From "Montreal History
and Gazeteer to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892
Was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1819, and when he was in his twenty-first year came to Canada, establishing himself shortly afterwards at Montreal, where so distinquished and honorable a business career awaited him. His father having adopted commerce in Edinburgh, the son resolved to try his fortune in the same sphere of activity in our new country. He entered into the iron and hardware trade, and remained connected with the same till the time of his death, acheiving a wide measure of success. Mr. Darling married Miss Davidson, of Edinburgh, and there were eight children by the union, two of whom died in infancy. Two girls grew to maturity, one of whom married Dr. G.W. Ross, of Montreal, and died suddenly within a year of her marriage; the other died unmarried. Four sons grew up with their father's business, and were associated with him as partners. William Darling and James Darling remained in Montreal, Andrew Darling and Thomas J. Darling went to Toronto, and took charge of the business there while William Darling, the subject of this memoir, continued up to the time of his death a partner in both firms. He was the eldest brother of Henry W. Darling and Robert Darling, of Toronto, and of Thomas Darling and Adam Darling, of Montreal.
The business of the two houses which Mr. Darling controlled reached every part of the several provinces, and while it's style never changed, it's method of operation always brought credit to the deceased founder for honourable and upright dealing. Since 1840, he has been constantly and prominently identified with the commercial and political interests in Montreal. For many years he was a member of the Council of the Board of Trade, and for several terms it's president. When the Merchants Bank was in trouble several years ago, such was the confidence of his fellow business men in Mr. Darling's clear-sightedness, that he was called by unanimous voice of the shareholders to take part in the management of the Bank. It was largely due to Mr. Darling's influence that George Hague was called to this Bank, and the deceased merchant was thereafter Mr. Hague's right-hand man. In 1878, Mr. Darling was the Liberal candidate for Montreal West, when he was defeated by M.H. Gault. Mr Darling was an intimate friend of the Hon. Alexander MacKenzie, Hon. Edward Blake, and the late Hon. L.H. Holton. On commercial law, his opinion was regarded as second to that of no lawyer in the Dominion, and he was largely concerned with Mr. Abbott in framing the Insolvancy Act that was repealed in 1879. He was selected by the MacKenzie Government as commissioner to expropriate lands for the enlarged Lachine Canal, and so well was his work appreciated, that on the change of Government Sir John MacDonald retained him in that position till his duties were completed. He died at his residence at Hochelaga, on the 18th of November, 1885, of inflammation of the lungs.
The character of Mr. Darling was the very highest, and he was a man of splended abilities. Modesty is often associated with men of higher worth, and this was eminently so in the case of Mr. Darling, and, as pointed out by a leading newspaper after his death, his shyness often kept him in the background when his talents would have taken him to the front.
At a meeting of the directors of the Merchants Bank of Canada, the following resolution was passed :-
Council of the Board of Trade of Montreal passed the following : '
Darling was often consulted by his brother merchants and was frequently
called as arbitrator between them, as well as for the Government in disputes
that would otherwise have been carried before the higher courts in the
Dominion. He was much devoted to farming and gardening, and these occupations
he carried on to some extent at his residence, Bloomfield