David Armitage Gillies
1882 - 1967
David Armitage Gillies was born in Carleton Place in 1882 to Mr. and Mrs. James Gillies. He was educated in Carleton Place and in 1901 enrolled as an undergraduate at Queen's University in the Faculty of Art and graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1905. In 1947 he was elected by the graduates to the Board of Trustees at Queen's University and was a member at the time of his death. In 1951, he was appointed to the Investment Committee of the Board, serving actively until 1965 when he was unable to attend further meetings of the Committee.
David Gillies entered the family lumbering business, and insisted on learning the operation from the "ground up". Beginning as a clerk in the lumber camps at Gillies Depot, in the Cobalt District, he was one of the last to experience life in the old "camoose" lumber camps. He also rode one of the last rafts to go down the Ottawa River, through the Chat's Falls to the lower reaches of the river. He later went to the Braeside headquarters of the firm, where his grandfather, John Gillies, had moved the lumber business he founded near Lanark in 1842. In 1943, Gillies Brothers published a history of the firm, One Hundred years A-Fellin written by Charlotte Whitton
At Braeside he occupied various office and executive posts and served as President of the firm (Gillies Brothers & Co. Ltd.) from 1938 to 1958. He was also the Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1961. The company reached the status of one of greatest lumber producers in Canada and was sold in 1963 to Consolidated-Bathurst Limited.
A leader in his field David Gillies served in top executive capacities in many lumbering organizations, provincially and nationally. He was President of the Canadian Lumberman's Association for the year 1945-1946 and was the first recipient of the CLA Wood Award. He also presided over the Canadian Institute of Forestry and served as a director of the Quebec and Ontario Forests Industries Associations, and of the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company.
In community service endeavours David Gilles was a former Board Chariman and a Charter Member of the Board of Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital and later, he fostered both personally and financially, the development of the Arnprior and District Museum and Arnprior Library.
In 1965 he was honoured as "Arnprior's Citizen of the Year" by the Eastern Ontario Development Council for his "outstanding contribution to his community."
On the mountaineering front, David Gillies was one of the earliest members of the Alpine Club of Canada. In 1907 he attended the club's second annual camp at Paradise Valley and graduated to active membership with the ascent of Mount Aberdeen. In 1912 he was a member of the ACC trip to Strathcona Provincial Park and made the first ascent of Elkhorn, the second highest mountain on the island. This trip was led by Edward Wheeler. Unfortunately, Gillies had to lay aside his mountaineering ambitions as the running of the family business took up most of his time and energy. He did, however, attend briefly the club's Golden Anniversary Camp at Glacier in 1956.
David Armitage Gillies died in Arnprior, Ontario on November 3, 1967, at the age of eighty-five after a lengthy illness.
Wheeler, A.O. "The Alpine Club of Canada in Strathcona Park." Canadian Alpine Journal. Vol. 5. The Alpine Club of Canada. Banff, Alberta. 1913. p. 82-95.
Wheeler, E.O. "Mount Elkhorn, Strathcona Park." Canadian Alpine Journal. Vol. 5. The Alpine Club of Canada. Banff, Alberta. 1913. p. 44-48.
"Tribute Is Paid To Late D.A. Gillies." The Arnprior Chronicle. [Arnprior, Ontario] (November 8, 1967) p. 1.
In Memoriam. Canadian Lumberman's Association Industry News. #331. December 1967. p. 11.
Obituaries. "David Gillies." Canadian Alpine Journal. Vol. 51. The Alpine Club of Canada. Banff, Alberta. 1968. p. 259-261.
Wonders of Strathcona Park." Alberni Advocate. [Alberni, B.C.]
(September 6, 1912) p. 1.
Minute of Appreciation.
David A. Gillies. Queen's University Board of Trustees.