The McElroy Family of Richmond, Ontario, Canada

This Obituary of Herbert Hood McElroy was published in the Ottawa Citizen, 1956 October 6.

H.H. (Herb) McElroy, CCEA Manager For 25 Years, Passes at 69 In Civic

H.H. (Herb) McElroy, Ottawa's "Mr. Exhibition" for more than 25 years, died last night in hospital after a lengthy illness. He was 69.

Mr. McElroy was one of the widest known and best liked citizens of the Capital. Familiarly known to thousands as "Herb", he numbered his friends from all walks of life, from the humble day laborer to the leaders in the life of Canada.

Several months ago Mr. McElroy entered hospital following a seizure and following treatment he returned to his regular duties at the Central Canada Exhibition Association offices in the Coliseum at Lansdowne Park. But his health again failed and for the first time in years he missed the annual fall exhibition, the 1956 event.

On August 30 last, the CCEA directors appointed Jack Clarke as manager and secretary to succeed Mr. McElroy.

Retained To Help

Mr. McElroy, at that time was named to an advisory position, so that his wealth of experience would be available. The directors also decided that a salary of $10,000 be paid Mr. McElroy in his advisory post.

Even though Mr. McElroy was not at the 1956 Exhibition, his work of fostering the junior farmer department, the oldest such department in Canada, was marked. A huge birthday cake commemorating 25 years of junior farmer effort by the CCEA, under Mr. McElroy's guidance, was baked by Ottawa bakers and it was cut at a party during Exhibition Week to mark the anniversary.

Herbert H. McElroy was the son of the late David McElroy and his wife, the former Joan Hood of Ormstown. Herb was born at Richmond, a town he once described later in life as "the seat of the finest county in the finest valley in the world". When he was five, the family moved to Carp and shortly after to Ottawa.

Herb was educated at Ottawa Public schools and Lisgar Collegiate. On leaving school he entered the old Department of Customs.

On August 14, 1912, he married Katherine Bearman whose family home was on the Richmond Road and is now known as the Moffitt farm.

War Veteran

Prior to the First World war, he was an active member of the 5th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. On the outbreak of war, it became apparent the PLDG would not be one of the cavalry units called up.

Herb, along with six other members of the unit, thereupon volunteered as outriders for the artillery. He was among the first Canadians to go overseas in 1914 as a member of the First Artillery Brigade.

Specializing in signaling, he was promoted sergeant and assigned to staff work. He was wounded in the Second Battle of Ypres. Returning to action, he was subsequently recommended for a commission.

He headed the list in the signaling portion of his officer training and was then sent on a special course to Woolwich in England. After completing this training he was assigned to lecturing other officer trainees on signaling. He returned to Canada after the war as a lieutenant.

Former Alderman

Back in civilian life, Herb entered the insurance field with Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. He also decided to enter municipal politics. In 1921, he headed the poll as Alderman for the old Capital Ward.

He served in this capacity during 1921, 22 and 23 and then was elected controller, retaining that position in 1925, 26, 27 and 28. It was as senior alderman for Capital Ward that his long association with the Central Canada Exhibition Association began. He became a director in 1921 on election to city council.

On May 10, 1928, he was named secretary and manager of the CCEA and since that time has masterminded 23 annual exhibitions. During the years of the Second World War, the exhibition was suspended. There was, however, a small show under canvas in 1941.

Herb McElroy was honored for his service in May of 1953 and promoted to managing director. He occupied over the years, the same position with the Ottawa Winter Fair as he did with the CCEA.

Many Improvements

The Ottawa Exhibition grew by leaps and bounds under the administrative genius of Herb McElroy. He delegated supervision of the sideshows and midway to others of the CCEA directorate but himself took over the grandstand shows and the exhibits sections.

Encouraged by the support of the farmers in the Ottawa area and also to increase the purity of breed of the various classes of farm animals, Mr. McElroy kept plugging for better and more buildings. The most recent building for the exhibition is the Women's Institute Building, erection of which has been approved by the CCEA directors.

The old livestock pens along the canal were abolished due to Mr. McElroy's efforts and the modern livestock building was completed.

Another of his special efforts was the horse show and nightly he could be seen watching the drivers and riders in their performances.

Children's Day was another innovation of the genial "Herb" and he loved to see that special prices and prizes were put in place for Children's day.

Yearly there were new classes for exhibitors, men, women and children. At judging time you could be sure Mr. McElroy was around to watch and sample the more edible delicacies in the cooking and preserving classes.

Never a "joiner", Herb McElroy was much sought after in organizations of every type. His abilities as an organizer and administrator as well as his drive and energy were widely known.


He was a member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club and the Laurentian Club. His favorite, the Jovial Fish and Game Club, he only reluctantly gave up this year after 35 seasons.

In addition, he was a past president of the Canadian Association of Exhibitions and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions and a director of the Royal Winter Fair of Toronto. He was the man behind organization of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations here in 1927 and the Ottawa Winter Carnival of 1930.

Herb had also been associated through the years with many athletics projects. He was former commodore of the old Rideau Canoe Club and a member of the board of many other clubs and teams. He was also a former director of the Ottawa Boys Club.

An adherent of the United Church, he attended St. James Church and enjoyed the unique honor of being named honorary life elder.

He leaves his widow and daughter Joan, Mrs. Donald Adamson of Dartmouth, N.S. and three grandchildren. He also leaves two brothers and a sister, Norman D. McElroy, of Ottawa; Vernor McElroy, of Edmonton and Mrs. R.B. (Clauda) McAmmond of Beamsville. Another brother, Arthur McElroy died in Ottawa not long ago.

The body is resting at Hulse and Playfair Ltd., 315 McLeod Street. The funeral service will be held at St. James Church at . . .