George R. Gardiner

George Ryerson Gardiner, OC (April 25, 1917 – December 7, 1997) was a Toronto businessman, philanthropist and co-founder of the Gardiner Museum,[1] the only museum in Canada devoted exclusively to ceramic art.

George R. Gardiner
BornApril 25, 1917
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedDecember 7, 1997
Resting placeMount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
EducationUniversity of Toronto,
Harvard University
OccupationStockbroker, lawyer, racehorse owner/breeder, art Collector, philanthropist
Known forGardiner Museum
Board member ofGardiner Watson Ltd.,
Toronto Stock Exchange,
Harlequin Enterprises
Spouse(s)2) Helen E. McMinn
Children3, (from 1st marriage)

Early yearsEdit

Gardiner was born in Toronto and educated at University of Toronto Schools ('35), the University of Toronto ('39 B.Comm) and Harvard University (MBA).

Early careerEdit

George Gardiner began his career running a munitions factory during World War II and later started his stock brokerage firm Gardiner Watson Limited which he sold to Dean Witter in 1983. He then opened the first discount brokerage firm in Canada which he sold to TD Bank in 1987. He was also past president of the Toronto Stock Exchange, founder of Gardiner Oil and Gas Ltd. and Scott's Hospitality Inc. which acquired the Kentucky Fried Chicken rights for Canada in 1962.[2]

Following a marriage in which he had three children, he married Helen Gardiner and with her co-founded the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts in Toronto.

Gardiner FarmsEdit

George Gardiner was a major figure in Canadian Thoroughbred horse racing. In the 1950s he established Gardiner Farms, a breeding operation in Caledon East, Ontario.[3] He raced horses in Canada and the United States. Among his notable runners was St. Vincent who raced in the U.S. and who in 1955 set or equaled four course records, including a North American and World record, and was voted that year's American Champion Male Turf Horse.


In 1976, Gardiner won a Sovereign Award for Outstanding Owner. In 1989 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1990, Gardiner's family endowed a chair in his name at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, dedicated to enhancing the teaching of ethics in management. The first holder of the George R. Gardiner Professorship in Business Ethics, Wesley Cragg was appointed in 1992, and was succeeded in 2007 by Andrew Crane.In 2000, he was inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the builders category.[4]


  1. ^ "George & Helen Gardiner". History of the Gardner Museum. 1999. Archived from the original on 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  2. ^ "George R. Gardiner profile". Dundurn Press - Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide. 1999. ISBN 978-1-55002-322-0. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  3. ^ "Gardiner Farms, with photo collection". Moffat Dunlap Real Estate. Archived from the original on 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  4. ^ "George R. Gardiner biography". Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2009-08-26.