W. Galen Weston Sr., head of the Weston empire that included Loblaws, Zehrs, No Frills, T&T and a number of other supermarket banners and Weston Bread, has died. He was 80.
His son,, Galen G. Weston, took over from him as head of the companies five years ago, just a W. Galen Weston Sr. took over from his father when he was 75.
Born in England in 1940, he earned a degree at the University of Western Ontario in the 1960s. After a stint in Ireland, where he met his wife and had two children, he made Canada his main base of operations in the 1970s.
He took Loblaws from number two - behind Dominion Stores - to the top spot among Canadian supermarkets. His son expanded by buying Shopper's Drug Mart.
I recall a report in the 1970s that showed a corporate chart that spread over two newspaper pages. It has owned more than 150 companies, including about a dozen bakeries in Canada, a big bakery and grocery conglomerate in England, National Tea company of Chicago, E.B. Eddy match and paper company, Neilson Dairy, Cadbury, the 19-plant BestFoods Bakery in the United States, etc., etc.
He is survived by his wife, Hilary, who was Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002, his son and his daughter, Alannah.