“No story about Gilbey’s in
The initials “W & A” in the Gilbey Company name stand for the brothers Walter and Alfred Gilbey, who upon returning from the Crimean War in 1856, and after consulting their eldest brother Henry, decided to open a retail wine business. Walter was 26 and Alfred 24. They took into partnership with them Henry Gold and later Charles Gold, both of whom married Gilbey sisters. Next to join the firm were Henry and James Blyth, two sons of the older Gilbey sister, Caroline.
In 1865 the older Gilbey brother Henry, a veteran of 36, joined his younger brothers, also a cousin, Henry Grinling. Thus by 1866, the partnership consisted of eight men – three Gilbeys, two Golds, two Blyths and one Grinling. Today, almost 100 years later, these names continue to make up the board. The Gilbey business flourished under this young aggressive leadership and began to cross international boundaries.
HOW THE CANADIAN OPERATION STARTED (continued from the 1963 Golden Jubilee book)
“Although W & A Gilbey (Canada) Limited was not formed until 1931, the English firm had been represented in Canada by a London-trained man named Charles Preston Douglas, who had traveled for Gilbey’s in West Africa and the West Indies. He married a Canadian girl and had a son Robert S. Douglas who is general sales manager of the Canadian company today.
Known generally as “CP”, it was Charles Douglas who
first suggested that a distillery be built in
“CP” was helped in the planning of the New Toronto
distillery by 24 year old Crosbie Hucks,
who now heads Gilbey operations in
SUDDEN DEATH PROMPTS CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Less than 6 months after the New Toronto plant went into
operation, C.P. Douglas died suddenly.
To replace him a young London-trained man, Thomas G. Fogden,
who had traveled for Gilbey’s, was appointed Canadian
Sales manager. Following a visit to the
New Toronto plant in 1934, Alex Gould wrote of his visit that he and Sir Derek Gilbey found “an excellent team, full of enthusiasm”. Crosbie Hucks was distiller, John S. Napier (now plant manager) was
assistant distiller, R.S. Douglas (now general sales
manager) completed the team. Norman
Penny, the present assistant plant manager, joined the Canadian Company in
1937, after two years of training in
PRODUCTS OF GILBEY’S
In 1933 the New Toronto plant produced Gilbey’s London Dry Gin only and handled distribution for Gilbey’s Spey Royal Scotch. Now they produce and market over fifty items on the Canadian market.
Smirnoff Vodka outsells all others, as does
The former Gilbey site was eventually sold to the Board of Education
for the possible future expansion of Lakeshore Collegiate Institute. There is currently a proposal before the
Economic Development and Parks Committee for a joint venture between the
Toronto District School Board and the Lakeshore Lions Arena to develop the site
into a four-pad ice arena, which includes a redevelopment of
“The proposed arena, which the Lions hope would be
ready by September 2006, would be in the same Kipling and