Waterloo Region Generations
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George Alexander "Alexander" Forbes
Male 1897 - 1986


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  • Birth  2 Jan 1897  Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender  Male 
    Religion  1911  Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Presbyterian 
    Military  1914  WW1 Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    WW1, Private 
    Elected Office  1930  Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    councillor of Hespeler 
    Name  Alex. Forbes 
    Residence  Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-83572 
    Died  1986 
    Buried  New Hope Cemetery, Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I83572  Generations
    Last Modified  6 Oct 2017 

    Father  Mayor George Duthie Forbes,   b. 30 Oct 1861, Puslinch Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother  Amy V. Ellis,   b. 24 May 1870, Brantford, Brant Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID  F21752  Group Sheet

    Family  Millicent Lyall Buck,   b. 1899, Brantford, Brant Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1973 
    Married  19 Jan 1922  Brantford, Brant Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F24253  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • After the death of his father George Duthie Forbes he became director of a number of companies in which his father had an interest including Simplicity Products where he was active until 1970. He was active in the community and during WWII worked with the Hespeler Patriotic Society. A life member of the Waterloo Historical Society, he is best remembered for his conservation work involving migrating water fowl. He created the Forbes Sanctuary by excavating three depression connected to a stream. He developed a nesting box for the endangered wood ducks and was in part responsible to the saving the Wood Duck from extinction.

      Cambridge Mosaic , Jim Quantrell, 1998, City of Cambridge [abbreviated snippet from original text in book]

      _____________________

      George Alexander "Alex" Forbes, the son of George and Amy Victoria (Ellis) Forbes, was born Jan. 2, 1897 on his family's Hespeler estate. After completing his education at Hespeler Public School and Ridley College in St. Catherines, Alex flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 1. Upon his return, he joined the family business; sorting wool at the mill and learning from the bottom up. In 1928, just a few months before the Stock Market Crash, his father sold the large woollen mill for a hefty sum. Following the death of his father five years later, Alex inherited the family business empire including the directorships of various corporations and insurance & trust companies. He became president of Simplicity Products Co. Ltd. and remained in an active role until the company was sold in the mid 1970s. Although he was obligated to look after the family's business interests, his love was always hunting and fishing. The family maintained hunting lodges in the Sudbury area accessible only by small aircraft and Alex became a crack shot and a champion skeet shooter. In the mid 1950s, Alex noticed that the lakes were becoming "fished out" and the waterfowl population was in sharp decline. He gave up hunting and fishing and turned his hand to conservation work. Alex began stocking fish in the streams on his 240 acre estate and created ponds for a waterfowl sanctuary. Noticing the wood duck population was endangered, he began a restoration program. He purchased several pairs of birds from a local research station and began a breeding program. Together with Pete Robertson and Bill Carrick, Alex collected between 1700 and 1800 eggs for incubation. When they hatched, the birds were turned over to Wayne Azumi, a University of Guelph student, who dispersed them in a 150 mile radius. He also designed, with Pete Robertson, a new knock down nesting box kit that was distributed across Canada and into the United States. Bill Miller, head of the Canadian Wildlife Service, credited Alex with bringing the wood duck back from endangerment. He was also instrumental in the reintroduction of the Canada goose into Ontario. For his work in conservation he became known as "the Birdman of Hespeler". In 1984, the GRCA added his name to their "Honour Roll". Outside of this work, Alex was also very involved in the Hespeler community. He was active with the Hespeler Patriotic Society during WW11, a life member of the Waterloo Historic Society; Executive Member of the 1947 Hespeler old Boy's Reunion, and Honorary Chairman of Hespeler's Centenary Committee. Alex Forbes died on May 2, 1986 and is buried in New Hope Cemetery. (Note: Robert and George Forbes have been inducted into the City of Cambridge Hall of Fame. The bird sanctuary created by Alex Forbes was sold and is now occupied by the Mattamay and Millpond subdivisions).

      Cambridge Citizen 5 Jun 2011 by Lary Turner

  • Sources 
    1. [S143] Census - ON, Waterloo, Hespeler - 1901, Hespeler (Village) D-2 Page 24.

    2. [S392] Census - ON, Waterloo, Hespeler - 1911, Div. 21 Pg. 8.

    3. [S1890] Military - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - Kitchener Public Library WW1 Soldiers Card Index Soldier Information Cards - World War One.

  • Event Map
    Event
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 2 Jan 1897 - Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsReligion - Presbyterian - 1911 - Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 19 Jan 1922 - Brantford, Brant Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsElected Office - councillor of Hespeler - 1930 - Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Hespeler (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - New Hope Cemetery, Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth