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William Henry Davies

William Henry Davies

Canadian entrepreneur
William Henry Davies
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Canadian entrepreneur
Was Businessperson Entrepreneur
From Canada
Type Business
Gender male
Birth 23 June 1831
Death 21 April 1921 (aged 89 years)
Star sign CancerCancer
The details


William Henry Davies (23 June 1831 – 21 April 1921) was a British-Canadian businessman. He established a business packing and shipping salt pork from Toronto, Ontario to the United Kingdom. The William Davies Company grew to be the largest pork packer in the British Empire, giving Toronto its nickname of Hogtown, and introducing peameal bacon.


Davies was born in Wallingford, England, the son of Charles Davies and Rachel Smallbone. He left school at 12 to become an apprentice. Within a decade, he had his own meat-curing and retail business in Reading, England. He married Emma Holtby in 1853 and two emigrated to Toronto in 1854. He started the William Davies Company in 1857. In 1860, he began exporting bacon to England. In 1864, he had his own building for cutting and smoking meats. In 1874, a new building was built near the mouth of the Don River. In 1892, he took on Joseph Wesley Flavelle as a partner in the business. The partnership flourished to the point where the business slaughtered 500,000 pigs per year and the two became millionaires. In 1909, Davies retired from the business, but retained a share of the company. In 1919, Davies' grandson Edward Carey Fox bought the company but it faltered and was merged into Canada Packers (now Maple Leaf Foods) in 1927.

Davies and Emma Holtby had twelve children. After Holtby died in 1906, Davies remarried in 1907 to Rosa Bessie Talbot. After his retirement in 1909, Davies tended to a farm in Markham, and later a farm in Scarborough Township. He was a philanthropist, donating to McMaster University, Brandon College and several hospitals that treated persons with tuberculosis, an affliction his own sons had. William Davies died in 1921, after injuries sustained by being butted by a goat.

Once one of Canada's largest food producers, the William Davies Company not only graced its home city with the "Hogtown" nickname (or epithet), but William Davies also introduced peameal bacon, which continues to be popular in Canada.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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