ALLISTON, ON, Sept. 20 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust, the
Simcoe County Historical Association, Stevenson Farms and the Essa Historical
Society unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate Theodore P. Loblaw.
Loblaw - whose name is synonymous with a grocery store chain in Canada -
was a pioneer in the industry. Born in 1872 at Elmgrove in Essa Township,
Loblaw became an orphan as a teenager and was adopted by his maternal
grandparents, William Stevenson and Elizabeth Pringle. He went to live with
them on their farm near Alliston.
Loblaw eventually moved to Toronto where he quickly developed what would
become a lifelong partnership with J. Milton Cork. Together, the men
established a unique new grocery retail experience. Loblaw, having become the
manager of the United Farmers of Ontario Co-operative, discovered the
self-serve grocery concept during his visits to the United States and was
determined to see if this system would work in Ontario.
"Loblaw will be remembered not only for his innovative merchandising
methods, but also for his philanthropy," said The Honourable Lincoln M.
Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "The Ontario Heritage Trust
has unveiled nearly 400 plaques to innovative and remarkable people over the
years. Commemorating Theodore P. Loblaw in this way is a fitting tribute."
The first Loblaw Groceteria opened in Toronto in 1919. Within 15 years,
the chain had grown to include over 100 stores throughout Ontario and over 50
in the United States. Yet, Loblaw never forgot his roots. In 1926, he donated
money to the Town of Alliston to build the Stevenson Memorial Hospital, named
in honour of his grandparents. He also gave money for the town to pave its
"This new provincial plaque celebrates Theodore Loblaw's business
leadership and generosity, which helped build stronger communities across
Ontario," said Culture Minister Aileen Carroll.
Loblaw died in 1933. In addition to his pioneering methods that have
altered the way we shop, he is also remembered for his charity. As well as the
donations he made to the Town of Alliston, Loblaw gave generously to the
Toronto Kiwanis Club, and - with his business partner, J.M. Cork - donated
$1 million to support the construction of Toronto Western Hospital. "The
Simcoe County Historical Association (SCHS) is delighted to be a partner in
recognizing Loblaw and his accomplishments," said Dr. B.E.S. Rudachyk,
President of the SCHS. "We are particularly delighted that the plaque will be
erected on the grounds of Stevenson Farms, the homestead of Loblaw's
The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario,
dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's
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For further information: Gordon Pim, Marketing and Communications
Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust, Telephone: (416) 325-1484, E-mail: