Dunn Road

Thanks Sir James

Sir James Dunn Stratford-Perth Archives

Dunn Road runs south off Packham Avenue in the Downie Industrial Park on the west side of Erie Street. It's the only street running off Packham Avenue, which it connects with Line 29 (formerly Gibb Road), on Stratford's southerly boundary.

The location of Dunn Road in the industrial park is appropriate because it is named for Sir James Hamet Dunn (1875- 1956), who rose from humble beginnings in the small town of Bathurst, N.B., to become president and chairman of the board of the Algoma Steel Corp. in Sault Ste. Marie. He reorganized and saved that company, and ruled it with an iron hand for the last 20 years of his life.

In 1944, with the help of his third wife, Marcia Anastasia (Christofor) Christoforides (Lady Dunn, see below), and one other large shareholder, he acquired full majority control of Algoma which he still held at the time of his death. Through Algoma, he also bought control of Canada Steamship Lines and thus added to his possessions 50 Great Lakes freighters, seven passenger vessels and three tugs, as well as two elevators, five shipyards and two hotels. At his death, his estate was valued at $68 million all in Algoma shares.

Death duties amounted to $35 million, some of which was used to fund the Canada Council in 1957. The Stratford Festival has received significant support from the Canada Council through the years, making the benevolence of James Dunn worthy of some note in Stratford. With notes from Stanford Dingman

Footnote: Lady Dunn, on the death of her husband in 1956, became the beneficiary of a large estate and also the administrator of a fund to be used for charitable purposes. One of her late husband's closest friends was his fellow New Brunswicker, Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook who acted as her advisor. The two developed a very close friendship and Lord Beaverbrook, who had been a widower for many years, came to have great respect for her. In June 1963 the eighty-four-year-old Beaverbrook and the fifty-three-year-old Lady Dunn married. ]Lord Beaverbrook had already used his fortune to greatly benefit the citizens of the province of New Brunswick in Canada. By virtue of their marriage, Aitken was able to name her the legal overseer of a large part of his estate that he wished to go to further charitable works.