Sir William Mackenzie was born in Kirkfield in 1849. He was the eighth of nine children. Born in a log cabin with mud floors, he rose from total poverty to become one of the wealthiest men in Canada. His accomplishments were many, including global hydroelectric projects, street transportation systems, and shipping lines. His influence was felt all over the world.
In Canada, along with his partner, Sir Donald Mann, Mackenzie was the only private individual to build and own a transcontinental railway. We know it today as the Canadian National Railway. He also transformed early Toronto by electrifying the system of horse drawn trams to create the first streetcars. The TTC of today was born out of Mackenzie’s vision and enterprise.