Where Your Donations Go

J.-Louis Lévesque

(1911-1994)

J.-Louis Lévesque was born in Nouvelle, in the Gaspé region, the fourth in a family of five children. His mother, Mary Catherine Greene, of Irish origin, showed great determination in that era by marrying a French Canadian, John Lévesque.

Troubles hit the family: that same year, when Louis was nine years old, his 11-year old brother Raymond died from typhoid fever, and his sister Hectorine died at five years old from meningitis.

After graduating from the parish school in Nouvelle, he had to wait two years for the construction of the Séminaire de Gaspé to be completed before beginning his classical studies. The austerity of the seminary led him to choose St. Dunstan's College in Prince Edward Island, which was attached to the Université Laval, to finish his Bachelor of Arts in 1934.

He left his first job in a branch of the Provincial Bank of Canada in Moncton, only to find himself the following year in the collateral loans department in the head office of the same bank in Montréal. At thirty, he founded an investment firm, Interprovincial Credit. It was the beginning of a brilliant business career. In 1963, Interprovincial Credit merged with the firm L.G. Beaubien to become Lévesque, Beaubien.

In 1954, Mr. Lévesque founded his first holding company, Trans-Canada Funds, and then a second in 1962, the Fonds F-I-C. (for Finance, Industry and Commerce). With these two firms, his assets multiplied. He acquired or managed a number of major companies including the Industrial Alliance and La Prévoyance insurance companies, the Blue Bonnets Raceway, the Richelieu Raceway, Windsor Raceway Holdings, Fashion Craft, Joliette Telephone, Lallemand Yeast, Grays Velvet Ice Cream, Alfred Lambert, and Princeville Furniture, to name but a few.

In 1961, he created the J.-Louis Lévesque Foundation to give scholarships to young people to permit them to pursue classical studies, and to encourage the advance of research in hospitals.

Along with his extensive financial activities, for many years Mr. Lévesque was also a director of Air Canada, Canadian National, The Provincial Bank of Canada, and General Trust of Canada. He was also a member of the Borden Royal Commission on Canada's energy resources, and was Chancellor of the Université de Moncton from 1967 to 1972.

In 1981, in Calgary, Mr. Lévesque was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, which was created by Junior Achievement of Canada to recognize Canadians who distinguish themselves in the business world.

In 1986, Mr. Lévesque was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame for his involvement and success in horse racing. At the time, he was the only Canadian to be inducted into two Halls of Fame.

He was the recipient of honorary doctorates in political economy from the Université de Montréal, in commerce from Université Laval, in law from St. Dunstan's University of Charlottetown, P.E.I., in civil law from the Université de Moncton and in law from Mount Allison University of Sackville, New Brunswick. Mr. Lévesque was also a Member of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great.

His attentive, devoted and loving presence with his wife throughout her illness is one of the best examples of the human values he received from his family.

Share |