Our Founder

The combination of hockey and Harold Ballard was a natural development. He was born July 30, 1902 in Toronto. From a very tender age he and his father designed and manufactured the world famous Ballard tube skate. Harold Ballard was an Olympic athlete representing Canada as the 1928 flag bearer.

It was a short step from here to participation in all aspects of amateur hockey. He managed the 1932 Allan Cup winning Toronto Nationals. In 1936 and 1950 he managed the Allan Cup winning Toronto Marlboros. He coached and managed the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1955, 1956, 1964 and 1967. In 1955, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the Ontario Hockey Association.

As a business leader, Harold Ballard became one of three principal owners of Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1962-63 season and, nine years later, became a principal owner and chief executive of Maple Leafs Gardens Limited. In 1963, 1964 and 1967 as a member Sliver Seven, he was successful in bringing the Stanley Cup to Toronto. He became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder category in 1977. The CFL was grateful when the financially failing Hamilton Tiger Cats were given new life when Harold became owner. The Tiger Cats won the Grey Cup in 1986 and were Eastern Conference winners in 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1986. In 1987 Harold became a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Many consider him a flamboyant and controversial figure who carved a place for himself in hockey and football history. Deeply conscious of the game's overall welfare, he was an active and respected participant in the affairs of the CFL and NHL.

Despite the intensity he displayed in his role as a powerful NHL owner, Ballard had a warmth and compassion for those less privileged than himself. He was always keenly aware of the need to help others, and during his lifetime, he helped many quietly and without fanfare.

Among the benefactors of Ballard's generosity were the Timmy Tyke hockey tournament, Whipper Bill Watson's skate-a-thon, the first Special Olympics in 1970 and many organizations devoted to helping physically disabled or underprivileged children. Harold Ballard was honoured by many including the Canadian Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled.

Harold was perhaps one of the most philanthropic individuals of his time. His sense of personal responsibility toward society was expressed in the disposition of his own fortune. He left virtually all of it to the foundation that bears his name, creating one of Canada's largest private philanthropies.

Read more of the rich history of the Foundation.