100 Years, 100 People: 1909 - 1919
William Maxwell Aitken
William Maxwell Aitken was born in Maple, Ontario, Canada in 1879. He was a lawyer by training, but later became a financer, writer, publisher and politician. In 1909 under the umbrella of his Royal Securities Company, he founded Calgary Power Company, Limited. As the company’s first president, Aitken concentrated early efforts on the development of the Horseshoe Falls hydro station.
In 1916, while living in England, Aitken served as Minister of Information and Minister of Supply under British Prime ministers Lloyd George and Winston Churchill and was raised to the House of Lords, with the title First Baron of Beaverbrook. He died in 1964 in Surrey, England.
Herbert Samuel Holt
Herbert Samuel Holt was an Irish civil engineer who immigrated to Canada in 1875 at the age of 19 to start a career in railway design and construction. Holt participated in the building of the Calgary and Edmonton Electric Railways.
He became a Director of Calgary Power in 1910 and was named President later that year. It was under his administration that the company’s first generating project, the Horseshoe Falls hydro station, was commissioned and put into service.
Holt also served as president of the Royal Bank of Canada for 26 years. In 1915, he was knighted by King George V. He died in 1941 in Montreal.
Richard Bedford Bennett
Richard Bedford Bennett became the most famous all of Calgary Power leaders, serving a term as Prime Minister of Canada during the worst of the Great Depression years (1930 – 1935). Born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1870, Bennett was a teacher, lawyer, businessman and a politician.
In 1910, Bennett became a Director of Calgary Power and just a year later he became President. During his leadership projects completed included the first storage reservoir at Lake Minnewanka, a second transmission line to Calgary and the construction of the Kananaskis Falls hydro station.
After retiring from politics, Bennett moved to England, and was elevated to the House of Lords. He died in 1947.
Alfred Ernest Cross
Alfred Ernest Cross was born in Montreal in 1861. He attended the Montreal Business College and then went to veterinary school. In 1884, at the age of 23, A.E. Cross came to Alberta. The following year he started the A7 Ranch west of Nanton, Alberta; the largest ranch in the province. Cross also founded the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company in 1892, and was president until his death in 1932.
A.E. Cross became a director of Calgary Power in 1910 and in 1912 became one of the “Big four” who founded the Calgary Stampede. TransAlta’s connectivity with the Stampede started early. Today we continue to embody the same western values promoted by the Stampede: integrity, hard work, and support for those in need.