PHILIP DANSKEN ROSS*
1858-1949

From: "The Canadian Who's Who 1936-1937"
Ed. Sir Charles G.D. Roberts & Arthur Leonard Tunnel, Times Publishing Co., London Eng.,
Murray Printing Co. Toronto, 1936


ROSS, Philip Dansken ; publisher; journalist; was born in Montreal, P.Q., 1 January 1858 ; son of the late Philip Simpson Ross and Christina Dansken, natives of Scotland. He was educated at private schools, McGill University (B.A.Sc. 1876) and Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, (hon. LL.D. 1919). He married Mary Beasley Littlejohn, oldest daughter of Mrs. Harriet Littlejohn, Toronto on 19 November 1891.

He has been managing editor and chief officer for the Journal Publishing Company, Ottawa, Ont., since 1886; joined the Montreal Star, 1880 ; subsequently on the Toronto Mail; assistant editor of the Toronto News, 1882-85 and managing editor of the Montreal Star, 1885-86.

He has been Alderman, Ottawa, 1902-03 ; Vice-president of the Board of Trade, 1902 ; Secretary of the St. Andrew’s Society of Ottawa, 1888; a deligate to the Imp. Press Cong., London, Eng, 1909 ; a promoter of the Canadian Associated Press, Ltd., 1904, and later a founder of the Canadian Press. Also a member of the Ottawa Hydro-Electric Board, 1916-34. 

Lieut.in the Prince of Wales Rifles, 1880 ; once excelled as an athlete in the stroke of champion four-oared crews of Canada (Toronto Rowing Club), 1883, and (Lachine Boating Club), 1886. He initiated and became the first president of the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association; was a trustee of the Stanley Cup, emblematic world’s professional hockey championship and the Minto Challenge Lacrosse Cup in 1901. He was also a member of the Canadian Olympic Games Committee in 1908.

He defended the cand. for Ottawa to Ont. Leg., general election 1904 ; opposed the Taft-Fielding reciprocity compact, 1911. Member of the Board of Governors, McGill University. Author of “Retrospects of a Newspaper Person”, 1931. His portrait was painted in oils by Ernest Fosberry, R.C.A. 

Politics: Conservative 
Religion: United Church 
Recreations: golf, curling 
Clubs: Rideau (Ottawa) ; University Club (Montreal) ; Royal Ottawa Golf National (Toronto)
Office: Journal Bldg., Ottawa, Ont.
Home: 17 Blackburn Ave., Ottawa, Ont.
 

“An admirable citizen, a credit to his profession, and a capable master of detail. He is a self-made man, having started at the bottom of the ladder and by his splendid qualities become the head of the most quoted paper in Canada.”—Sault Ste.Marie Star

From: "The Ross Clan"
by: John Alistair and Rosemary Ross, c1978
Reprinted with permission from Ian Ross

P. D. Ross, who was born in Montreal, January 1, 1858, was educated at McGill University as an Engineer. He was a sportsman fron his college days. He made the McGill football team in his first year, 1875, and captained it for two years. In 1878 he led the team to victory against Harvard in the Dominion's first international game. He organized and played right wing for the college hockey team, won the singles sculling championship of Quebec and twice stroked four oared crews to Canadian Championships, starred as a Lacrosse player, as a paddler in war canoes and was an expert gymnast, fencer and boxer. 

P. D. persuaded Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor General of Canada, to offer the Stanley Cup for hockey championships. He was appointed by His Excellency, Lord Stanley, as one of the first two trustees of the Stanley Cup, an office which he held for life. He and his four brothers held an Annual Golf and Curling competition against the five Hodgson brothers of Montreal for 25 consecutive years, until the death of one of the members put an end to the matches.

P.D. started his newspaper career in 1879, after a year as Engineer in a job with the Montreal Harbour Commission, as a $5.00 a week reporter on the Montreal Star and in six months was City Editor. After short periods with the Toronto Mail and Toronto News, he returned in 1888 as Managing Editor of the Montreal Star.

In 1886 he bought a half interest in the Ottawa Journal for $4000.00 which he had borrowed from his Mother - all the money she had. However, he found out that all he had bought was a half interest in the name of a losing newspaper, as there were no Assets and his Partner, Mr. Woodburn, owned the press on which the paper was printed, was printed with Mr. Woodburn's type and the plant was weekly leased from Mr. Woodburn. The circulation was at that time 1700, of which 600 were deadheads - namely free papers to somebody. He tried to sell his share back to Mr. Woodburn, who offered him nothing and so he decided to leave and accepted a job as editor of a weekly paper, at then very remote far North West, the Fort MacLeod Gazette. Before leaving he had joined the Board of Directors of the Central Fair, and Charles Magee, President of the Bank of Ottawa, was also President of the Fair, but they did not meet very often. In 1891, as he was about to leave, Mr. Magee sent for him and asked him to take charge of the gates at the Fair for that year. P. D. explained about the affairs of the Ottawa Journal and that he was leaving. Mr. Magee asked why he did not buy out Mr. Woodburn's half interest, to which P. D. said that the paper was bankrupt and anyhow he had no money. The outcome was that Mr. Magee endorsed a $4,000.00 Note for P. D. to buy out Mr. Woodburn, who decided that if the first half interest had been worth $4,00.00 then he should get another $4,000.00 for the second half interest and not a cent less. This is the story of the founding of the very successful Ottawa Journal, of which P. D. was President for 60 years, at the end of which time he disposed of the Journal to a group of his editorial associates, including Senator Gratton O'Leary and I. Norman Smith.

P. D. was a promoter of the Canadian Associated Press in 1904 and one of the founders of the Canadian Press. He was a former President of the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association. In 1931 he declined appointment as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, although in 1940 he didn't hesitate a minute when asked to preside over a Citizens' banquet for Ottawa Rough Riders Dominion football champions for the year.

A Conservative in politics, he was President of the Liberal Conservative Associates of Ottawa in 1928 - 1929. He had sought a seat in the Ontario Legislature in 1904 but had been defeated. He was a member of the City Council in 1902 and 1903. An advocate of public ownership, he was instrumental, with others, in establishing the Ottawa, Municipal Hydro Plant. He was defeated for the Ottawa Mayoralty in 1914. In 1930 he headed a Provincial Royal Commission on Public Welfare and was also elected to the Dominion Council of Boy Scouts and President of McGill Graduates and Association (Dominion). In 1919 Queens University bestowed on him the degree of Doctor of Laws and in 1932 McGill nominated him to the Board of Governors and in 1936 he was given the LLD by McGill.

In 1931, the Oxford Press in Toronto published his book, "Retrospects of a Newspaper Person"' which is a fascinating book of short stories dealing with his life. The forward reads as follows -
 

"These stories are given because each one seems to me to have a moral, with a few exceptions perhaps. As to those that may be thought exceptions - well - I like them."

 In 1974 P. D. Ross was elected posthumously to the Canadian Hall of Fame.


ROSS - HODGSON  -  A STORY OF FRIENDSHIP 
Written By P. D. ROSS

"From sixty to fifty years ago, ten boys were passing through Montreal schools in successive ranks, friends and allies, two squads of five brothers each.

A long time afterwards, when indeed the ten averaged much past middle age, they happened to get together in a golf game at a Montreal Club. They decided then to have an Annual Golf Game every summer, an Annual Curling Match every winter, family versus family.

These Annual encounters, five brothers on each side, duly proceeded without a break for twenty-five years afterward, each meet followed by a dinner at which a number of friends joined in.

The matches were eventually abandoned, death having stepped into the game.

Before that time the combined ages of the ten brothers numbered more than six hundred years.

The morals begin in this way : All these ten were keenly adicted to athletic sport in their early days - indeed, in their later days too. All of the ten figured in Canadian Amateur championship sport. They contributed at one time or another members to teams or crews holding Canadian Championships in Lacrosse, Football, Hockey, Rowing and Paddling, and they held several individual athletic Championships of Canada.

The morals proceed these :

A passion for athletic sport in youth and later does not hurt health. All these ten have had long and vigourous lives, all, save two, have vigourous life as I write.

A passion for athletics does not interfere with business success. All ten have been successful business men.

A love for athletics does not knock out public spirit. Several of the ten have given exceptional public service at their own expense.

A love for athletics does not interfere with domestic happiness. All ten have found that, in a love for athletic sport splendid friends are found, who last through life.

One recalls the prayer of Robert Louis Stevenson "Give me health, a modest competence, and, O Lord, give me friends."

Five of the brothers were named Hodgson : five, including myself, Ross."


See also:
his brothers - J.G. RossJ.W. RossA.F.C. Ross and W.G. Ross

*Researching Phillip Dansken Ross.........
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