want. Transitions was a natural focus for Laidlaw because of its finding that 41 per cent of the beneficiaries of provincial welfare in Ontario, Canada's most prosperous province, were minor-aged children. By the end of the meeting at the Novicks', Bryan Hayday had agreed to chair a further discussion on a public awareness campaign that the Laidlaw might fund. Nathan Gilbert was, among other things, an experienced activist who knew that some speeches and a few newspaper articles describing a progressive report on social policy would not save it from the backroom oblivion to which such works are usually consigned. Once a committee or commission finishes operating, it is supposed to quietly fade away and leave the government to act — or, more frequently, not to act — as it sees fit. Thomson also understood that scenario and, though he had neither the funding nor the expertise to create a communications plan, he was trying to maintain existing momentum in favour of Transitions by speaking whenever and wherever he was asked. The concern was that he was getting the chance to address only the already converted. Gilbert and Hayday agreed to develop a strategy, built around opinion leaders — in faith, business and professional groups and organizations, among others — who would attract media attention to SARC'S efforts. Nathan Gilbert knew that members of his board, who were well connected across the province, would be an asset in such a campaign. This centralized approach would have the added virtue of minimizing internecine battles among organizations, each of which would insist that its perspective was the most important and, therefore, worthy of the most attention and funding. The Foundation organized some members into a small group, which could operate more quickly than the entire board. They were assigned the task of setting terms of reference and overseeing use




of the quarter of a million dollars the Foundation was prepared to invest; at the same time, Nathan Gilbert went looking for project cofunders, another first for the Foundation. Hayday moved to create the public awareness committee, called SARC-PAC, that had been agreed on (and which included editor and activist Doris Anderson; church outreach worker Jennifer Harris; Peter Clutterbuck of the Social Planning Council; Richard Yampolsky, and author Sheila Kieran) to do the necessary planning and writing. The group quickly decided that there was little point in talking to "the list of usual suspects" — the dozen or so names traditionally attached to good works in Toronto. Instead, it turned to the kinds of businesspeople routinely overlooked when help for the disadvantaged is being sought; the list included such identifiable social conservatives and business types as Conrad Black and Toronto-Dominion Bank President Robert Korthals. The Foundation turned, too, to its board's contacts among the Sustaining (senior) Members of the Junior League, a charitable organization run by young, upper-class women, who knew precisely the kinds of powerful business leaders whose support might move governments. The climax of the campaign was an open letter, published as an ad in newspapers around the province and addressed to Peterson: "Can we afford to invest $400 million?" it asked, and then crisply answered: "We can't afford not to." Signed and paid for by business people as well as by religious and social organizations, the letter focused the issue in precisely the way the awareness committee had intended. The idea was a success: the presence of fiscal conservatives quickly drew media attention and, before long, David Peterson's government was taking steps to implement some of the Transitions recommendations. According to an outside evaluation conducted in 1992 by Dr. Carolyn Tuohy, Professor in Political Science and Vice-Provost of the University of Toronto, "the contribution of the Laidlaw Foundation was critical to the effort to build on [the messages of 'investing in people' conveyed by the Transitions report]. . . . Its financial



contribution made possible the organizational capacity to provide timely and consistent information to a wide range of groups and individuals involved in the public awareness campaign; and the institutional and personal credibility of the Foundation and its board members and staff heightened the profile of the campaign in the business, professional and governmental communities."1 In 1990, when Peterson's government was defeated in what voters considered a premature election, the new NDP government continued implementing the report's recommendations. Sadly, the entire initiative was cancelled when Mike Harris became Ontario Premier in 1995. But SARC-PAC remains an important marker in the history of the Laidlaw Foundation: by offering a limited-time issue on which it could focus, the initiative emerged as a rehearsal for a new kind of strategic effort. In the long term, of course, it may simply be remembered as the last attempt in Canada's largest province to deal realistically, but sympathetically, with those on public assistance. Continued support for child-related issues was discussed by the Foundation, which considered the most important contribution of the Social Assistance Review Committee to have been its findings about children. Moreover, the focus on children led to other important matters, in particular the recognition of the feminization of poverty. Although the Laidlaw Foundation had always emphasized the needs of children, these had been addressed, in the main, from the perspective of their mental health rather than their life situations. Over the course of the 1987 Eaton Hall retreat, participants had tried to define the term "child at risk" and, within a half-hour, had identified 40 or 50 populations as being potentially at risk. As Clive Chamberlain pointed out, there is a recognizable shape to efforts to help children: in the late 1901 century, there were the "child savers," those who, like J. J. Kelso, were creating organizations to deal with children who were social misfits. Their work resulted in such groups as the YMCA, Scouts, and the children's aid societies that were established at the time.



Before the First World War, these efforts led to the "child guidance movement": segregating child from adult offenders, defining and helping "juveniles," and, after the war, focusing on "the anxious, unhappy child . . . rather than the intractable, disadvantaged child population." The end of the Second World War brought a broad variety of child-centred programs; some have endured and many (family allowances, day care) wax and wane according to the philosophical and financial temperaments of successive governments. But, Chamberlain said, "in the late '6os and '705, we seemed to have run out of new ideas: there was a sense of futility,"3 Social assistance has always been a highly politicized issue, with "right" and "left" labels tossed around casually, but both are fundamentally based on the certainty of an ever-growing need to fund interventions for children. Disagreement centres more on why money is needed and what form intervention should take; for example, some governments champion more public spending for school-based psychologists and social workers, and others emphasize tougher sentencing and boot camps. The problem has always been that the care of children is an emotional issue, subject to often-unacknowledged beliefs and untested assumptions. This means that the role of intervening agencies is never clearcut or even consistent; sometimes any sign of family trouble leads to immediate transfer of the child to other living arrangements. Then, for a while, cries of "baby-snatching" swing the emphasis back to less intrusive practices — the current, but fast-fading, strategy. Neither philosophy seems to be very longlived or entirely satisfactory — it appears inevitable that either will fail some children.

A subcommittee of the child and family advisory committee, which had been appointed at the retreat, began to explore, with Nathan Gilbert, the feasibility of a child-centred program the Foundation might support. The result was the Children at Risk Program (CAR).



Conceptually, it was created within a different frame-work, one based on improving life chances for populations of children rather than on after-the-fact struggles to mend broken lives. This is a much more subtle approach, harder to articulate, with outcomes that are more difficult to quantify. Rather than being the story of how one brilliant therapist rescued one recalcitrant child from a life of crime and mental illness, it is about the community coming together to create the conditions that protect and nurture families and children and, by doing so, to improve their life chances. In May 1988, the committee presented its preliminary report, "Towards the Formulation of a New Program Agenda for the Laidlaw Foundation in the 19905." While the idea did not have unanimous approval (Nick worried that the project was "one big fishing expedition,") Novick's proposal had strong support from, among others, Nathan Gilbert and George Thomson; both Nick and his nephew Jeffery Laidlaw abstained during the vote.4 In October 1990, the board received a program prospectus and approved CAR in principle, subject to the resolution of such housekeeping issues as appointing advisors and coordinators, defining the decisions the board would have to approve, and funding priorities. For the next seven years, the lion's share of Laidlaw Foundation energies and resources were dedicated to CAR. From the outset, the program recognized that there are factors, most often but not exclusively, found in concert -with poverty, that stifle opportunities for children and families. Therefore, CAR was to be built around three issues, suggested by the following questions: • Is it possible to identify the factors that tend to strengthen the ability of children to fully use whatever opportunities life offers them? • Can community resources work cooperatively and strategically to apply what is learned? • Can society be persuaded to respond to awareness programs and research findings? If, for example, studies show that children do better if they are fed, take part in recreation programs,



and live with well-rested adults, will politicians, and the public, support projects that provide food, recreation, or respite? The program included a number of interesting conceptual features: • it treated social and economic factors equally as indicators of well-being, rather than the prevalent emphasis on psycho-social functioning; • it looked at both risk and protective factors in order to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that improve the likelihood that children will function well in society; • it treated marginalization, which leads to unequal opportunities and life chances, as a concern central to the program; and « it focused on the child developing throughout his or her life cycle: from the environment in which the child is born through to adulthood, when he or she may become a parent. In time, the various elements became part of the overall "life chances" framework for the CAR program. With that in plac budgets were drawn up, objectives described, research projects proposed, and a timetable established. The program would consider better delivery of service, rather than assuming from the outset that more money was the only answer. But even if reallocating resources was identified as the main priority, could existing systems adapt in the necessary ways? For example, if pulling down the walls between education and nutrition, between recreation or the arts and social work, were to result in better opportunities for children, would teachers, nutritionists, physical education specialists, or social workers alter the ways they provide service? The answer was a multidisciplinary approach. The person whose whole professional life had been devoted to improving society through the application of the tenets of social work (or, equally, of child psychiatry, education, psychology, public



housing, nutrition, recreation, etc.) might believe that resources were best spent in that field and would be wasted if diverted elsewhere. But bringing together professionals from different fields would encourage them to look beyond their own disciplines and would also test internally what the program was trying to achieve externally in the world of professional practice. Another approach was to ask whether solid research would translate into public policy; that is always a difficult question, with answers that were unclear then and hardly reassuring now. For example, research suggests that anti-social adolescents need more, not less, experience in dealing openly with their feelings: too often, these young people present a controlled, falsely pleasant face to the world — until they are overwhelmed with rage and strike out. But, in the social sciences, as in any other field, there are fads and, when the focus is on the child who has committed an offence, faddishness is compounded by political exploitation. Right now, for instance, retribution on behalf of victims has been deemed more important than actually resolving the problems of juvenile offenders. Indeed, there has been a noticeable shift in public opinion toward "getting tougher" with young offenders and considerable public support for such "one-size-fits-all" answers as boot camps. That was precisely the perspective Nick Laidlaw, Bruce Quarrington, and the others "were convinced did not work; they saw child development as involving complex, multidisciplinary issues. There was a breadth to their approach, a recognition that there is no single theory around which all healthy child development can be built, that defied the kinds of simple answers now in vogue. It would certainly be easier if delinquency were the result of adolescent choice, taken from a menu of options, to live on the streets, get in trouble with the law, to blight, and sometimes to lose the future. In reality, delinquency is most often the result of a variety of factors: genetic, social, emotional, and experiential. Therefore, responses to it must be equally broad, designed to resolve the



problems of the specific child, not of all children. For example, the tough, rule-dominated world of the boot camp may be ideal for the kid who finds structure a welcome relief from chaos or uncertainty. Of course, it could be a disaster for the child who needs personal encouragement, a sense of worth, and the experience of warmth and care. Nor is it always just a question of styles of service. Gilbert points out that if research showed that the metabolism of most adolescents makes them readier to learn at n AM than at 9 AM, other problems would still make it difficult for class schedules to accommodate that. What would be the ramifications for younger children in the family? For the lives of teachers and their families? Against the background of issues and concerns such as these, the specific mission of the Children at Risk Program, according to a 1991 statement, was to promote the physical, social, emotional, and material wellbeing of children and families within Canada. The Foundation is committed to making a multi-year contribution to the development of national perspectives and strategies to improve the life quality and opportunities of children and youth. In pursuing this mission, the Foundation has a special concern for children growing up in circumstances which can lead to increased risk for inferior life quality and reduced life chances.5 The CAR program began with a look at major items in the vas literature collected in different jurisdictions. It produced three reviews6 based on a common methodology, set of definitions, and application of key terms. Read together, these provide an integrated, comprehensive overview of the major areas of the 'state of the child.' The idea behind the "work was to catalogue what is known about the elements that improve children's life chances and translate that knowledge into a cohesive, comprehensive package that might help raise public awareness and influence policy-makers. The program also included an inventory of relevant information



sources and systems that address the condition of children in Ontario. In the course of gathering that data, federal and provincial policy-makers were surveyed to find out more about their policy concerns and information needs.7 As part of the search for co-operative community effort, funds were earmarked for comprehensive models of human service-systems reform in four Ontario locations. CAR helped interested communities in Cambridge, Peterborough, and in two Toronto neighbourhoods 0ane-Woolner and northeast North York) make detailed proposals for best practices-based community systems prototypes. "Best practices" include promotion, prevention, and early intervention, always emphasizing the inherent strengths of children, families, and communities. Best practices also involve consumer and community participation, respect for cultural traditions and racial diversity, the use of existing resources, and policies and programs that deal with economic and social stresses. The goal of the project: to produce community-based strategies that make better use of public- and private-sector resources to enhance the quality of life and the life prospects of children, youth, and families. In another project, an independent evaluation was undertaken of multi-site, community-based family preservation projects. Several agencies in the children's mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice sectors had begun to pilot some variation of a new intervention program generally referred to as the "Family Builder" service program. A characteristic of this program is the provision of intensive professional and community service support provided to families in circumstances where out-of-home placement of the child is imminent. A child can come into care through any number of doors: as a child in need of protection, through a Children's Aid Society (the likely route for a child from an economically disadvantaged household); a child with an emotional problem, through a children's mental health centre (more likely for a child from a socially and economically advantaged family); or through the juvenile justice system after a confrontation with the law.



The purpose of the evaluation was to study the efficacy of the model through the three different service streams, each of which receives a different level of public funding and none of which is involved in information sharing; the aim was also to find common ground. Funding for the multi-site evaluation was provided by the Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, and some of the participating agencies. A study prepared by Dr. Gary Cameron of the Centre for Social Welfare Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University captured the outcomes. A national task force was established to study ways of supporting youth leaving residential care. The Foundation formed a partnership with the National Youth-in-Care Network, the Child Welfare League of Canada, the Canadian Foster Family Association, several provincial directors of child welfare, leading Canadian academics in the field, and the National Welfare Grants Program of Health and Welfare Canada. The task force commissioned research on the kinds of indicators that are used by each provincial jurisdiction to assess a positive transition from foster or group care to independent living. Children move out of the child welfare systems at different ages and with varying levels of support from province to province; the intention was to develop national standards and quality assurance guidelines for youth in care. Information sharing and tracking children as they shift across service streams remains a persistent problem. In her 1998 report, Voices from Within, Ontario's Child Advocate, Judy Finlay, pointed to the need for a tracking system to follow children and youth in care.

One of CAR'S first activities was to help fund Campaign 2000. Each November since 1992, the campaign has evaluated the degree to which governments in this country have lived up to a promise made in 1989 and unanimously endorsed by all parties in Parliament, to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. The new millennium may have seemed comfortably distant at the time; now that it has arrived, however, it is clear that the



promise has not been met. From time to time, governments make attempts to alleviate the plight of poor children, most recently by redefining "poverty" to reclassify hundreds of thousands of Canadians as not impoverished after all, but that seems to be an inadequate method of filling small empty stomachs. According to the most recent report, the number of poor children in Toronto, Canada's largest city, is 66 per cent higher now than it was in 1991.8 In 1997, more than 1.39 million impoverished children lived amidst Canadian plenty, up from fewer than 940,000 in 1989.'"While few Canadian children live in the abject poverty witnessed in the developing world, the relative poverty of many of Canada's poor children still robs them of their opportunity to achieve their full potential. Poor children tend to change schools more frequently, experience more grade failures, have lower math scores, and display delayed vocabulary development; they are also less likely to participate in sports and recreation activities. As one part of its CAR commitment, the Foundation has provide planning support and funded development of programs in policy research, policy development, public education, and advocacy. A grant was awarded to Laurentian University in Sudbury in 1991 to prepare and disseminate reports on the local state of child poverty. Once completed, these helped people deal with public education issues in the region. There was also a grant in i99z to Henson College at Dalhousie University, Halifax, to explore the receptivity among Afro- and Euro-Canadian anti-poverty groups to the idea of establishing a common sustaining centre for their work. Consultations showed that, unfortunately, there was not enough trust among groups to meld their resources. CAR came to the aid of the Canadian Council on Social Development (successor to the Canadian Welfare Council) in the early '908, when the influence of the organization was beginning to wane. CAR saw the CCSD as a key resource in engaging members of the public in children's issues and in helping them understand what was at stake in the risks children face. Furthermore, the Council promoted discussion on such key issues as family security/



insecurity, the labour market, and child poverty, as well as other forms of social reporting on children and youth. Worried that a powerful voice for social justice might be silenced, CAR contributed seed money to establish the Centre for International Statistics on the Economic and Social Welfare of Families and Children, in Ottawa. As part of the CCSD renewal, a Directors' Group of leading Canadian social policy experts was recruited to develop the National Forum on Family Security. In 1993, David Ross received a Foundation grant to act as chair and managing editor of the National Forurn, which produced three volumes of articles and research that illuminate the issues of family insecurity. The Forum's three defining themes were • the spread of family insecurity; • public policy paralysis; and • the need to find a new balance of personal and collective responsibility in public policies to support family life. A keynote statement on the three themes received strong national coverage and is still cited by the media. In 1993, to give the issue a higher profile among Canadians, the program sponsored a symposium that looked at the issue of family security to encourage new thinking on child poverty, moving from simply lamenting the plight of children to understanding how much their well-being depends on financial and economic issues. It soon became clear, however, that to reshape public policy attitudes, child poverty would have to be understood in the more fundamental context of eroding economic security for families and children. The forum's papers on the spread of insecurity were published in three volumes, released over two and a half years. The first volume offered a critique and analysis of what was wrong, the second was prescriptive, and the third volume suggested a series of possible actions, including a recommendation to define the roles and responsibilities of society's four major pillars: family,



community (voluntary and private associations), workplace (labour and business), and government. Concrete suggestions included a system of family leave, as well as a rethinking of workplace roles and responsibilities, recognizing that a "community" isn't just where you live, it is also where you work.10 Some topics — particularly those in papers by Judith Maxwell, Drs. Dan Keating and Fraser Mustard, and Michael Valpy in Volume One — received extensive media coverage, giving the issue a thorough and long-overdue airing. In 1996, the CCSD released the Progress of Canada's Children, the first in an annual series of national reports, modelled on the UN'S State of the World's Children. It combined data from the National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth (NLFCY) with other longitudinal information from Statistics Canada. The purpose was to make policy-makers and the general media, rather than just the professional press, aware of how children fared in Canada. The report offered Canadians a "social index," a scorecard on whether the conditions of children and youth in this country were improving as measured by a consistent set of indicators. The CCSD not only revived, it flourished, and has once more become a reliable source of information on, and a useful advocate for, the fight against poverty in Canada. Six months before the zooo deadline, the Prime Minister announced that "the level of poverty is much less in Canada [than] in the United States, even though the statistics say they are much richer than us." His failure to understand the issue was neatly underlined by a Council spokeswoman who gently but pointedly remarked that having "1.5 million children living below the low-income cut-off demonstrates a real problem." The Council also cited UN statistics, according to which Canada has regularly ranked first in the world in terms of quality of life, but in 1997 noted a worrisome disparity in income: Canada's richest 20 per cent have seven times the purchasing power of its poorest 2,0 per cent. Only the U.S., Britain, New Zealand, and France have greater disparities between rich and poor.11



As a further part of its CAR program, the Foundation supported the University of Toronto Press's publication of John O'Neill's book, The Missing Child in Liberal Theory: Towards a Covenant Theory of Family, Community, Welfare and the Civic State. "This," Nathan Gilbert says, "was part of our effort to develop critical consciousness; to try to move from lamentation to connected public finance issues with child well-being." In his preface to the book, Marvyn Novick makes a point about the importance of social justice in Canada by quoting George Grant's Lament for a Nation: No small country can depend for its existence on the loyalty of capitalists. International interests may require the sacrifice of the lesser loyalty of patriotism. Only in the dominant nations is the loyalty of capitalists ensured.12 O'Neill, then Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at York University, went on to argue that "the true crisis of market liberalism lies in its inability to avoid creating the very social conditions that lead to the renewal, rather than the disposal, of the welfare state." He favoured a "covenant" concept of social conduct, one in which the common good was not subservient to the needs of the market, services "whose enjoyment is sensible only when universal" (i.e., health care) are adequately provided, and intergenerational responsibility was recognized.13 In keeping with the Foundation's commitment to openness, the Children at Risk program was designed to be reviewed at the halfway mark and again in 1996-97 when the project was scheduled to end. In 1993, Dr. Paul Lingenfelter, then Director of Research and Evaluation at the McArthur Foundation in Chicago, carried out the midterm review, which was positive about CAR, suggesting a few minor administrative changes. Three years later, the Roeher Institute, a Canadian leader in national and international policy research on human rights and social justice, undertook the final evaluation. It concluded that CAR had



begun to demonstrate the difference that a strategic approach to funding can make in maximizing its investment on its longterm commitment to children and well-being. By laying out a conceptual direction and strategic areas of activity, the Program has sponsored an impressive breadth of activity. It has leveraged substantial organizational, financial, and human resources for initiatives focused on improving the conditions that place children at risk. It suggested that, in the future, the Foundation might strengthen the investment it had already made by pursuing such directions as: • developing a guiding conceptual framework for children and their well-being; • building a stronger process of accountability and governance so that program activities could be better integrated; • integrating programs and encouraging greater accountability; • continuing to support strategic partnerships; • clarifying its mission of investing in children and their well-being; • defining the Foundation's role in supporting policy research activities related to children and their well-being, while remaining neutral on particular policy prescriptions. It concluded that through the course of the CAR Program, the Foundation secured for itself a well-respected place in the field of children and wellbeing. There is, beyond the Foundation, a widespread belief that it has a continuing and active role to play.14 Nathan Gilbert's own evaluation of the project is tougher and more pointed. Offord's unit asked three fundamental and very important questions: what data are being collected and are they reliable? what



kind of interaction, if any, is there between information systems? if society had good information based on sound research data, would it make better decisions about policy and practice? As a result, there is now a detailed compendium of every information system on children and families in Ontario and in Canada, with an assessment of how it is collected, how regularly, how accessibly, and how reliably. As well, it traces the degree of interaction among systems, to minimize the problems of duplication and lack of standardization. Aside from identifying the data systems, CAR interested governments at all levels in the need for such information. The outstanding question is whether it is possible to gather the data: in fact, the most important and unanswered problem may be that data systems are limited by the types of instruments they use, most of which measure pathology. Of course, it's very difficult to collect information on the well-being of children: we have all kinds of tests that have the right properties, that have been tested clinically and enjoy the imprimatur of society — but all are based on the deficit model, the idea of rescuing the child after identifying what went wrong, rather than supporting areas that strengthen children's ability to deal with their life situations. It was disappointing that the research did not result in an. increased ability to measure well-being and that we did not learn whether it is as possible to measure pro-social as it is anti-social behaviour. There was another question: even if we could measure it, would anyone care? There is no evidence that, even with best information in the world, society could muster sufficient commitment to improving kids' life chances. Generations after we learned that fluoridating water can prevent most dental decay, there are communities — Montreal is the largest city in Canada — that still deliver unfluoridated water to their citizens. However genuine society's desire to help children who need protection, the reality is that, having saved them from possible


injury or death, we then abandon them. There is too little evidence of what happens when they leave care because we don't provide them with the comprehensive, life-long supports they may need. [In response, the Foundation is dedicating part of its most recent initiative, the Youth Engagement Program, to projects designed to ease the transition for children moving out of the child care system and into society.] In part, this may be the result of silo-like systems, each of which sees itself as independent and as the key to the future. Can they learn to collaborate? Will policy-makers, the politicians they serve, and the citizens those politicians are trying to placate, remain wedded to unsustainable clinical practices that provide after-the-damage-has-occurred interventions and where specialized programs and services are proposed in response to every identified problem? Or can policy-makers and politicians focus on a more comprehensive approach to enhancing the life chances of children and youth? "When CAR began, there was little independent evaluation t show that the child population is getting any better. In fact, we continue to have more clinical specialization. We can divide kids into more parts and can wind up, not with a more multiproblemed child, but with a more multi-labelled child than ever before. We are never going to train enough clinicians and we still do not undertake enough independent evaluations of the results of the programs now in existence. We have listened to the voices from the youth who have been in care and have learned from them how so many are illprepared to live independently and that there are few services to support them when they leave care. We are likely to hear only about those that offend, but these are a minuscule percentage of the total: in 1997-98 there were 40,000 kids in care in Canada, 16,500 in Ontario alone. It would appear that the vast majority are okay, but we know very little about the quality of their lives.15




In George Thomson's estimation, CAR was "a brave attempt t jump-start social change, especially given the Foundation's relatively small financial size. It was a major accomplishment to have made people more aware of the issue of child poverty at a time when governments are getting out of service delivery, downsizing, and reducing expenditures." He says "there might be no federal child benefit or federal-provincial effort to develop a children's agenda without such programs as CAR, which advocated from a strong research base. The Foundation's work was an essential part of the collective effort to focus governments on the needs of children and families."16 At this time, the Foundation is again redefining its dedication to children, and has launched its Youth Engagement Program (see Chapter Twelve), which is built, in part, on its experience with CAR.

Janak Khendry Dance Company—GAYATRI

Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company-Beatrice Chancy

The National Ballet of Canada-Blue Snake

Puppetmongers-The Ballad of Tamlin

Ballet Creole

Tarragon Theatre-2 Pianos, 4 Hands

Tarragon Theatre-Lion in the Streets

the Natrionla bnal;let of canmad -nataesfds

Theatre Passe Muraille-Metamorphosis of a Shadow

da da kamera-Monster

Yvonne Ng-Blue Jade


Corpus Dance Projects-Dusk Dances

Young People's Theatre-Beo's Bedroom

Opera Atelier-Acteon

Canadian Opera Company—The Golden Ass

Theatre ColumbusThe Attic, The Pearls, and 3 Fine Girls

Toronto Dance Company-Cactus Rosary

Toronto Dance Theatre-Fjeld

Roseneath TheatreHealth Class

Concordia University—The Institute in Management & Community Development Summer Institute

United Generations of Ontario-lntergenerational Programs

Pollution ProbeEnvironmental Education Covers

Livia Daza-Paris—Silent Sky/cielo silenie


"A Time to " dance


of its existence, the Laidlaw Foundation has directed more than a quarter of all its funds to arts-related capital grants, fellowships, projects, and programs. During its first 2,5 years, the Foundation focused its support for the arts on the establishment, growth, and development of major arts organizations in Ontario: the National Ballet of Canada, the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Gallery, and the Royal Ontario Museum. In all, they account for nearly half of all Laidlaw Foundation arts grants before 1980 — but less than ten per cent since. In the last 20 years the Foundation has instead demonstrated a preference for funding the innovative and the experimental, efforts that may not appeal to the vast majority, in its performing arts program. Consistent with its attention to the professional training requirements of academic researchers and practitioners in the



behavioural sciences, the Foundation recognized the need to support the professional training of young Canadians with demonstrated artistic talent. Over the years donations were made to the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Toronto Children's Chorus, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus, and others. Of performing arts groups, the National Ballet and its school in particular have received especially generous contributions, first from R.A. personally and then through the Foundation. Beyond being a supporter once the National Ballet came into being, R.A. had in fact been a member of the original group of wealthy Torontonians who had made it financially possible in the first place for Celia Franca and Betty Oliphant to come to Toronto to found the National Ballet of Canada (known as the National Ballet Guild until 1968). Over a 35-year period (1961-1996), the National Ballet School received almost $i million in gifts, mostly earmarked to the School's scholarship fund. This total includes a donation of $2.00,000 in 1985-1986 for the construction of the R.A. Laidlaw Centre. Over the same period, the National Ballet of Canada itself received $725,250. As well, both R.A. Laidlaw and Nick Laidlaw served on the ballet school's board of directors. Nick continued to attend meetings faithfully, as the School's "Patron," until shortly before his death.1 In addition to his faithful support of the National Ballet, R.A. was a long-time contributor (designated an "institutional builder") at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as an active patron at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg, Ontario. Long before the McMichael, W.C. had been actively involved in the Art Gallery of Toronto; a "Founder member," he had served as chairman of various committees and as Honorary Secretary, as well as making annual gifts of artworks and of money to the organization. At his request, the largest of W.C.'s donations — a quarter-million-dollar endowment fund — remained anonymous until after his death. Only then was



the Gallery able to publicly acknowledge his kindness by dedicating a space to his memory near the Gallery's central court where i8th- and 19th-century European painting is frequently shown.2 Although Nick had never been as interested in the visual arts as he was in jazz, folk music, and amateur sports, both he and his wife were actively involved in the Art Gallery of Toronto (later, Ontario). David Silcox, then curator at Hart House and now Director of the University of Toronto Art Centre, who met and became friends with the couple, as well as a favourite of their four children, remembers Nick: "Like his father and uncle, he wasn't an art collector: the older Laidlaws had certainly bought Tom Thomson's work shortly after he died, for about $50 each, but they didn't care deeply about contemporary art. ... I borrowed a Tony Urquhart painting from Nick and Marnie for the artist's first public one-man show in Toronto, at Hart House when the artist was about 21 years old. Sometime in the early 'yos Nick started to seek my advice about arts granting, probably because I had worked for the Canada Council." The relationship between Nick Laidlaw and David Silcox soon began to involve the Foundation. A prominent Canadian art historian, author of a biography of David Milne, and co-author of the catalogue raisonne of Milne's work, Silcox is considered one of Canada's most experienced arts bureaucrats. He remembers that in 1978, "Nick asked me to look at what the Foundation was doing in the cultural area and to suggest what it could do in the future. In his report to the board, Silcox laid out what he saw as the key issue: the Foundation's desire to make "some worthwhile impact in the area of the arts with a relatively modest but not insignificant amount of money available each year. The difficulty," he said, "is that one cannot open the doors wide to every sort of request and still make an effective contribution to activities, nor can one, in good conscience, raise expectations of assistance without being able to satisfy at least a reasonable number of supplicants." Silcox suggested possible areas in which the Foundation could have the effect it wanted: dance and theatre, publishing, arts-



related research, capital programs, education in the arts, funding of festivals, touring and commissioning works of art. He concluded that "the most important thing, in the long run, is the creation of art by those individuals, whether they be [author] Margaret Laurence or [composer] Harry Somers or [dancer] Anne Ditchburn, who add to our common stock of images, sounds or other forms of expression."3 "I was of the opinion," Silcox recalls, "that they were taking a scattered approach and should become more focused. I suggested areas where they could put their money and have a greater impact. I told Nick that assisting the act of creation was the most important thing the Foundation could do; after that, it was a matter of time, taste, and chance."4 Why focus on the performing arts? Part of the rationale lies in the need to make a significant difference in one area rather than merely applying band-aids across a broad range of possibilities. Funding new, challenging works, the kind that do not easily find sponsors, is in keeping with the Foundation's history of supporting new initiatives (for example, the National Ballet School and the Stratford Festival when these now-established organizations were in their infancy). When approached to help implement his suggestions, Silcox urged that a Performing Arts Advisory Committee be created, to be chaired by Nick Laidlaw, and to include himself, William Littler, dean of Canadian music criticism, and Gerry Eldred, at that time at the National Ballet School and later General Manager of the Stratford Festival and of Harbourfront. At the Performing Arts Advisory Committee meetings, the four would consider grant applications to help theatres, dance groups, music companies creating new work, and organizations recording Canadian musical repertoire. "This is what matters most to artists: that someone make possible a series of new recordings, for example, or workshops to encourage playwrights and choreographers," explains Silcox. In 1980, Mary Claire Thomas notified the National Ballet of



Canada that, in accordance with changed guidelines, the Foundation's contribution to the company's touring program and for other uses would end by 1983. Arts-organization grants were going to focus on new works, and, while the National could apply for grants under these rules, it no longer had the preferred status it previously enjoyed. In 1989 the National Ballet School too was notified that the Foundation's annual grant to the school's bursary fund would be discontinued the following year. The final grant to the school was doubled. In the 20 years since David Silcox made his report, the Laidlaw Foundation has taken on a more demanding role as a pioneer supporter of new works. Despite the fact that its contributions are little known to the general public, it has made a major contribution to the creation of dance, drama, and music in Canada. While it has been several years since Silcox was actively involved in the grant-making process, he still attends annual meetings, which he finds "quite remarkable. People feel a connection with what the Foundation is doing, an awareness of the multiplicity of its gifts. The great strength of the Foundation is that, wisely, it hasn't tried to spread out and do more — it's tried to do better. In the beginning, no other foundations had the same focus as the Laidlaw. The Canada Council funded some projects, for example, workshops for playwrights and the recording of new music, but most foundations tended to be very conservative: they gave to the National Ballet or a symphony orchestra."5 According to Louis Applebaum, one of Canada's pre-eminent composers and teachers, who was a member of the Performing Arts Advisory Committee from 1989 to 1997 and its chair between 1994 and 1997, "by commissioning music, supporting choreographers, funding playwrights, the Foundation has ensured that new works were created in all performing arts sectors — not just in the abstract, but in a sound, practical way that has given members of the public opportunities to relate to those new works. What could be a more significant factor in supporting the creative potential in our society?'"5 The Foundation is able to identify and support talented emerging



artists by choosing knowledgeable, experienced advisors with an understanding of different art forms who have extensive networks of their own. Past arts advisors include Timothy Porteous, a former Director of the Canada Council; Jean Roberts, a former administrator at both the Canada Council and the National Film Board; Marcia McClung, a veteran communications expert in the private sector and formerly with the National Ballet of Canada and the Harbourfront Centre; and Don Himes, musical director of CBC'S Mr. Dressup, piano teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music and former dancer with the Toronto Dance Theatre. The Foundation's current arts advisors include Sandi Ross, a professional actress, writer, and past president of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA); Carol Anderson, a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and former artistic director of Dancemakers; Holly Small, a choreographer, dancer, and teacher (York University); William Lau, a dancer, completing a Ph.D. in music, and a former member of the Jiangsu Peking Opera Company; David Jaeger, the Executive Producer of CBC'S Two New Hours for the past two decades and a musician (organ, piano, and synthesizer); Soheil Parsa, a playwright and artistic director of Modern Times Theatre, a company that creates new theatre work based on the traditions of the Middle East (Persian and Iranian); Robert Wallace, Professor of English and Drama at York University and author and former editor of the Canadian Theatre Review; and, more recently, Lyon Smith, a young professional actor and greatgrandson of R.A. Laidlaw. These advisors have strong roots in their respective communities and are highly regarded by other professional artists. And because they reflect a wide range of artistic and cultural diversity, they are able to readily identify promising talent worthy of support in a variety of specializations. They also understand what goes into the creation of artists and artistic works and how best to encourage their development. According to Jaeger, who joined the Advisory Committee in 1 997> "one tyPe °f activity regularly supported by the Foundation



that I am convinced has value are workshops for young composers. Young composers get the chance to have their works performed by professional musicians and get feedback from conductors and performers. This enables them to write with greater confidence in the future." Furthermore, he adds, "Grants from the Performing Arts Program support contemporary music orchestras like the Esprit Orchestra. Grants in support of new commissions for the Orchestra makes it possible for the music to immediately enter the repertoire of an important Canadian musical company." While many of the Foundation's grants in music are very modest, commissions have been made to composers whose works have been performed by the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and at the Guelph Spring Festival, the Music Gallery, Espace Musique, and other venues. Contributions have also been made to a number of larger projects: for example, the Foundation is supporting The Scarlet Princess, an opera Alexina Louie is writing for the Canadian Opera Company, with David Henry Hwang (author of M. Butterfly) as the librettist. "Obviously," Jaeger says, "support, especially across such a broad range, has an impact on the arts in Canada. If you look at the composers Laidlaw promotes, you see they are not people writing in a mainstream style, but are challenging today's musical language, expanding it and the orchestral palette." The Foundation, however, is expanding not just the musical palette, but the musical context as well. In partnership with Esprit, the Foundation commissioned a large-scale work, Cinebar-Pboenix, from composer R. Murray Schafer; parts of it are designed for performance around a wilderness lake. Presenting music in symmetry with nature reflects Schafer's interest in environmental issues: his opera Princess of the Stars was performed on Wildcat Lake in the midst of the Haliburton Forest before an audience that had been bussed in over logging roads to hear the orchestra around them on the lake's shore at dawn and the singers in canoes. In 1999, the Canadian Opera Company premiered the late



Robertson Davies' The Golden Ass. The Foundation's grant was earmarked for the musical score, by Randolph Peters. Some of the other major Canadian operatic works previously supported in part by the Foundation include Murray Schafer's Patria Cycle, Louis Kiel by Mavor Moore and Harry Somers, Nosferatu by Randolph Peters and Marilyn Gronsdal Powell, and Serinette by Harry Somers and James Reaney. In the 19805 the Foundation provided the Canadian Music Centre with multi-year support exceeding $300,000 for the CMC'S Centredisc Project, a recording series of Canada's major composers. The Foundation funded a Composers in Residence Program at the Canadian Opera Company between 1980-1993 and a similar program some years later at Tapestry Music Theatre, to provide important training opportunities for the discovery and development of composers/librettists for musical theatre. Tapestry Music Theatre commissioned Nic Gotham and Ann-Marie MacDonald to create Nigredo Hotel in 1993. It received both national and international acclaim.

The Foundation offers direct encouragement to Canadian performing arts companies to commission and mount new works. "This was, and remains, a powerful contribution: a great deal of Canadian repertoire now offered by performing arts companies can be traced back to initial seed money and support from the Laidlaw Foundation," Nathan Gilbert notes.7 The period from 1970-75 marked the beginning of alternative theatre in Canada. Bill Glassco, Paul Thompson, Ken Gass, Tom Hendry, George Luscombe, Janet Amos, and many others founded a new generation of Canadian theatrical expression. Located in impermanent spaces, in garages, warehouses, and lofts, new companies were formed from which the distinctive voices of Canadian writers were presented. Several of these theatre companies, like the Tarragon, Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto Workshop Productions (now closed), Factory Theatre (originally Factory Lab), and



Toronto Free Theatre (now folded into the Canadian Stage Company) were and continue to be beneficiaries of the Foundation's arts program since its inception. These companies continue to provide technical support and space to emerging independent artists and emerging smaller companies. Over the years the list has grown to include Young People's Theatre, the Theatre Centre, Magnus Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Necessary Angel Theatre, Theatre Francais de Toronto, Native Performing Arts Theatre, and Nightwood Theatre. Grants to theatres support writing commissions, public workshop presentations, and playwriting units. Funding is provided for creative artistic fees so that artists are able to realize their ideas in theatrical performance. A list of Canadian writers to have benefitted from Laidlaw Foundation grants would take many pages. Suffice it to say that the plays of a whole generation of Canadian playwrights have been presented to Canadian audiences through the support of the Laidlaw Foundation. In recent years the Foundation has added Theatre Direct Canada, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Theatre Columbus, DNA Theatre, Modern Times Theatre, Theatre Gargantua, Cahoots Theatre, da da Kamera, Kensington Carnival Theatre Company, and others to its roster of companies who commission outstanding new work. The Foundation has also supported two Toronto theatre companies in another way. Since 1983 it has held a first mortgage on Theatre Passe Muraille, and in 1999 the Foundation made a $200,000 capital loan to Factory Theatre. This principal amount of the loan is guaranteed by the City of Toronto. Both loans pay reasonable interest to the Foundation and enable the theatre companies to secure both "working capital and theatre space of their own. "The Foundation sees this type of financing as a way of augmenting what it accomplishes on the program side," Gilbert adds. According to Urjo Kareda, Artistic Director of the Tarragon Theatre, "the Foundation has made an enormous difference: many plays would not have been possible, many playwrights would not have developed, without Laidlaw support. For example, it supports



our annual Spring Arts Fair, where we put on works in development. Four years ago, the Fair included a half-hour sketch on piano lessons, put on by Richard Greenblatt and Ted Dykstra, using one beat-up piano. Out of that came a play [Two Pianos, Four Hands] that has been successful in New York, and opened in London, England, in October 1999. We knew the material had potential and we could develop it, in part because Laidlaw had given us enough money to link an audience to it."8 The Foundation is admired not just for its willingness to support projects but also for its methods of operation. According to Kareda, "they have a straightforward process and keep a respectable distance; they're good friends but they don't try to come to live with you — in fact, arm's length is inherent in the way they work. You never feel there's a hidden agenda." Companies, he points out, particularly value this, especially at a time when governments and other donors seek closer control over those they support. Robert Wallace, chair of the Performing Arts Advisory Committee (1997-2000) recalls being reluctant to join the Foundation when first invited. "In my book, Producing Marginality: Theatre and Criticism in Canada, I had addressed the 'troubled' peer jury review system and the politics of 'grantsmanship.' But Nathan Gilbert explained that the Foundation had an advisory committee, not a jury, and usefully educated me about the place of private-sector philanthropy in Canada." While recognizing the need for an arm's-length jury system for publicly funded organizations, Wallace finds that the advisory committee approach offers enormous benefits to both artist and decision-maker: "You're not meeting only once as a jury but, as a committee, getting to understand each other's areas of knowledge, interests, and prejudices. At the same time, you're getting to form long-term connections with 'clients,' which gives you a sense of investing in artists, in their -works, and in audiences over a period of time. I was delighted with the promise of those possibilities, of working together with people to make decisions about grants and to help to build a community of artists."



Wallace states, "I was attracted by the Foundation's focus on research and the development of new work — on creation; in fact, there is still no other organization that gives money exclusively to promote and support new works. The Foundation is not productoriented: it doesn't view the purpose of the arts as creating commodities or getting return on investment. Instead, it invests in the making of art and sees the process as being as important as the product itself." Wallace is delighted that, unlike arts councils, which support such things as operating expenses and salaries, the Laidlaw Foundation can help candidates who are "not encumbered by a structure. "I got the impression," he says, "that the Foundation had a vision of expanding the base of art 'clients' so that not only was there a greater diversity among applicants, but also more diversity, both aesthetic and cultural, in the audience. I was impressed that the Foundation was making smaller grants to smaller organizations [than the councils do], giving to people and groups that had historically not had access to public funding, that were too small or outside the mainstream."9

Dance was the artistic discipline most enthusiastically supported by R.A. Laidlaw. During his lifetime, the lion's share of the Foundation's grants in the arts were in support of the classical ballet form as taught at the National Ballet School and performed by the National Ballet of Canada. But, like theatre, dance in Canada began to change, and new modern dance companies began to emerge in the 70s. The Foundation's focus changed too, and it has since contributed to the blossoming Canadian dance repertoire through its support for the works of James Kudelka, Constantin Patsalas, Dominique Dumais, David Allan, and John Alleyne for the National Ballet; Patricia Beatty, David Earle, Peter Randazzo, and Christopher House at Toronto Dance Theatre; the work of Danny Grossman; Robert Desrosiers; Carol Anderson, Bill James, and Serge Bennathan at Dancemakers; Jeannette Zingg at Opera




Atelier; Holly Small, Demise Fujiwara, Bengt Jorgen, Claudia Moore, Peggy Baker, Rina Singha, Eddison Lindsey, Menaka Thakkar, Lata Pada, Bill Coleman, the Kaejas, Tedd Robinson, and many others. Grants have been provided to the National Ballet School, the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, and the Canadian Children's Dance Theatre for choreographic commissions that enabled professional choreographers to create new work for student performance. Grants have also been made over the years to support development workshops to enable choreographers to experiment and test out new ideas through presentation at the Pavlychenko Studio, Series 8:08, Dance Inter Media, the National Ballet's Choreographic Workshop, and Le Groupe de la Place Royale. Finally, grants have been made in support of new works commissioned for performance at festivals. These include the Inde Series, COBA, dance Immersion, Spring Rites, the CanAsian Dance Festival, the Fringe Festival of Independent Dancers (held in Toronto), and the largest of them all, the biennial Canada. Dance Festival held in Ottawa. A spectacular fusion of modern and classical repertoire in Toronto 'was undertaken by the National Ballet of Canada during its 1984-1985 season when the Company commissioned three modern dance works — Blue Snake from Robert Desrosiers, Realm from David Earle, and Hot House: Thriving on a Riff from Danny Grossman. The Foundation was an enthusiastic supporter of this new partnership between the National Ballet of Canada and these three major Canadian modern dance companies. In 1999, the company shared its stage with two other dance companies, Margie Gillis and Ballet British Columbia, to create the Inspired by Gould program. The Foundation provided support to the National Ballet to commission a new choreographic work from Dominique Dumais, entitled a hundred words for snow, that formed part of the program.

In 1993, working collaboratively with Dr. Barbara Soren, Walter



Pitman, and Steven Campbell (now Director of Arts Education and Arts in the Community for the Ontario Arts Council), and other arts educators, the Foundation provided core funding and incubation space between 1994 and 1997 for the start-up stage of the Ontario Arts Education Institute's (OAEI) Summer Institute, Teaching & Learning Through the Arts: Introduction to Integrated Arts. The OAEI was established to provide an enriched professional development program for primary school teachers and artists and to enhance learning environments for children by enabling teachers and artists to better integrate the arts into the Ontario school curriculum. The program was offered through York University's Faculty of Education and the Toronto Professional Development Co-operative of the Toronto Board of Education, and was included as an Advanced Qualification (AQ) course offered to teachers through the university. A Composer-in-the-Classroom initiative of the Canadian Music Centre, funded by the SOCAN Foundation, allowed a composer to be included on the faculty. The Ontario Arts Council provided fees for the artist faculty and the Royal Ontario Museum provided the campus for the summer institute program during the first three years. (During the fall and winter, registrants attended workshops and performances organized through education departments of partner professional organizations [the Stratford & Shaw Festivals, the AGO, the Toronto Symphony, Young Peoples' Theatre, Canadian Opera Company, and Harbourfront].) In 1998 Sonia James-Wilson became the program director when Teacher Development in the Arts, a pre-service training module, was introduced with support from the Elementary Teacher Education Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Another joint project of the Ontario Arts Council and Laidlaw Foundation is Arts Education: Make It Happen, a school poster campaign and teacher checklist of practical ideas for bringing arts into the classroom, that was distributed, with the support and endorsement of the Ontario Principals' Council, to eveiy elementary school in Ontario in 2000.



In 1997-98 the Foundation joined the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council to launch the Canada Council's national pilot program, Artists and Communities, in Ontario. Community arts projects were also funded in British Columbia and Newfoundland, and the Laidlaw Foundation funded an independent evaluation of the national program. Its appetite whetted, the Foundation then launched its own program in community arts in 1999. The program, Take Pan! Initiatives in Cultural Democracy, evolved out of a report by Robin Pacific commissioned by the Foundation. The program supports artists as cultural animators, who work at strengthening social cohesion in communities by engaging the people who live, work, and play in a community in collaborative creative processes. The program is organized in three parts: cultural animation (projects), professional development and training (pre-service training in post-secondary institutions and educational forums for practitioners), and the commissioning of critical writing. Though it has enormous impact on its chosen areas, the Foundation has been remarkably self-effacing, which is probably why it never makes those banal end-of-year "Movers and Shakers" lists so beloved of the media. Nathan Gilbert says that's because "it is the beneficiaries, not the Foundation, who do the work. We don't want to compete with them for public attention." While the Foundation is no longer guided by projects or programs that happen to arrive in its offices, it remains ready to respond to broader shifts in community outlook and interests as suggested by its contacts in various fields and by its members' professional networks, as well as by trends in applications.


". . . And a Time to Heal"

WHEN THE FIRST GENERATIONS of Laidlaws began cutting down trees, they seemed to be an endless resource: the first one would grow again before the last one could be felled. The oceans were boundless and the air was simply another vast, clean sea. "I have as much Hickery on my farm as will be fishing wands to thousands, and many of them a Hundred foot High, and they are for no Ewse to us but to Burn," the shepherd from Ettrick wrote his cousin. But only 50 years later, James Laidlaw's descendent had to move north to find the stands of trees necessary for the lumber business he was founding with Thomas Shortreed. Now, of course, the strands of such trees, when they can be found at all, are decimated and distant. It has been said that the world forever lost its environmental innocence the first time someone enclosed an area and rid it of some species in order to harvest others on what became known as a "farm." Some degree of balance remained possible, however,



as long as humans and other life forms had roughly equal abilities to utilize natural resources. Industrialization and, in particular, the use of chemical compounds, enabled us to master other species and, over time, led us to believe humans could entirely subordinate nature. That illusion did not weaken until well after the Second World War, when we began to confront the consequences of our giddy consumption of the earth's air, water, and land. The first widely heard warning came, not with a flourish of trumpets, but in eerie quiet: in her 1962. book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson put us on notice that indiscriminate use of pesticides was decimating populations of birds and other wildlife. Far from being nature's accomplice, we were becoming its enemy. In Canada, the concern was not simply about aesthetics (often dismissed as "tree-hugging"), but about economics and values: we live on the world's second largest land mass, and, bordered on three sides by oceans we have the world's longest coastline. Nature plays an essential role in native culture, just as native peoples played an essential role in the country's history, which flows from, and is a consequence of, our geography and climate: threats to the environment are threats to our values, our prosperity, and even our future. The issue did not go unnoticed in a family whose personal fortune rested on forestry. As early as 1955, R.A. Laidlaw was concerned, and became a founding director of the Quetico Foundation. Quetico Park, located in northwestern Ontario, is a giant stretch of land (more than a million acres) bordering on Superior National Park in the U.S.; the Quetico Foundation funded research to preserve the natural state of flora and fauna in the park. The Laidlaw Foundation continued to provide the Quetico Foundation with a small annual grant for the next 15 years. Even as a child, Jamie Laidlaw, the eldest of Nick's four children, had been environmentally aware: taken to visit the north, he came to know the Canadian Shield, and all about the logging industry. He grew up feeling connected to R.A., who had been a hunter and



whose taste in painting had centred on the northern-inspired Group of Seven, "an interest," Jamie says now, "that did not transfer to my father or his siblings." Feeling "keenly drawn to participate somehow," Jamie in 1985 began to explore what American philanthropies were doing about environmental issues. He soon recognized possibilities for action by the Foundation and shared his enthusiasm with the members of the Family Committee. With discussions taking place at the same time about the relationship between the family and the Foundation, the focus on the environment also offered an opportunity to create a family-originated initiative and would allow family members to play a more significant role in Foundation activities. The environment was, in all senses of the word, a "natural" area for family interest and for the Foundation, which was seeking to involve a new generation of Laidlaws in its professionally run operations. Jamie Laidlaw says now that "what tantalized me was an article in the Toronto Star about clear-cutting forests in the Queen Charlotte Islands, which appeared in the travel section. The message was: 'better go there before paradise is clear-cut.' That struck me as an inversion: we should not be hurrying off to see the forest before it disappeared, we should be working to ensure that it did not ever disappear." As a result, Jamie Laidlaw hosted a series of meetings on environmental themes, frequently with speakers from opposite sides of an issue, to which he invited representatives of other funding organizations in Canada (Donner Canadian, Suncor, the McLean Foundations, the Sportsmen's Fund, and Petroleum Association Concerned with the Environment (PACE)) and the U.S. (Mott, Joyce, American Public Welfare, Beldon Foundations, and the Pew Trust). The Laidlaw Board supported Jamie's 1985 proposal to gather more information on program directions the Foundation might take.1 In 1987, on Jamie's recommendation, Dr. George Francis, Professor (now retired) of the Department of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo, and Dr. Stewart



Hilts, Professor at the University of Guelph, were asked to submit reports to provide an overview of the issues and opportunities for Foundation initiatives on water quality in the Great Lakes Basin (Francis) and nature preservation through land management in Ontario (Hilts). On the basis of these submissions, the Board decided to create a formal program to focus resources on policy research, bi-national policy advocacy, and public awareness on pollution in the Great Lakes Basin, the origin of drinking water for some seven million Canadians. "There was an enormous gap between what is known about environmental problems affecting the Great Lakes and the efficacy of regulating policy to address these problems at the provincial/ state and federal levels. The wording of various inter-governmental agreements concerning the Great Lakes suggests a progression towards an ecosystem perspective, consistent with the theme of sustainable development. The program adopted a theme of 'ecological sustainable resource and development.' This suggested the need for a commitment that would go beyond 'drinkable, swimmable and fishable,' the public goal of the day, to make human use of the Lakes 'sustainable, equitable and enjoyable.'"1 The program was launched in early 1988, initially as a two-year project. George Francis was asked to chair an advisory committee that he and Jamie assembled. The members of the first Conservation Program Advisory Committee were John Jackson, chair of the Ontario Environmental Network and later president of Great Lakes United; Phillip Jessup, an environmental consultant to Friends of the Earth, who had done some consulting work for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (U.S.) and later assumed a senior position with the U.N.-sponsored International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives; and Pegi Dover, formerly with the Donner Canadian Foundation and currently the V.P. Communications for the World Wildlife Fund. In 1990, the Board'of Directors commissioned Michael Keating, a freelance journalist and former environmental reporter for the Globe and Mail, to conduct an independent evaluation of the




Foundation's two-year Conservation Program. His report (September 1990) arrived at several conclusions. • The Program had provided important funding for a number of projects, including grants in support of environmental watersampling education programs for high school students; grants to leverage provincial funding for two pollution monitoring projects in the Welland and Niagara Rivers; the publication of a comprehensive and critical look at the state of the lakes, Great Lakes, Great Legacy? by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (Ottawa) and the Conservation Foundation (Washington); and grants to the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy for its Zero Discharge Project. • It had focused attention on the need to give Canadians a voice in bilateral Great Lakes issues. By initially withholding funds from two bi-national Great Lakes organizations, Great Lakes United and the Centre for the Great Lakes, the Foundation forced these organizations and their funding sponsors to examine the level of seriousness at which they were working with environmental non-government organizations on the Canadian side of the border. • A strong Advisory Committee had been assembled. • The program had the potential to expand and play an even greater role in helping our society understand both environmental problems and their solutions. In February 1991, the Advisory Committee outlined an eightpoint proactive strategy to better realize the program objectives. Sarah Rang, a senior consultant with Environmental Economics International, was appointed to examine the feasibility of the proposed "roadmap" and offer recommendations for its implementation. The eight proposed objectives identified for program focus and development were:



• To foster innovative consultative mechanisms for public policy planning and the advancement of alternative dispute mechanisms; • To provide core multi-year funding to two environmental nongovernment organizations; • To conduct informal consultation with senior policy advisors in various Ontario ministries and the Cabinet Office; • To support municipal conservation planning groups; • To fund the establishment of an Environmental Support Centre; • To follow through with die demonstration project recommended by the Ontario Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy; • To establish links with university programs in environmental studies; and • To establish/convene regular bi-national and national meetings of foundations funding in the environment. Working with the Advisory Committee, the consultant identified as the program's priorities the creation of an environmental support centre, support to municipal conservation planning groups, outreach to university programs in environmental studies, taking the lead in organizing meetings with other granting agencies, and a stronger communication strategy and outreach program. Followthrough would require the appointment of a dedicated part-time staff member.3 In 1992, Bruce Lourie, a young Toronto environmentalist, was hired to coordinate the Foundation's environmental activities. The membership of the advisory committee also changed. A former mayor of Kingston, Helen Cooper, joined the newly re-named Environment Program Advisory Committee in 1992,, and in 1993 Julia Langer, Director of World Wildlife Fund's Toxicology Program, Margaret Wanlin, an environmental activist and outfitter from Thunder Bay, and Dr. Sally Lerner from the Department of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo were added to the Committee. Former Toronto Mayor, federal Cabinet Minister, and head of the Toronto Waterfront Regeneration



Commission David Crombie became the board's liaison to the Committee. In order to improve the ability of environmental groups to shape public policy, the Foundation contributed funds to many projects, including the creation of Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights. It also helped fund publication of A Citizen's Guide to the Environmental Bill of Rights and a book on the subject written by environmental lawyer and activist Paul Muldoon, now Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association and, from 1993-96, chair of the Foundation's Environment Program Advisory Committee. As well, the Foundation made small but strategic donations to "Carolinian Canada." The grant was designed to make the public more aware of the existence of a band of temperate-zone forest based in the southern U.S. but with its northern tip in southwestern Ontario. Characterized by species that might seem anomalous in the Canadian climate — tulip trees and prickly pear cactus, for example — Carolinian forest has seldom been appreciated as an identifiable natural feature, even by those who live in its midst. "A major benefit of our $20,000 donation," Lourie says, "was to enable the World Wildlife Fund to raise significant amounts of money from other sources. The result was raised awareness of the Carolinian forest and action to protect it." The Foundation's Environment Advisoiy Committee approached the Centre for Land Stewardship and asked it to prepare a Citizen's Guide to Land and River Regeneration, as part of the process of encouraging a clean-up of the Great Lakes. "The Guide," explains Lourie, "was useful to ensure that people had reliable, up-to-date information on which to base watershed regeneration activities such as tree planting." The Great Lakes initiative included funding such organizations as Great Lakes United, a coalition of Canadian and U.S. grassroots groups working on the issue of water quality in the lakes. "The work," Lourie says, "was based on an ecosystem approach and on promoting the precautionary principle, which says that just because



we don't know everything about a potential threat to human health and the environment doesn't mean we shouldn't be cautious when dealing with toxic substances." By 1995, public interest in the environment was eroding, the result, Lourie says, of several factors, "including the recession then going on and a general shift by governments to protecting the interests of business above protecting public or environmental interests." At the same time, there were organizations with genuine concerns about environmental action whose initiatives were "often based on shaky science, little research, or inadequate organization. They were also becoming less vital, in part because organizations lacked the skills and professionalism to have an impact." "In 1996," notes Jamie Laidlaw, "there was a growing divide between the Committee's priorities and those of the board." For example, David Crombie was concerned that funds being given to Great Lakes activists with what he recalls as "only limited review or analysis" should be redirected to support broader coalition-building efforts. Crombie says this came from his belief that "the environment is an issue that could be used as an instrument for bringing communities together, rather than pitting interests against each other." In 1997, the Foundation's board provided start-up funding to the first stage of what became "The Sustainability Network," thereby addressing the need for an Environmental Support Centre that had been identified as a priority in 1991. It would, as recommended, provide environmental non-government organizations (NCOS) with training in management (office, volunteer, time, recruitment, strategic planning, budgeting, payroll, etc.), communications, media relations. The Sustainability Network was modelled on a similar centre in the U.S., supported by Michigan's C.S. Mott Foundation, which had undertaken a study in 1996 that critically examined the effectiveness of environmental groups operating in the Great Lakes region. The program was established after a six-month period of surveys and focus groups of people drawn from the environmental community and their supporters. Lourie calls it "one of the few real



instances of the environmental community working together to improve its effectiveness and skills." "The advantage," he adds, "is that in such a complex area as the environment, it is important to understand what questions are being asked, as well as to identify the interests involved in the answers and the policies that result from those answers. The idea is to bring people together regularly to network and to give them opportunities to hear interesting speakers on management issues about which the environmental community needs to know more. Although the sessions are informal, they are effective, particularly because they now feature 'issue tables' at which specific topics are covered in more detail." 4 The Network has been a marked success, bringing senior managers of NCOS together to improve communications, management, and advocacy skills, strengthening their ability to influence public opinion and policy. The Network has also helped set priorities for the Laidlaw Foundation. In 1997-98, the Environment Program was redesigned and a new program committee, guided by David Bell, Director of the Centre for Applied Sustainability (York University), was established. The new program explores the links between the environment and human health, and particularly environmental impacts on child health. The Foundation believes that if the connection can be established, it may finally move people, including those who ignore the rapidly growing body of evidence about global warming and other dangers, to get serious about environmental issues. Five advisors were appointed in 1998 to work with Bruce Lourie and David Bell: David McKeown, a public health physician, Claire Fortier, a senior grants officer at the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, Peter Victor, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies (York University), Beth Savan, Professor of Environmental Studies (Innis College, U. Toronto), and Ruth Richardson, Director of Community Relations at the Lever Ponds Foundation. The Committee's structure was flattened and three of the Foundation's directors, Walter Ross, Jamie Laidlaw, and David Crombie, also joined the committee as members.




In 1998, the Foundation spent $350,000 on environmental activities and, in 1999, another $500,000. In order to meet the needs of its ambitious program, it has actively sought to persuade other funders to become involved; some very successful collaborations, including The Sustainability Network and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network, are already emerging. "One issue the children's health issue has clarified — and one that really resonated with the Foundation's board — is that funding good environmental work does not always mean funding environmental organizations," Lourie says. "When you integrate the environment into overall health issues, you benefit from the credibility doctors enjoy when they speak. Our work with doctors directly and with the Ontario Medical Association has convinced us that, realistically, physicians carry more weight in society than do environmentalists." In the spring of 1998, that view gained strength from the enthusiastic public response to a report prepared by the OMA entitled Health Effects of Ground-Level Ozone, Acid Aerosols and Paniculate Matter (May 1998), which detailed the effects of poor air quality on human health. While the report was not based on original research — "environmentalists have been saying the same thing for years," Lourie points out — "it had an impact because, with apologies to McLuhan, 'the messenger is the message.'" To ensure that the message got out, the Foundation organized publicity and a major press event timed to the release of the report. As a result, its findings were covered on national television and on the front page of virtually every major newspaper. In Windsor, Ontario (which, at various times, has had to deal with chemical "blobs" in the nearby St. Clair River, particulates raining down from a municipal incinerator in Detroit, and some of the worst "hot spots" on the Great Lakes), it generated front-page stories for several days.


The publicity led directly to a new federal government commitment to adopt California's standard for sulphur in gasoline. "This," says Lourie with great satisfaction, "takes Canada from being the worst North American jurisdiction on this matter to being among the best." The environmental program was just one of the many results of the tough self-analysis the board undertook at the 1987 Eaton Hall retreat. The new focus resulting from that retreat has also proved beneficial to the Foundation as well as its recipients: the environmental program's success shows how much can be accomplished by using money for innovative projects, with effects that are disproportionately larger than the amount involved. In addition, Jamie Laidlaw's willingness to focus on an issue about which he felt strongly is ample evidence that, even when a family philanthropy is run professionally and at arm's length, family members can continue to have an important role in shaping the way a foundation functions and the causes it supports.


Doing the Right Thing Right

IN THE 50 YEARS since it was created, the Laidlaw Foundation has amassed net assets with a market value, as of December 1999, of approximately $65 million. That fortune was built on family contributions, of which the largest, totalling almost $6.5 million, came from W.C.'s estate. The share left in R.A.'s will added more than $2 million, while Rod's gift was worth more than $i million, Nick's nearly $2 million. These figures, however, account only for money given directly to the Laidlaw Foundation, and do not include the generous donations, in cash and kind, the four men made directly to groups and causes in the course of their lives and in their wills. By October 27, 1999, the joth anniversary of its first directors' meeting, the Foundation had spent almost $40 million. That is a modest sum, even by Canadian standards: according to the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy's Canadian Directory to Foundations and Grants, itfh Edition, the Foundation's assets rank only 26th (1997 data) among this country's private foundations (the



wealthiest, the McConnell Foundation of Montreal, has assets of almost half a billion dollars).'Why, then, write about the Laidlaws and their Foundation when it neither seeks nor needs publicity? The story is worth telling, first, because it fills a small space in the vast emptiness of Canada's social history, especially its business history. Second, it is intended to examine what motivates people to give, as well as how to identify and encourage others to do likewise. While the Laidlaw Foundation has not been shaped by the question posed earlier in these pages — whose money is it, anyway? — the way it operates today provides a model, which, if adopted by other organizations, would meet the criteria for open, disinterested, efficient management of institutions that, directly or indirectly, are supported by all taxpayers. Fifty years ago, some members of the Laidlaw family could have chosen, as many other wealthy people did and continue to do, to keep for their own use all the money their grandfather made and their father and uncle shrewdly invested. Or they could have decided to give away a small portion of that wealth according only to their own tastes and interests. The Foundation's evolution, however, means that it uses the main advantage of private philanthropy — the ability to take risks without the timidity that comes from having stockholders or electors — with a sense of community responsibility that is virtually unique in its field. As Charles Pascal, Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation, quips, "management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." The Laidlaw Foundation has always aspired to combine those ideals by providing well-managed leadership in their philanthropy — doing the right things right. The Laidlaw Foundation has a long tradition of professionalism — consulting with communities and with funding candidates; making choices based on the expert advice of knowledgeable professionals within and outside its board; according to rules that are clear-cut and easily accessible (through, among other channels,



the Internet); and submitting itself to a process of disinterested monitoring and evaluation. A complete list of programs and projects supported by the Foundation over the years, which would take hundreds of pages, would only confirm its broad range of interests. Appendix B provides a necessarily brief "laundry list," which serves as a skeletal outline of what the Foundation has accomplished. In the 19603, it gave money to Warrendale and Oolagen, pioneering residential programs for children with emotional needs (the latter more closely associated with the drug culture of the '6os and Vos)> the John Howard Society, the Elizabeth Fry Society, and Women and the Law. Many of its donations originated from the interest of a board or advisory committee member. Jessie Walters, who was on the advisory committee, was an early supporter of residential treatment, and Dr. Hans Mohr, also a member of the advisory committee and a former president of the Vanier Institute, a leader in the search for alternatives to prison sentences, urged the Foundation to fund such programs as the Waterloo Victim-Offender Reconciliation Project and neighbourhood mediation projects. Social Work Professor Dr. Albert Rose strongly supported socially assisted housing and pushed the idea of supporting tenants involved in a pioneering effort at community development taking place in southeast Toronto in the late '6os and 'jos. Dr. Quentin Rae-Grant, a long-time member of the Professional Advisory Committee and for many years head of child psychiatry at the Hospital for Sick Children and later Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario, was the source of a number of initiatives related to research and services focused on the mental health needs of children. The decision to help fund the Canadian Welfare Council (now the Canadian Council on Social Development), began with recommendations, first by social worker Bess Touzel, long an advisory committee member, and, later, by Marvyn Novick. Dr. William Line, Dr. William Hawke, and Dr. Sylva Gelber also lent support to research and



demonstration projects in areas of their own expertise. In the mid-1970s, the Foundation stepped in to assist Toronto's Afro-Caribbean community by supporting the Harriet Tubman Youth Centre, which was seeking independence from the YMCA. The Centre was establishing its own independent identity in the black community, offering transitional services to assist black youth with their integration into a new culture, and at the same time, reinforcing pride in their own cultural identity (including organizing opportunities for youth to return to the Caribbean Islands to visit). Founder and first Executive Director Ken Jeffers remembers looking for funding from the federal and provincial governments; they suggested he apply to the Laidlaw Foundation. Over the next four years (1973-77), he found the Foundation "progressive, keen on our being self-reliant and autonomous," and supportive of the Centre's interest in helping black children, especially those from the Caribbean. Jeffers was particularly impressed with Mary Claire Thomas, noting that "she was always helpful: the Foundation even donated a sophisticated, top-of-the-line copier. She was interested in where we wanted to go rather than trying to direct us according to her ideas." He feels that autonomy and self-determination are key issues in the Caribbean-Canadian community. After more than a quartercentury, he is once again involved in the organization he helped create and expects that it, once again, will be looking to the Foundation for help.1 Over the years the Foundation has made grants, sometimes not for very large amounts of money, to community-based activities that few grantmakers might support during an initial start-up phase. To name but a few: canoe trips for youth with disabilities, outward bound experiences for aboriginal youth, a fund for the widows and children of the 33 construction workers who died on the Ocean Ranger when it capsized off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada's earliest birth control clinics, and support to ex-psychiatric patient self-help organizations. All of this, of course, is in addition to the programs and projects



mentioned throughout these pages. The Foundation's strategic support has often given small organizations the gift of legitimacy, of the leverage that makes them more likely to attract other funders (including government) or the expertise needed to write successful grant applications. It is fair to say that, without the Foundation's appreciation of the importance of these apparently mundane matters, many innovative programs and projects, later to become important to our fabric as a civil society, would have been lost. For example, the first community legal aid clinics in Ontario were founded with start-up money from the Ford and Laidlaw Foundations. Community legal aid clinics are now financed primarily through provincial expenditures. More than $5 million has been invested in the Children at Risk initiative, the largest contribution to a single program. That is in addition to the millions of dollars the Foundation has devoted over the years to child-centred issues, beginning with Central Neighbourhood House, and including everything from training child psychiatrists to laying the groundwork for creating a professional training program for child-care workers. The impact of the Laidlaw Foundation's grants is not restricted to direct recipients of the funds: it extends to the community as whole, including • children who have been helped by the caregivers, psychiatrists, and social workers named as Laidlaw Scholars or recipients of Laidlaw Continuing Education Grants; • thousands of families who may reap the advantages of better services, more realistic solutions, and, in time, better policies rooted in the Children at Risk program; • minorities, women, and other marginalized groups who benefit from civil rights organizations that monitor the activities of powerful bureaucracies; • social activists, policy researchers, and caring Canadians who make a national priority of the state of Canada's children and youth and in particular the disabling impact family poverty has



on the life chances of our country's children; • audiences, drawn to the works of composers, choreographers, and playwrights, who might otherwise go unsung, unmoved, or untouched; • the biosphere — which then affects our entire species, whose survival depends on our ability to make improvements in the quality of our shared resources of air, water, and land. None of this should suggest that the Laidlaw Foundation is now comfortably resting in the niche it has created for itself. Just the opposite is true: it is preparing to follow its own tradition of making change, within itself and to the community it serves. By the beginning of the 19905, the Foundation was comfortable with the considerable degree of change it had undergone. The choice of Nathan Gilbert as Executive Director had proven successful: to Nick, Nathan was a knowledgeable colleague and friend, who was able to provide the organization with muchneeded expertise. The Foundation had flourished under Anne W. Dupre's presidency (1989-92), and benefitted from Jalynn Bennett's and Martin Hicks' experience as financial advisors during the time they were members of the board. Three of R.A's grandchildren had participated in the Eaton Hall retreat where a commitment was made to preserve the ongoing participation of the family by electing three Laidlaws to the board but not necessarily appointing a member of the family to the position of Foundation President. Lyn Apgar (Rod's oldest child), however, served as President for three years, from 1993 to 1996. It was during Lyn Apgar's tenure as President that the Foundation began to invite onto its board and committees members who are seldom seen in positions of power, particularly in the Canadian philanthropic sector: young people, people of colour, people with their roots in communities usually overlooked or ignored. Change is no more comfortable at the Laidlaw Foundation than anywhere else, but it is recognized as an inevitable part of being



ready to identify emerging needs and responding to them. The agent of many of the most recent changes, Joyce Zemans, had been invited in 1992 by Anne W. Dupre to join the board. A respected curator and art historian, Zemans has a thorough knowledge of cultural policy, gained both as an academic and from experience as Dean of Fine Arts at York University and as Director of the Canada Council. Zemans believes that the diversity and depth of the board itself and the advisory committees it has appointed over the years have been essential strengths to the Foundation's success. She notes that, in addition, the Foundation's administration, while small, is efficient and able to support many different projects. "It is helped," she says, "by the Foundation's unique methodology. The peer evaluation system, working with experts to identify needs, to establish criteria, and to allocate resources, is rare. We have a smaller administrative capacity, because we use volunteers and a knowledgeable board — a hard-working board — to set policies." She cautions, however, "that private foundations cannot replace the essential role of the public sector. Rather they must work with it to maintain the public space, complement its work, and on occasion offer new directions and possiblities." 3 The Foundation's commitment to kids, which led to the Children at Risk program of the early '905, continues in the board's decision to take a more holistic approach by integrating the needs of children and, particularly, of youth, into the Foundation's work. Called the Youth Engagement Program (YEP), it resonates throughout the Foundation, starting with the makeup of the board itself. The board has been expanded to 12, members to include two knowledgeable and committed young people with considerable voluntary and paid experience in youth and community settings. They are young (both attend university), with strong roots in their own ethno-cultural groups and the broader community. They provide the Foundation's board and staff with an insight all too often overlooked. Vinay Mehta, a Queen's University law student, has been active in the youth employment and training field



for many years. Deborah Senior, who is completing a Master of Environmental Studies at York University, has broad experience in local and international development work. Senior is smart and politically astute, her antennae finely attuned to tokenism. She remembers saying, at her first meeting with the board, "that I was not interested in being a 'representative,' that I'm well able and willing to operate at their level. And, of course, my interest in strategic planning of initiatives focused on youth and technology/communications fits well with the board's priorities." Senior recognizes that the board structure, "which has become more diverse in terms of age, ethnicity and gender, as well as in class, will have a defining role in the Foundation's future. It also means that 'non-mainstream' groups will have to become involved in new policy discussions and research, because, at present, their issues are lost or not presented as effectively as they could be."4 If R.A. and W.C. would be startled by the makeup of the current board and by its commitment to communities that did not exist in their lifetime, they would also be pleased by the Foundation's leading role in its field. The Foundation's most recently elected chair is Walter Ross, a former partner in Ernst & Young (formerly Clarkson, Gordon), who decided, in his mid-fifties, to "retire" and direct his attention to finding solutions to pressing community issues. Ross believes "now is an excellent time to rethink the whole question of the public domain, because the not-for-profit sector has significant credibility while governments have little." According to Walter Ross, "today's board has an intergenerational voice that makes it fascinating, somewhat unpredictable, but obviously moving the Foundation in new directions. The most important point is that this is not accidental: we have done this deliberately because we feel this is the way the Foundation should be." At the same time, he recognizes that, though exciting, the emphasis on diversity will "not always be comfortable. Some tensions will be created, yet the board is committed to engage in the hard work and to invest in young people who don't have



experience with being a member of a board." Such an approach "invigorates your own thinking and your own ideas: although we span the political spectrum, discussions are always respectful."5 The goals of the Youth Engagement Program are ambitious: "to strengthen young persons' attachment, commitment, and sense of achievement . . . resulting in improved opportunities and life chances for youth at risk [original emphasis]. Because a child's development is influenced by many systems — family, school, peers, neighbourhood, and community — the program recognizes that few children escape risk completely. It is the accumulation of these risks that jeopardizes positive, healthy development, particularly when there are few positive opportunities in a child's life. Although any child may face a set of problems, the Foundation's role will "focus on helping to meet the needs of young persons (including promoting the voices of youth) who are least likely to be able to access other existing resources. Barriers of race, gender, class, lack of education, and lack of family support are just some of [the] factors that can impede a young person's development."6 The Foundation will support "research, best practices, and/or advocacy" in areas it identifies as related to youth at risk. Gilbert says that the needs of youth are the focus because "society is silent on policies for children over the age of six. For example, there is nothing being done in respect of municipal recreation as a public good. In fact, where such service existed (as in the old City of Toronto), it has eroded. Recreation staff in suburban municipalities have actually had to put on bake sales to create subsidies for poor kids." At the same time, as he points out, "youth are being demonized: the emphasis is on remediating and incarcerating kids after they are in trouble, but society is silent with respect to investing in child and youth development beyond the very early years." The issue, he says, "is one of voice: of creating space for young people to experiment, to make mistakes, to be involved in creating opportunities for themselves." A youth program co-ordinator and two youth project associates



have been hired and a Program Advisory Committee with an annual budget of $500,000 has been established with young people forming the majority of the membership. The Youth Engagement Program is expected to have an impact on other aspects of the Foundation's work. Young people will be recruited to join all advisory committees, and all programs will involve young people in the design and development. That young people will act as their audience will serve as a criterion for applicants to consider in their submissions to the Foundation. Robert Wallace believes the Youth Engagement Program will broaden the Foundation's support for the arts, from theatre, music, and dance to the more technological arts (film and videography) that are growing in popularity. "In the seven years since I joined," he says, "the Performing Arts Advisory Committee has changed drastically, thanks to a deliberate process of recruiting members of visible minorities so that the committee matches the communities applying for grants and now represents a range of expertise that is cultural as well as artistic."7 Joyce Zemans, Foundation President (1996-99), recalls the board discussion at the Croft Chapter House at University College in June 1994 on what it means to be a citizen in our society, what young people need, and how the Foundation could help meet those needs. The response," she says, "reflected the importance of engaging youth in planning projects, not just as recipients, and out of that we decided to involve young people at every level of the Foundation." Walter Ross credits Zemans herself for persuading the Board to concretize its focus on youth. Zemans attributes the Foundation's ability to work flexibly and function efficiently to its flattened structure and its ability to attract hardworking and knowledgeable board members. "The Foundation can act as a catalyst," she says, "because the board is able to address critical issues, while the staff has established a key role in the third sector, as well as with governments and agencies. That's a very important role. It has been at the forefront of identifying issues and funding innovative responses to them.



For example, when we consider a concept such as 'the healthy community,' we are able to talk, not just about physical health or the need for recreation, but to look at such issues as access to the tools of communication or to decision-makers." Gordon Floyd, Communications Director of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy — which was created thanks in large part to financial support from Nick Laidlaw and the Laidlaw Foundation — calls the organization "a model, one of the top 20 in Canada, in the willingness to use grants to support innovation, to take risks, to try new programs, new service delivery models. "Almost half of the charities' funding in Canada comes from governments," Floyd continues, "and because it's tax money it's treated cautiously. Corporate donors are even more cautious: they will back only a sure success, so typically they fund mainstream programs in mainstream organizations, hospitals and universities in particular. The Laidlaw Foundation, on the other hand, funds programs on the leading edge in the arts, the environment, and in the social service sector. The biggest value-added contribution of private foundations is their discretion to give money for innovation. There are precious few doing that in Canada."8 More than a decade ago, Bruce Quarrington spoke of the need to recognize the "public" foundation, the privately endowed organization that publicly declares its areas of interest and its objectives, seeks expert advice and fair appraisals when judging submissions for grants, is accessible to applicants at all stages of the granting process, and periodically produces a public accounting of its activities. Foundations that get their funds from a single source (as in the case of the Foundation, which received its assets from the Laidlaw family) are not treated as public organizations; the Laidlaw Foundation, nonetheless, continues to operate according to those principles. Should the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) recognize and designate foundations such as the Laidlaw as "private public-interest foundations" distinct from those private foundations tied to a family's or an individual's personal preferences? Should



the CCRA permit foundations greater leeway in making grants to individuals or groups that, while resulting in public benefit, may not be "charitable institutions" under current law? Should the CCRA be given authority to register "public benefit organizations" who sustain democratic pluralism through their advocacy and public education efforts? In a decision on January 28, 1999, the Supreme Court made it clear that such questions rest, not with the judiciary, but with Parliament. "It would not be appropriate for the Court," Mr. Justic Frank lacobucci wrote for the majority, "to adopt an entirely new definition of charity. If this is to be done, especially for the purposes of the Income Tax Act, the specifics of the desired approach will be for Parliament to decide."9 Nathan Gilbert remarks that "parliamentarians have been throwing hot potatoes to the Court since the Charter [of Rights] was passed; while not a Charter issue, the Court threw this one back."10 Coincidentally, a few days after that ruling, a group chaired by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent reported to the federal government on Accountability and Governance in the Voluntary Sector." One of four panels organized by a roundtable of voluntary organizations themselves, it called for the definition "for tax credits under the Income Tax Act [to] be determined by Parliament" and, it added, "be subject to a statutoiy review at ten-year intervals." It suggested that in addition to "the existing criteria of the common law definition of charity," categories of public benefit organizations should be added "after a government-sector task force proposed a new policy that would be debated in Parliament, which would amend the Income Tax Act. . . . " It also urged the federal government "to create a new, quasiindependent Voluntary Sector Commission to supplement the audit role of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, which would continue in more or less its current form." In addition, the panel called for "differential requirements for small charities [which it defined as those with annual operating budgets of less than $2,00,000] and for larger ones."



More controversially, it proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act and other legislation so that voluntary organizations could hive off for-profit activities not related to their mission and not staffed with volunteers, on which they would pay taxes on all but the funds they donated to their charitable entities. In reality, many charities and not-for-profit groups already fully exploit every possible revenue source, in order, literally and figuratively, "to stay in business." Toronto's Family Service Association, for example, the largest member of the city's United Way, now offers employee-assistance plans to corporations that want to provide them as part of benefits packages. The Association uses the profits generated by that business to keep its doors open to the socially and economically dlsadvantaged it was created to assist in the first place. You can now buy brand-name cappuccino at your local hospital, ribbons and gift wrap in support of ballet; popcorn to underwrite school activities — all in addition to such old standbys as Girl Guide Cookies, Boy Scout Apples, and flowers for various medical causes. Ottawa tax lawyer Arthur Drache suggests a new charitable definition, to be drawn from recommendations made by the Goodman Commission (headed by Toronto lawyer Wolfe Goodman) to the Government of Bermuda. The new rules would include "public benefit organizations" of three types: those carrying on "public benefit activities," "umbrella public benefit" bodies representing groupings of public benefit organizations, and "charities," a grandfathering designation for the few bodies (churches, for example) that might not be defined as carrying out "public activities." This would replace Pemsel (the 1891 ruling), and would specifically include certain kinds of groups not currently considered eligible.

W.C. and R.A. Laidlaw were not near-saintly philanthropists, but thoroughly human: generous and cranky, oblivious and sensitive, stubbornly clinging to the past and better able than most to



recognize that there would be needs beyond those of their lifetimes. They made gifts that, though hardly innovative, even for their day, were eminently responsible and useful to the community. They are suitable subjects for a book, not because they were ahead of their time or their peers, but on the contrary, because they were very much similar to people like them. Like them, that is, except in one significant way: they hewed to a tradition of giving that was fading in their time and that, today, is shaped more by corporate strategies than by ties to the community. Their philanthropy became so great that its range, combined with new tax laws, led them to create the Foundation. Their reasons for doing so turned out to be less important than the impact of their generosity. Although the Laidlaws' story yields no readily available identikit for spotting potential benefactors, it is worth preserving and recounting. The family's history is the tale of Canada at its best: a place where anything is possible, where hard work and honest values bring enormous success and, with it, the opportunity to move beyond doing well to doing good. Robert A. Laidlaw was gifted, not just materially, but with decent, conscientious children, willing to set aside immediate family interests to create a solid, worthwhile heritage. The Laidlaw Foundation has not just changed the lives of the people to whom it has made grants; it has had an equally beneficial impact on millions of Canadians, children especially, who, when they think about it at all, assume that Laidlaw is just the name on the yellow school bus.

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Lists of Board of Directors and Advisory Committees

Laidlaw Foundation Directors R.W.L. Laidlaw R.G.N. Laidlaw J.G. Hungerford H.M. Gale H.L. Lugsdin John M. Hodgson Frank I. Hayes Bruce Quarrington Edward Waitzer Robert D. Smith Jeffery Laidlaw Kim Laidlaw James G. Laidlaw Anne W. Dupre Clive Chamberlain Julia Hammell William Laidlaw Michael Trebilcock Jalynn Bennett

1949 -1971 1949 -1990 1949 -1952 1952-1954 1954 - 1967 1962 -1984 1962 -1983 1977 -1986 1982 -1985 1982 - 1983,1988 -1992,1998 1982 -1983,1986 -1988 1983 -1985 1984 -1985,1986 -1991,1996 1984 -1992 1985 -1993 1985 -1986 1985 -1986 1986 -1993 1987 -1994



Lyn Apgar Martin Hicks Jeffery Smith David Crombie Joyce Zemans George Thomson Lorna Marsden Walter Ross Ratna Omidvar Paul Zarnke Donald Lenz Deborah Senior Vinay Mehta Presidents R.W.L. Laidlaw and R.G.N. Laidlaw R.G.N. Laidlaw Anne W. Dupre Clive Chamberlain Lyn Apgar Joyce Zemans Walter Ross

1990 -1998 1991 -1998 1992 - 2000 1992 - 2000 1992 - 2000 1993 -1994 199319941995 1996 1997 1997 1997 -

1949 -1971 1971-1989 1989 -1992 1992 -1993 1993

_ I996

1996 -1999 1999-

Child and Family Advisory Committee R.G.N. Laidlaw W.A. Hawke A. Line Albert Rose John Spencer Lillian Thomson Bessie Touzel Jessie Watters Hans Molir Bruce Quarrington Quentin Rae-Grant Sylva Gelber

1963 -1990 1963 -1977 1963 -1965 1963 -1974,1977 -1982,1984 -1984 1963 -1967 1963 -1965 1963 -1966 1963 - 1971,1972 - 15177 1966 - I98i, 1984 -1984 1965 -1977 1969 -1986 1977 -1981


Robin Ross Harry Arthurs Sheila Neysmith Brian Shaw Celia Denov Marvyn Novick Dan Offord George Thomson Ralph Garber Ralph Agard Susan Bradley Richard Volpe Chandrakant Shah Joseph Beitchman Robert Glossop Heather Munroe-Blum Terrence Sullivan Marilyn Knox Dan Keating Penny Milton Richard Shabas Dale Shutdeworth

1977 -1987 1982 -1984 1982 -1984 1982 -1985 1984 -1984 1985 -1990 1985 -1990 1985 -1993 1986 -1990 1987 -1988 1987 -1989 1988 -1990 1990 -1997 1991 -1997 1991 -1997 1991 -1993 1991 -1997 1993 -1993 1994 -1997 1994 -1997 1994 -1997 1994 -1995

Chairs R.G.N. Laidlaw George Thomson Robert Glossop Paul Zarnke

1963 -1989 1989 -1993 1993 -1997 1999 -

Environment Program Advisory Committee Pegi Dover Philip Jessup George Francis John Jackson Helen Cooper Paul Muldoon Margaret Wanlin

1988 -1992 1988 -1992 1988 -1993 1988 -1993 1992 -1995 1993 -1996 1993 -1996




Julia Langer Sally Lerner David Bell Claire Fortier David McKeown Ruth Richardson Beth Savan Peter Victor

1993 -1996 1994 -1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 -1999 1998 -

Chairs George Francis Paul Muldoon David Bell

1988 -1993 1993 -1996 1998 -

Investment Committee J.G. Hungerford R.W.L. Laidlaw R.G.N. Laidlaw Frank Hayes Jalynn Bennett John Hodgson Martin Hicks Anna Guthrie Margaret Istona Phyllis Clark Donald Lenz Steve Dorey Heather Hunter

1949 -1952 1949 -1971 1949 -1990 1962 -1983 1987 -1993 1962 1989 -1999 1989 -1997 1991 -1999 1998 1997 1999 1999 -

Chairs R.W.L. Laidlaw R.G.N. Laidlaw Jalynn Bennett Martin Hicks Donald Lenz

1949 -1971 1971 -1988 1988 -1993 1994 -1999 1999 -


Performing Arts Advisory Committee David Silcox Gerry Eldred William Littler Marcia McClung Tim Porteous Jean Roberts Lou Applebaum Donald Himes Robert Wallace Sandi Ross Holly Small Carol Anderson David Jaeger William Lau Soheil Parsa Lyon Smith

1980 -1986 1980 -1990 1980 -1990 1986 -1994 1989 -1994 1989 -1991 1989 -1997 1990 -1997 1992 - 2000 1994 1994 1997 1997 1997 - 2000 1998 1999 -

Chairs David Silcox Gerry Eldred Jean Roberts Marcia McClung Lou Applebaum Robert Wallace

1980 - 1986 1986 -1990 1990 - 1991 1991 - 1994 1994 -1997 1997 - 2000


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Laidlaw Foundation Grants 1950-1999 - By Subject

Area & Major Gifts (examples) Arts Grants National Ballet School Royal Ontario Museum Roy Thomson Hall

$13,000,000 $725,500* $549,800* $200,000*

Dance National Ballet of Canada Toronto Dance Theatre Danny Grossman Dance Theatre Desrosiers Dance Theatre Ballet Jorgen Dancemakers

$987,500 $26o,2OO $I73,OOO $I25,OOO $ 86,250 $ 7I,2OO

Theatre Tarragon Theatre Canadian Stage Company (including Toronto Free Theatre & The Hour Company) Theatre Passe Muraille Factory Theatre Blyth Festival

$533,600 $489,000

$323,500 $280,500 $272,000



Young People's Theatre Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

$218,000 $190,900

Music Canadian Music Centre Canadian Opera Company Comus Music Theatre/Patria Esprit Orchestra

Education Fellowships/Awards/Scholarships Universities University of Toronto McMaster University York University University of Western Ontario Concordia University Private Schools Upper Canada College

Children, Youth & Families

$304,500 $196,400 $125,000 $115,000 $7,173,000 $2,082,300

$4,222,000 $1,657,600* $1,371,500 $ 453,000 $ 154,500* $ 179,000 $868,500* $726,500* $11,300,000

Institute of Child Study $1,100,000 Canadian Social Development Council (Canadian Welfare Council) $1,282,000 Social Planning Council of Toronto $550,000 Children & Youth Residential Services $480,000 Campaign 2000 $281,000 National Youth in Care Network $220,000 Canadian Policy Research Networks $275,000 Social Assistance Review CommitteeSocial Awareness Campaign (SARC-PAC) $257,000 Harriet Tubman Centre $186,000


Canadian Mental Health Association Community Economic Development, Montreal Literacy Projects Social Housing Integrated Education/Inclusion of Children with Multiple Handicaps Birth Control & Venereal Disease Info Centre (75) Ocean Ranger Families ('83)



$183,000 $152,000 $125,000 $107,000* $105,000 $6,000 $6,000 $590,000

Civil Liberties, Charter Challenges, Mediation Pilot Projects, Community Legal Aid Clinics, John Howard & Elizabeth Fry Societies

Environment Nature Conservancy of Canada* Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) Pollution Probe Canadian Institute on Environmental Law & Policy (CIELAP) World Wildlife Fund Young Naturalist Foundation Quetico Foundation

Amateur Sports Associations

$4,327,000 $221,000 $178,355 $163,275 $117,000 $138,400 $ 70,000 $ 11,000




Philanthropy Canadian Centre for Philanthropy Voluntary Sector Management Training Program, York University Miscellaneous

Hospitals Hospital for Sick Children Clarke Institute of Psychiatry


$380,000 $260,000 $ 98,000 $ 22,000 $825,000 $487,730* $277,636


* includes grants for capital projects ** also included in the University of Toronto calculation


Publications Funded Through the Laidlaw Foundation's Children at Risk Program Published by The Laidlaw Foundation Best Practices Initiative Overview. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1995. Children At Risk: Perspectives. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1996. Video. Community Systems Approach. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1995. Video. Improving the Life Prospects of Children. Toronto, Laidlaw Foundation, 1994. Novick, Marvyn. Prospects for Children: Life Chances and Civil Society, Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1997. Rioux, Marcia and Michael Bach. Evaluation of Laidlaw Foundation's Children at Risk Program. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1997. Shera, Wes, Joseph H. Michalski, Rachel Birnbaum and Robin Wright. Lessons Learned from the Community Systems Initiative: Phase I Final Report. (Toronto: Centre for Applied Social Research, University of Toronto, 1997). Shields, Craig. Building Community Systems of Support. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1997. . Community Systems Initiative: An Introductory Overview. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1993. . Improving the Life Prospects of Children: A Community Systems Approach, (Reprint from Child Welfare, Child Welfare League of America/Canada). Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1995. . Issues in Family Life and Family Support. (Prepared for the



Premier's Council on Health, Well Being and Social Justice. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1995. . Saving Children: A Parable With Many Acts, Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, 1993.

Published by Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) Countdown 93: Campaign 2000 Child Poverty Indicator Report & Report Card. Ottawa: CCSD, 1993. Countdown 94: Campaign 2000 Child Poverty Indicator Report & Report Card. Ottawa: CCSD, 1994. Family Security in Insecure Times. Ottawa: National Forum on Family Security (CCSD), 1993. Family Security in Insecure Times (Vol. II: Perspectives). Ottawa: National Forum on Family Security (CCSD), 1995. Family Security in Insecure Times (Vol. Ill: Building a Partnership of Responsibility). Ottawa: National Forum on Family Security (CCSD), 1995National Forum on Family Security—Keynote Paper I, Ottawa: National Forum on Family Security (CCSD), 1993. National Forum on Family Security— Keynote Paper II, Ottawa: National Forum on Family Security (CCSD), 1994. The Progress of Canada's Children, Ottawa: CCSD, 1996. The Progress of Canada's Children, Ottawa: CCSD, 1997. The Progress of Canada's Children: Focus on Youth, Ottawa: CCSD, 1998. The Progress of Canada's Children: Into the Millennium, Ottawa: CCSD, 1999. Ross, David P. and Paul Roberts. Income and Child Well-Being: A New Perspective on the Poverty Debate. Ottawa: CCSD, 1999.

Published by Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto or Community Social Planning Council of Toronto (CSPCT) Child Poverty in Metropolitan Toronto, Report Card. Toronto: CSPCT, 1994. Child Poverty in Metropolitan Toronto, Report Card. Toronto: CSPCT, 1995. Child Poverty in Metropolitan Toronto, Report Card. Toronto: CSPCT, 1996.



Child Poverty in Metropolitan Toronto, Report Card. Toronto: CSPCT, 1997. The Outsiders: A Report on the Prospects for Young Families in Metropolitan Toronto. Toronto: Child Poverty Action Group, Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto and Family Services Association of Metropolitan Toronto, 1994. Unequal Futures — The Legacies of Child Poverty in Canada. Toronto: Child Poverty Action Group and Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1991.

Published by University of Toronto Press O'Neill, John. The Missing Child in Liberal Theory: Towards a Covenant Theory of Family, Community Welfare and The Civic State. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. Published by Canadian Institute of Child Health The Health of Canada's Children: A Canadian Institute of Child Health Profile, 2nd Edition. Ottawa: Canadian Institute of Child Health, 1994. Published by Vanier Institute of Child Health Profiles of Canadian Families. Ottawa: Vanier Institute of the Family, 2000.

Published by Campaign 2000 Child Poverty in Canada: Report Card. Toronto: Toronto Family Service Association of Metropolitan Toronto (TFSAMT), 1996. Child Poverty in Canada: Report Card. Toronto: TFSAMT, 1997. Child Poverty in Canada: Report Card. Toronto: TFSAMT, 1998. Child Poverty in Canada: Report Card. Toronto: TFSAMT, 1999. Investing in the Next Generation: Policy Perspectives on Children and Nationhood. Toronto: TFSAMT, 1994. Novick, Marvyn and Richard Shillington. Crossroads for Canada: A Time to Invest in Children and Families, Discussion Paper. Toronto: TFSAMT, 1996.

Published by Centre for Studies of Children at Risk (CSCR) at McMaster University Eady, A. and D. Offord. A Guide To Doing Community Resource Inventories. Hamilton: CSCR, 1996. . A Methodological Guide on How to Inventory Community



Resources For Children, Youth, And Families. Hamilton: CSCR, 1996. Fallen, B., S. Marks, and D. Offord. A Literature Review of Child Health: Concepts, Measurement and Determinants. Hamilton: CSCR, 1994. Gardner, S., S. Marks, and D. Offord. Inventory of Information Systems on Children in Ontario. Hamilton: CSCR, 1994. Hopes, Barriers, Expectations: Results of the State-of-the-Child Qualitative Study. Hamilton: CSCR, 199(3. Introductory Report on the State-of-the-Child Qualitative Study. Hamilton: CSCR, 1996. Marks, S., S. Gardner, and D. Offord. Child Mortality: Utility as an Indicator of Child Health. Hamilton: CSCR, 1994. A Methodological Guide On How to Inventory Community Data Sources On Children And Youth. Hamilton: CSCR, 1996. Results of the Card Son Exercise: Results of the State-of-the-Child Qualitative Study. Hamilton: CSCR, 1996. Toles, M., S. Marks, B. Fallon, and D. Offord. A Literature Review of Child Health: Concepts, Measurement and Determinants. Hamilton: CSCR, 1993.

Published by Canadian Policy Research Network (CPRN) Avard, Denise and Jennifer Tipper. Building Better Outcomes for Canada's Children. Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. Jenson, Jane and Sharon M. Stroick. A Policy Blueprint for Canada's Children. Ottawa, CPRN Reflexion, 1999. Jenson, Jane and Sherry Thompson. Comparative Family Policy: Six Provincial Stories. Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. Michalski, Joseph. Values and Preferences for the "Best Policy Mix" for Canadian Children, Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. O'Connor, Pauline. State of the Evidence on the Effectiveness Of Policies and Programs for Children. Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. O'Hara, Kathy. Comparative Family Policy. Eight Countries' Stories. Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. Phipps, Shelley. An International Comparison of Policies and Outcomes for Young Children. Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. . Outcomes for Young Children in Canada: Are There Provincial Differences? Ottawa: CPRN, 1999. Stroick, Sharon M. and Jane Jenson. What is the Best Policy Mix for Canada's Young Children? Ottawa: CPRN, 2000.


Recipients ofLaidlaw Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Studies in Law 1984-1991 JL.

Michael Alexander

Juliet Guichon

Mary Condon

Peter Strahlendorf

William Conklin

Barry Wright

Margot Young

Marie-Claire Belleau

Jody Freeman

Diane Herman

Gillian Lester

Allan MacDonald

Moran Mayo

Teresa Scassa

Luc Tremblay

Michael Wright

Richard Goossen

Mary Ellen Turpel

Joan Gilmour

Rosemary Coombe


A Case History: The Laidlaw Foundation's Relationship With Pollution Probe November 21, 1973 Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw, c/o The Laidlaw Foundation, 60 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario

Dear Nick: I am looking forward to meeting with you at 12 o'clock on December 7th, in Dr. Don Chant's office. He is located in Room 432 of the Ramsey Wright Zoological Building on Harbord Street at St. George. As we discussed, the purpose of the visit is for you to meet with some of the energetic people from Pollution Probe and explore the possibility of your Foundation supporting their work. For example, they have a noise unit for educational distribution that needs financial support to get off the ground. I am enclosing some of the literature on their noise project. I will look forward to discussing the matter with you and hopefully interest you and the Foundation in their work. Looking forward to seeing you. Kindest regards, Gage H. Love President




September 15, 1975 Mr. Monte Hummel, Co-ordinator, Pollution Probe at the University of Toronto, The Pollution Probe Foundation, 43 Queen's Park Crescent East, Toronto 181, Ontario. Dear Monte, In the first place, let me assure you of my continuing personal sympathies with and admiration for Pollution Probe. In the second place, however, I must indicate that Laidlaw Foundation has many higher priorities. Now you will understand that our modest support of $500.00 for the Noise Abatement Project last year represents fairly the scale of support we might offer to you at this time. Recognizing that your present undertakings are on a wide front, we have decided to contribute $2,000.00 on this occasion. We would not want you to expect annual support at this level. Cordially yours,

R.G.N. Laidlaw President



September 29th, 1975

Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw, President, Laidlaw Foundation, Suite 203, 60 St. Glair Ave. East, Toronto, Ontario M4T IN5. Dear Nick: Thank you very much for your donation in support of our work. We were pleasantly surprised, and I must say I felt a real boost of confidence to know that we have your personal sympathies. It has always been my view that the weird bearded guy with an inscrutable twinkle in his eye and a brass horn in his ear harbours some good advice for us, and I hope we might profit from any questions or suggestions you have for us over this next activity year. For our part, we'll do our best to keep you informed as our efforts progress. Sincerely,

Monte Hummel Executive Director MHrnm encl.



Laidlaw Foundation & Pollution Probe Dec 7, 1973

Jan. 22, 1974 Sept. 15, 1975 Sept. 21, 1977 Oct. 2, 1978 Sept. 24, 1979 Oct. 9, 1980 Nov. 23,1983

Dec. 13,1984 Feb. 20,1990

Nov. 20,1991

July 17,1992 Dec. 16,1992

March 26,1993

March 14,1994

Dr. Nick Laidlaw meets with Gage Love, Sr., Dr. Don Chant (both board members of Pollution Probe), and Monte Hummel (PP Executive Director) at Don's office at the U of T to discuss Pollution Probe's (PP) work Laidlaw donates $500 to PP Noise Abatement Project Laidlaw donates $2,000 to PP for general program work Laidlaw donates $1,000 to PP for general program work Laidlaw donates $1,000 to PP for general program work Laidlaw donates $1,500 to PP for general program work Laidlaw makes 3-year commitment to PP programs: $1,500 for 1980, $1,750 for 1981, $2,000 for 1982 Laidlaw donates $5,000 to PP for general program work and a "Challenge Grant to be paid in 1984, whereby the Foundation (Laidlaw) will match $i, for every $4, raised from other foundations, to a maximum of $5,000. The purpose of this challenge is to enable Pollution Probe to develop a foundation donor base of at least $25,000 by Dec. i, 1984." Laidlaw donates $3,025 to PP (PP raised $20,125 from other foundations in 1984) Laidlaw donates $5,000 (us) to Atlantic States Legal Foundation Inc. for development of a Great Lakes directory. Pollution Probe is the Canadian Charitable organization acting as trustee for this donation to ASLF. Laidlaw donates $10,000 to Environment North to prepare and circulate a Lake Superior Newsletter. PP acts as trustee for Environment North. Laidlaw donates $14,000 for PP'S "Proposal to develop a Sunset Chemical Protocol for the Great Lakes." Laidlaw donates $20,000 to PP toward the development of a "Citizen's Guide to Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights." Laidlaw donates $10,000 to the Ontario Environment Network. PP acts as the charitable trustee for this donation. Laidlaw donates $10,000 and sets aside $3,000 to be released as required for a "Great Lakes Strategic



Oct. 19,1995 Dec. 15,1998 Dec. 9,1999

Planning Meeting." Pollution Probe's board of directors decides that it will no longer act as a trustee for future charitable donations to other Canadian and U.S. organizations. Laidlaw donates $20,000 to PP for the Mercury Elimination & Reduction Challenge project. Laidlaw donates $50,000 for Phase I of PP'S Healthy Schools - Healthy Children project. Laidlaw donates $20,000 for Our Children's Food Project.


Laidlaw Family Photographs

The Original Settlers 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Walter Laidlaw (1799 -1873), grandfather of the Foundation's founders, settled in Esquesing Township (Milton) in 1819. Walter Laidlaw's house in Esquesing Township (Milton). Andrew Laidlaw (1794 -1874), brother of Walter, also settled in Esquesing Township in 1819. Land sold to establish Boston Presbyterian Church in 1820. Walter Laidlaw donated building materials to the new Boston Church built in 1868.

The First Generation Born in Canada 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Robert Laidlaw (1837-1929), at the age of 30, established the R. Laidlaw Lumber Co. Employees of R. Laidlaw Lumber Company, 1902. Business sign, Shortreed & Laidlaw, Barrie, Ontario. R. Laidlaw Lumber Company — in the background is a poster produced by the Ontario Safety League. Robert Laidlaw. Jessie Cameron Laidlaw (1843-1929).

Children of Robert & Jessie Laidlaw 12. Ann Laidlaw (1878 -1964) and Margaret C. Laidlaw (1881 -1960).



13. Walter C. Laidlaw (1875 - 1962) and Robert A. Laidlaw (1886 -1976), taken in 1897.

Founders of Laidlaw Foundation and Senior Executives of the R. Laidlaw Lumber Co. 14. Walter Cameron (W.C.) Laidlaw in 1900 at age 25. 15. Robert Alexander (R.A.) Laidlaw in 1907 at age 21.

The Children of Robert A. and Julia Cay ley Laidlaw 16. Robert and Jessie Laidlaw with son R.A. Laidlaw and their three grandchildren, Katharine, Robert, and Jeffery in 1919. Roderick is born in 1922. 17. R.A. and Julia Laidlaw's children circa 1923: (from left to right) Robert Gordon Nicholas (R.G.N.) Laidlaw (1916 -1990), Roderick Walter Lukin (R.W.L.) Laidlaw (1922 -1971), Katharine Julia Laidlaw (1914 -1993), Jeffery Cayley Laidlaw (1918 -1944). 18. Robert A. Laidlaw in the 19505. 19. Walter C. Laidlaw at the opening of a new company office in 1954. 20. Katharine Julia Laidlaw, debutante, presented to the Court of King George V in 1933. 21. Jeffery Laidlaw, Julia Laidlaw, and Roderick Laidlaw circa 1937 in front of Moongate. 22. Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw in the 19703 at his daughter Julia's wedding. 23. Roderick Walter Lukin Laidlaw in 1970. 24. Katharine Laidlaw in the 19805.


Laidlaw Foundation — Funded Project Photographs


Janak Khendry Dance Company Gayatri, choreographed by Janak Khendry Dancers: Janak Khendry, Sukalyan Bhattacharya, Viba Malaiyandi, Selvi Vigneswran 2. Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company Beatrice Chancy Actors: Lisa Lindo, Nigel Smith Photo Credit: Guntar Kravis 3. The National Ballet of Canada Blue Snake by Robert Desrosiers Dancers: Marline Lamy and Raymond Smith Photo Credit: Andrew Oxenham 4. Puppetmongers The Ballad of Tamlin Actors: Ann Powell. Andrea Kuziol, David Powell Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann 5. Ballet Creole Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann 6. Tarragon Theatre 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, written and performed by Ted Dykstra, Richard Greenblatt Photo Credit: Lydia Pawelak












Tarragon Theatre Lion in the Streets, written by Judith Thompson Actors in foreground L-R: Tracy Wright, Clare Coulter Background: Robert Persichini, Jane Spidell, Anne Holloway Photo Credit: Lydia Pawelak The National Ballet of Canada Nataraja, choreographed by Constantin Patsalas David Nixon with dancers from the National Ballet of Canada Photo Credit: Andrew Oxenham Theatre Passe Muraille Metamorphosis of a Shadow Conceived, designed, and directed by Jan Komarek Photo Credit: Jacques Oule da da kamera Monster, created by Daniel Maclvor & Daniel Brooks Actor: Daniel Maclvor Photo Credit: Guntar Kravis Yvonne Ng Blue Jade Choreographer/Dancer: Yvonne Ng Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann Daniele Desnoyers Du souffle de sa tourmente j'ai vu Choreography: Daniele Desnoyers Dancer: Heather Mah Photo Credit: Michael Slobodian Corpus Dance Projects Dusk Dances by Sylvie Bouchard & David Danzon Photo Credit: Gary Mulcahey Young People's Theatre Beo's Bedroom by Ned Dickens Actors: Caitriona Murphy and Jean Yoon Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann Opera Atelier Acteon by M.A. Charpentier Choreographer/Dancer: Jeanette Zingg Photo Credit: Linda Corbett Productions Inc.



16. Canadian Opera Company The Golden Ass composed by Randolph Peters, libretto by Robertson Davies Performers: Rebecca Caine, Kevin Anderson Photo Credit: Michael Cooper 17. Theatre Columbus The Attic, The Pearls and 3 Fine Girls, written by Jennifer Brewin, Leah Cherniak, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alisa Palmer, and Martha Ross L-R: Leah Cherniak, Martha Ross, Ann-Marie MacDonald Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann 18. Toronto Dance Theatre Cactus Rosary, choreographed by Christopher House Dancers: Carolee McLaren, Naoko Murakoshi Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann 19. Toronto Dance Theatre Fjeld, choreographed by Christopher House Dancers: Graham McKelvie, Crispin Readhead, Sean Marye Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann 20. Roseneath Theatre Health Class, written and performed by David S. Craig & Robert Morgan Photo Credit: Howard Chang 21. United Generations of Ontario Intergenerational Programs 22. Pollution Probe Environmental Education Covers 23. Livia Daza-Paris Silent Sky/cielo silente, 1998 Photo Credit: Jean Desjardins 24. Concordia University, The Institute in Management & Community Development, 1999 Summer Institute

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Bernhardt, Karl S, et al. Twenty-Five Years of Child Study: the development of the program and review of the research at the Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, 1926-1951. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951. Bourgeois, Donald J. The law of charitable and non-profit organizations. Toronto: Butterworths, 1990. Braithwaite, Max. Sick Kids: The Story of the Hospital for Sick Children. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974. "Canada's Oldest Lumberman Expires." Canadian Lumberman, i August 1929. Canadian Directory to Foundations and Grants, ijth ed. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, 1985. Canadian Fund Raising Directory. Toronto: Canada Grants Service, 1997. City of Toronto Report Card on Children. Toronto: Toronto Children's Services, Metro Hall, 1999. Cohen, Randy. "Ethicist." Sunday New York Times Magazine, 20June 1999. Conway, Jill. True North. Toronto: Random House, 1994. Dobson, David. Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America 1625-1825, Vol I-V. Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1985. Drache, Arthur B.C. Canadian Taxation of Charities and Donations. Don Mills: R. de Boo, 1987. . "Charities, Public Benefit and the Canadian Income Tax System, A Proposal for Reform" Working paper, September 1998.



Fraser, George MacDonald. The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the AngloScottish Border Reivers. London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1971. French, Gary E. Barrie, A 19th Century County Town. Elmvale, Ontario: East Georgian Bay Historical Foundation, 1984, revised 1993, Guillet, Edwin C. Early Life in Upper Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963. . Pioneer Inns and Taverns. Toronto: Ontario Publishing Co., 1958. Hall, Michael and Laura MacPherson. Building on Strength: Improving Governance and Accountability in Canada's Voluntary Sector. Ottawa: The Panel on Accountability and Governance in the Voluntary Sector, February, 1999. Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. History of Boston Presbyterian Church, Esquesing Township 1820-1975. Halton: Boston Presbyterian Church, 1978. History of the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company Ltd., as told by W.C. Laidlaw to R.W.L. Laidlaw, 3 May 1956. Hogg, James. "Letter from the Ettrick Shepherd." Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, 20 March, 1820. Institute of Child Study. Prospectus. August 1998. L'Institut Roeher Institute. Evaluation of Laidlaw Children at Risk Program, Draft Final Report. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation, December 1996. Johnson, P.T. "Remarks, Service of Thanksgiving, Upper Canada College, 11 June, 1976." Hospital for Sick Children Files, Toronto. Jones, A. and R. Rutman. In the Children's Aid: J.J. Kelso and Child Welfare in Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. Jones, Donald. "A Shy Giant Among Toronto's Benefactors." Toronto Star, 4 November 1989. Keay, John and Julia Keay, ed. Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: HarperCollins, 1994. Kieran, Sheila. The Family Matters: Two Centuries of Family Law and Life in Ontario. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1984. Laidlaw Family History. Toronto: The Archives of Ontario, undated. Laidlaw Foundation Archives. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation. Laidlaw Foundation Minute Book, Volumes 1-18. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation. Laidlaw Foundation Report i%o-i