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Pat Burns fonds

1882-1985, predominant 1896-1960

Physical Description:
9.8 m of textual records. -- 290 photographs

Patrick Burns, 1856-1937, was born in Oshawa, Ontario, son of Michael Byrne and Bridget Gibson Byrne. With little formal schooling, he set out for Manitoba and homesteaded near Minnedosa in 1878. He began to freight goods from Winnipeg and trail neighbours' cattle to the Winnipeg market. By 1885 he was buying cattle full-time, and in 1886 he got his first supply contract. His business grew with the railway boom and he expanded into ranching, packing, and the retail meat trade. In 1890 he settled in Calgary, Alberta and built an abattoir, supplying beef from his own ranches. He expanded into British Columbia in 1895. He bought out his British Columbia partner in 1901 and built a large plant and abattoir in Vancouver. He married Eileen Ellis, 1873-1923, of Penticton in 1901, and they had one son, Thomas Michael, 1906-1936. Many of Burns' ranches were sold in 1917 to finance his businesses but he later acquired others. He also invested in mining such as the Northern Syndicate Ltd., although these investments did not have great results. By First World War he was established internationally and had become one of Canada's most successful business people. He was one of the "Big Four", who founded the Calgary Stampede. He was chairman of Burns Co. Ltd., and president of P. Burns Ranches Ltd., P. Burns Holdings Ltd., P. Burns Agencies, Limited and Burns Foundation Ltd. In 1928 he sold his packing business but retained the ranches including Bow Valley, C.K., Ricardo, Circle, Walrond, Bradfield, Lineham, Glengarry (44), Bar U, Flying E., 76, Two Dot and Rio Alto. Burns became a senator in 1931 and died in Calgary. Senator Patrick Burns School in Calgary was named in his honour in 1961. He was later inducted into the Calgary Business Hall of Fame and Canadian Business Hall of Fame and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1963. In 1960 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Burns as a National Historic Person. For further information see Pat Burns, Cattle King / Grant MacEwan. -- Saskatoon : Western Producer Prairie Books, 1980 and Warren Elofson's article, "Patrick Burns", in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, online at

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of ranching records (1896-1985): correspondence, agreements, inventories, appraisals, financial statements, ledgers, maps, purchases and brand records; oil records (1911-1953): correspondence, leases and oil company prospectuses; legal records (1882-1959): mortgages, agreements and leases; investment records (1896-1955): correspondence, mortgages and agreements; records of Burns' companies (1898-1981): correspondence, ledgers, memorandum of association, financial statements and minutes; real estate records (1942-1973): correspondence, reports and maps; records of Burns' estate (1932-1983): will, reports, correspondence, minutes of executors' meetings and ledgers; personal account ledgers (1912-1936); share certificates (1903-1941); and collected samples of Metis scrip and North-West Mounted Police veterans' land scrip (1880-1911). Includes photographs of Alberta oil wells, Burns' ranches, the meat industry, and aerial views of Bow River Valley and Fish Creek.
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Adams River Lumber Co., Ainsworth Oils, Alberta Consolidated Oils, Alert Oils, Alliance Investments Co., Alsask Chemical Products, Anglo-American Exploration, Anglo-American Oil Co., Askalta Oils, Bar S Ranch, R.B. Bennett, Benton Oils, Big Valley Ranch, A.M. Bowlen, Buffalo Head Ranch, Isabelle Burnada, Fred W. Burns, Burns Coal Mines, Bush Petroleum Corporation, Canadian Club of Great Britain, Canadian Colonization Association, Canadian Exploration, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) lands, Canadian Percheron Horse Breeders' Association, Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Carnation Silver Lead Mines, Carstens Packing Co., Frank Collicutt, Commonwealth Petroleum, Consumers' Co-op Refineries, Col. P.J. Daly, Count de Foras, Neil J. Duggan, Eden Valley Ranch, Edward Prince of Wales, Earl of Egmont, EP Ranch, Thomas Farrell, George Findlay, Findlay Ranch, Franco-Oils, Fraser Valley (BC), Clem Gardner, Henry Haffner, E.D. Hardwick, Hays Co., H.O. Heimbecker, Norman Hindsley, Home Oil, W.R. Hull, R. Frazier Hunt, Hunter Valley Oil Co., Indian supply farm, irrigation, Jenkins Groceteria, Lacombe Home, Lancashire Oils, George Lane, Lazy H. Ranches, Leader Petroleums, Henry Le Vasseur, J.C. Linton, Frank McHugh, McHugh Brothers Ltd., Neil McLean, McLeod Oil Co., Majestic Oils, William Mayhew, Mennonites, Minto Ranch, John T. Mitchell, James F. Moodie, Reuben Mottishaw, Mule Creek Cattle Co., Northern Syndicate, North West Commercial Travellers Association, Paramount Oils, Patrick Oils, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), Ranchmen's Gas and Oil Co., Red Cross, Rialto Oils, Julius Rickert, Sen. D.E. Riley, G.T.C. Robinson, Ross Ranching Co., Royalite Oil Co., Sanata Catasma Development Co., Scottish Petroleum, Karl Selzler, Seneca Oils, Sentinel Oils, songs, Southern Alberta Pioneers' and Old Timers' Association, Stampede Ranch, Stockmen Oils, Transcontinent Oil, United Oils, Urban Oil Co., warble fly, Wayne Oils, Guy Weadick, Western Alberta Oil Co., Western Ranches, Weymarn Petroleums, and Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Burns Foundation, P. Burns Ranches Ltd., Burns Foods Ltd., and Edward B. Nowers, 1960-1987, and purchased from Aquila Books, 2004.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-160, M-1434, M-2376, M-2910, M-4204, M-6912, M-7220, M-7771, PA-241, PA-779, PA-3068, PA-3644, PB-658, PB-745, NA-1149, NA-1705, NA-2017

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