Here are more New Brunswickers who have gained National and International acclaim. Have we missed someone? Please drop us a line and let us know. Also check our “NB Facts” page for others not listed here.
Pat Dolan Darrah (1936 – 2020) was born in Saint John and was one of NB’s most prominent industry and community leaders and activist for over 60 years, Pat was a voice and powerhouse behind numerous national, provincial and community initiatives including the development in Saint John of Market Square, the 1985 Jeux Canada Games, civic and provincial bicentennial celebrations, the Imperial Theatre, Harbour Station, the Aquatic Centre, the Canada Games Foundation, Port Development and most recently, the establishment of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.
Joseph Louis De Grasse ( 1873–1940 ) Hollywood film actor and director. Born in Bathurst he was the elder brother of actor Sam De Grasse. Joe began his career as a journalist. In 1910, he acted in his first motion picture but his real interest was in directing. He directed 86 films during his career. In 1915 he became a founding member of the Motion Picture Directors Association.
Samuel Alfred DeGrasse (1875-1953) was born into a French Canadian family in Bathurst Sam is the younger brother of Director Joseph DeGrasse. Sam immigrated to the USA around 1880 as a young child. 19874-Sam decided to give acting a try. He traveled to New York City and appeared in his first motion picture in 1912. At first he played standard secondary characters but when fellow Canadian Mary Pickford set up her own studio with her husband Douglas Fairbanks, he joined them in Hollywood. He portrayed the villainous Prince John in Fairbanks’ 1922 Robin Hood. Afterward, he began to specialize in villainous roles. He was the uncle of successful cinematographer Robert DeGrasse.
Sir Howard Douglas ( 1776-1861 ), born in England; Lieutenant-Governor in Chief, 1823-1831; encouraged agriculture, steam navigation, lighthouse construction; in 1828, founded King’s College, now the University of New Brunswick.
Sir James Dunn (1874-1956) financier, industrialist was born in St. Peter’s, now Bathurst in 1874. Dunn attended Dalhousie Law School 1895-98 and, after stints as a lawyer in Edmonton and Montréal, turned to investment banking. After a 1911 fire destroyed the bells of Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, James Dunn donated the replacements for the original 1849 five-ton bells. In 1921 he was knighted for wartime services. In 1935 he gained control of the bankrupt ALGOMA STEEL INC. Dunn died in St. Andrews in 1956.
Yvon Durelle ( 1929–2007 ), born in Baie-Ste-Anne. He was a champion boxer. Durelle’s light-heavyweight championship fight against the great Archie Moore on December 10, 1958 at the Forum in Montreal, is one of the most memorable fights in boxing history. Durelle took up professional wrestling in 1961.
Eldridge (Gus) Eatman (1880-1960) was born near Fredericton and lived most of his life in Saint John. He went on to become a world professional sprint champion from 1904 to 1907. Eatman ran at a time when black people were not accepted in the ranks of amateur track and field, and few ran professionally. He kicked off his stellar career in 1903 when he beat world champion 120-yard sprinter Tom Keen at Moosepath in Saint John. Eatman continued his string of successes in North America and in Europe, winning the Powderhall Trophy, emblematic of the world championship, in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1906. In the First World War, he fought on the front lines with a British regiment
Sarah Emma Edmonds was a young woman from Magauadavic who cropped her hair, donned a uniform, and became a soldier in the American Civil War. No one ever knew that he was a she. Until she told them.
June Eikhard (1932- ) Born in Moncton. She began her musical career with her husband, bassist Cecil Eikhard, in the ’50s. They were both part of a small-time band called the Tantramar Ramblers. June became the first female to ever place in championship class in Shelburne, Ontario’s Canadian Old Time Fiddler’s Contest.
Shirley Eikhard (1955- ) Born in Sackville. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. Eikhard is the daughter of the well-known fiddler June Eikhard born Marguerite June Cameron, Moncton. Shirley appeared on CBC TV’s Singalong Jubilee and was signed by Capitol Records at age 14. During 2003 Eikhard won a SOCAN Classic Award for her composition “Something to Talk About”, a major hit for Bonnie Raitt.
Theodore Harding Estabrooks was born in Wicklow in 1861. He went into business in 1894 on Dock Street in downtown Saint John. He was a local business leader that came up with a great idea… produce and pack a quality blended tea that was consistent from cup to cup. He founded Red Rose Tea in 1890. In 1929, Red Rose introduced tea bags for the first time.
Muriel McQueen Fergusson, PC OC QC ( 1899–1997 ) was a Senator and the first woman Speaker of the Senate. Born in Shediac. She was the first woman elected, in 1950, to Fredericton City Council and was the first woman deputy mayor in 1953. She was appointed to the Senate in 1953 and was the first woman Speaker of the Senate from 1972 to 1974. She retired in 1975.
Gilbert Finn ( 1920-2015 ), born in Inkerman Ferry; businessman; president and later chairman of the board of Assumption Mutual Life Assurance Company (1969- 87); has served on numerous boards and commissions, and as Lieutenant-Governor (1987-94).
John Fisher (1912 – 1981) was born in Sackville. A law graduate from Dalhousie University, he was a reporter and broadcaster in Halifax before joining the CBC as a “roving reporter.” From 1943 to 1955, he travelled throughout the country, broadcasting its wonders on “John Fisher Reports,” a popular, live, quarter-hour program heard 3 times a week over the national radio network.
Hugh John Flemming ( 1899-1982 ). Born in Peel. He was a politician and the 24th Premier of New Brunswick. The son of James Kidd Flemming, Premier of New Brunswick from 1911 to 1914. Flemming’s family ran a lumber mill in the village of Juniper.
Walter Edward Foster ( 1873–1947 ) Born in St. Martins, he was a politician and businessman and the 17th Premier of NB. His government established the first department of health in 1918, gave women the right to vote in 1919 and created the province’s power commission in 1920.
Robert Foulis ( 1796-1866 ), born in Glasgow, Scotland; civil engineer, inventor, artist; invented steam fog-horn, which hoots automatically in foggy weather; in 1825, established New Brunswick’s first iron foundry in Saint John; founded a School of Arts in 1838.
Raymond Fraser (1941- ? ) is a Canadian author born in Chatham and attended STU. In 2009 he received the inaugural Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Arts. In 2012 he was made a member of the Order of New Brunswick, for his contributions to literature and New Brunswick’s cultural life.
Réginal Charles Gagnon (Cayouche) was born in Moncton in 1949. He moved with his mother to Boston, when he was only 13. He returned to Canada in 1979, where he traveled as a nomad for eight years, “with my backpack and my guitar”. He recorded and released several albums and became a well-known Acadian singer-songwriter
Patsy Gallant ( 1948- ) born in Campbellton, she is a pop singer and musical theater actress. Of Acadian ancestry, she has recorded and performed in both English and French. She had her own TV variety show in the 70’s.
Gilbert White Ganong (1851–1917 ) born in Springfield, was a politician, the 14th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and co-founder of Ganong Bros. Limited, candy makers in the town of St. Stephen.
William Francis Ganong (1864 – 1941) born in Carleton, now West Saint John. At the age of seven, the family moved to St. Stephen where his father, James Harvey Ganong and uncle Gilbert Ganong established the now-famous Ganong Brothers candy factory. He was a botanist, historian and cartographer who named Mount Carleton. He married his friend Poet Bliss Carmans sister.
Morton S. “Mort” Garson (1924–2008) was born in Saint John. He was a Canadian-born composer, arranger, songwriter, and pioneer of electronic music. He is best known for his albums in the 1960s and 1970s that were among the first to feature Moog synthesizers. He also co-wrote several hit songs, including “Our Day Will Come“, a hit for Ruby and the Romantics.
Clarence Geldart ( 1865-1935 ) He was an actor and director, known for A Woman of Paris (1923), Why Change Your Wife? (1920) and The Roaring Road (1919). He appeared in 127 films between 1915 and 1936. He is sometimes credited as C.H. Geldart or Charles H. Geldart.
Violet Amy Gillett (1898-1996) was born in Liverpool England and came to Canada with her family in 1908. She entered the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and did illustrations for Doctors Banting and Best at the time of their discovery of insulin. She was appointed the Principal of the Department of Fine and Applied Art at Saint John Vocational School. Gillett was also active in the Maritime Art Association and authored several book. She received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (1977), and the Governor General’s Medal (1977), and was named a member of the Order of Canada on June 23, 1976.
Glen Percy Raymond Glenn ( 1907-1960 ) was born in Chipman. Founder of Glen Glenn Sound Systems, he was known for his involvement in the sound department of more than 300 television shows and 20,000 movies. Glenn and his wife, Marie, were vacationing and were both killed when their car plunged off a high dirt road into the water of Newcastle Creek.
Myles Francis Goodwyn was born in Woodstock in 1948. He is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, lead vocalist, main songwriter, and founding member of the veteran Canadian hard rock band April Wine. As the longest serving (and only original) member, Goodwyn has led the band from its modest garage band roots to multi-platinum sales.Following the band’s peak years during the 1970s and early 1980s, Goodwyn disbanded the group to pursue a solo career.
Charles Gorman ( 1897-1940 ) A popular man in Saint John throughout the 1920’s. Although suffering serious leg wounds during world war I, Charles still became a three time World-Record holder in the 1920’s. In 1926, thousands of residents gathered around the banks of Lily Lake to see Charles Gorman take home the 220 yard and 440 yard medals in the World Speed Skating Championship.
Mary Grannan ( 1900–1975 ), Maggie Muggins was the creation of Mary Grannan, a Fredericton school-teacher who claimed her story-telling grew out of an early aversion to teaching arithmetic to her class at the Devon Superior School. She appeared on radio and tv, and wrote 29 books and numerous other weekly radio shows.
Daniel (Danny) Frederick Grant (1945-2019) born in Fredericton is a retired left winger, who played in the NHL for parts of fourteen seasons. In his career, Grant notched 263 goals and 535 points while playing for the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings, and played in three All-Star Games (1969, 1970, 1971).
Julia Catherine (Beckwith) Hart ( 1797-1867 ), born in Fredericton; novelist; wrote the popular romance St. Ursula’s Convent when she was only 16. Released in 1824, this was the first work of fiction by a Canadian-born author to be published in Canada
James R. Hartley ( 1833-1868 ) was an MLA for Carleton County, from 1867 to 1868. He was also a member of the Senate of UNB. He was a resident of Woodstock. He was influential in selecting the route of the Intercolonial Railway in New Brunswick. In 1874, the town of Hartland was named to honour him.
Frederick John Charles “Buster” Harvey ( 1950- 2007 ) was a professional hockey player who played 407 games in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts, and Atlanta Flames. The Grant-Harvey Centre in Fredericton is named after him and longtime friend Danny Grant.
Richard Hatfield (1931-1992 ), born in Woodstock; politician; premier of New Brunswick (1970-1987); won re-election three times; introduced legislation guaranteeing equality of French and English linguistic communities; personal and political scandals brought his party to a crushing defeat in 1987.
Sir John Douglas Hazen ( 1860-1937 ), born in Oromocto; lawyer, judge, politician; member of Canadian House of Commons for Saint John (1891-96); premier of New Brunswick (1908-11); member of federal cabinet (1911-17); Chief Justice of New Brunswick (1917-35); stood up for the rights of Maritime Canada in Ottawa.
George Hector was born in Elm Hill near Gagetown in 1911. At an early age he became fascinated by the banjo. His father bought him a second hand banjo. He didn’t take lessons. He began his career by playing local barn dances as a part-time hobby for very little money, and became a neighbourhood favourite. His ubiquitous presence at such events inevitably led to bigger opportunities, such as the “Don Messer Radio Show” in 1934 and his own “Maritime Farmer Barn Dance show” on CHSJ radio that started in 1938 and went for twenty years.
Jack Humphrey ( 1901-1967 ), an internationally known painter of the 1930’s and 40’s. Renowned for his watercolour paintings of landscapes and people, using Hans Hofman’s cubist and expressionist techniques. Mr. Humphrey had lived in Saint John, N.B.
John Peters Humphrey ( 1905-1995 ) Born in Hampton, he was the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a native of New Brunswick. He wrote the first draft of what eventually became perhaps the most important human rights document in history. The Declaration was unanimously passed by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
Kenneth Colin Irving ( 1899-1992 ), born in Bouctouche; businessman; served as pilot in World War I; rose quickly from car salesman to owner of a service station chain that launched a business empire of over 300 companies. Irving holdings range from gasoline, pulp and paper, trucking and forestry, to radio stations and newspapers, with an estimated total worth of $6 billion.
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