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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

COL. R.S. MCLAUGHLIN

Inducted in 1963

Member Details

Date of Birth: September 8, 1871
Place of Birth: Enniskillen, Ontario
Date of Passing: January 6, 1972
Sport: Horse Racing
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1934

Queen’s Plate - Horometer

Breeders’ Stakes - Horometer

1942

Peter Pan Stakes - Fairaris

1946

Queen’s Plate - Kingarvie

1947

Queen’s Plate - Moldy

1950

Sold his Parkwood Stable to E.P. Taylor

1963

Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

1968

Named a companion of the Order of Canada

1977

Inducted into Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as a Builder

Honoured Member COL. R.S. MCLAUGHLIN
Inspire

Story


One of Canada's most famous entrepreneurs—an automobile innovator at the turn-of-the 20th-century—was also responsible for one of this country's most successful horse-racing stables. Robert Samuel McLaughlin was born in Enniskillen, Ontario (north of Oshawa) on September 8, 1871. His father, Robert McLaughlin Sr., was the founder of McLaughlin Carriage Works. At 21, McLaughlin and his older brother, George, were made partners in the family business. As the new century began, McLaughlin and his brother convinced their father to begin production of the latest technology, the automobile. In 1907, the McLaughlin Motor Car Company was founded, with Sam McLaughlin as president. Partnering with American firms such as Buick and Chevrolet, McLaughlin built his company over the next decade as the carriage works were shut down. In 1918, McLaughlin Motors merged operations with General Motors to form the General Motors Company of Canada. McLaughlin was named president, where he remained until 1945 when he stepped down to become CEO, a position he held until 1972. Throughout his long and successful business career, McLaughlin pursued many philanthropic and sporting interests. As a young man, he had shown an interest in cycling and yachting, but horses were his first love. His participation in equestrian events began in 1926 when he entered horses in the Cobourg Horse Show. For the next decade, his horses, often with one of his daughters in the saddle, competed in shows in Ontario, Quebec, and U.S. McLaughlin later recalled that they captured over 1,500 ribbons. With his daughters no longer interested in competing, and at the encouragement of a friend, McLaughlin turned to race horses. He founded Parkwood Stables north of Oshawa. It became one of Canada's most successful stables of the 1930s and '40s. McLaughlin imported race horses, such as Fairaris, who won the 1942 Peter Pan Handicap at Belmont Park in Parkwood colours. These horses sired a string of successful thoroughbreds. Horometer was one of McLaughlin's most successful horses, winning both the Queen's Plate and the Breeder's Stakes in the summer of 1934. Horometer was a prohibitive 1-20 favourite in the Plate and won by four lengths while setting a new race record. In the mid-1940s, Parkwood captured two more Queen's Plate titles with Kingarvie and Moldy winning in consecutive years. In 1950, McLaughlin, now in his late-70s, sold Parkwood Stables to another Canadian horse-racing legend, E.P. Taylor. McLaughlin remained a long-time director of the Ontario Jockey Club and also pursued a number of philanthropic ventures. In 1951, the McLaughlin Foundation was established, which among other gifts contributed the McLaughlin Planetarium to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum. McLaughlin, who was made an honourary colonel in the 11th Ontario Regiment and was affectionately called "Colonel Sam," was named a companion of the Order of Canada in 1968.


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