National Gallery of Canada saddened by death of Harrison McCain
Ottawa, Canada - March 19, 2004
Le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada attristé par la mort de Harrison McCain
It is with great sadness that the National Gallery of Canada has learned of the passing of Harrison McCain, former chairman of the Galleryís board of trustees. McCain died last night in a Boston hospital. He was 76 and had been in declining health for some time.
McCain served as chairman of the National Gallery's board of trustees from 1999 until 2002, the same year he stepped down as chairman of McCain Foods Ltd. The National Gallery thrived during his term, mounting the hugely successful Gustav Klimt exhibition, as well as Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape, Alex Colville: Milestones, and Krieghoff: Images of Canada. The museum also expanded its collection of Canadian art by acquiring contemporary works by Colville, Brian Jungen, Christopher Pratt, Geneviève Cadieux, Betty Goodwin, Robert Murray, Ed Burtynsky, David McMillan, Micheline Beauchemin, Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham. In addition to providing leadership, McCain contributed financially to the National Gallery of Canada Foundation as a member of the Partners' Circle.
" Harrison McCain will be remembered for his invaluable leadership during his term as chairman of the Board of Trustees," said Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. "His passing represents a great loss to the Canadian artists and art institutions he championed."
Harrison McCain and his brother Wallace founded McCain Foods in 1956, eventually turning their small frenchfry processing plant in Florenceville, New Brunswick, into an international frozen-food empire with annual sales of $6.4 billion. His success as a businessman allowed McCain to become a major philanthropist, funding art galleries, libraries, university scholarships and even curling rinks. His social, cultural and economic contributions earned him numerous honours: He was a Companion of the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick, and was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He earned honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick, McGill University, Dalhousie University and l'Université de Moncton, and was named an Honorary Life Member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada.
McCain sat on numerous boards and councils, including the Bank of Nova Scotia, Petro-Canada, the Canada Development Corporation and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. He was a major supporter of art and artists from Atlantic Canada, such as Colville and Pratt. In addition to sitting on its board of directors, he funded a new wing at Fredericton's Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 1995 as a tribute to his late wife, Marion "Billie" McCain. In spite of his failing health, Harrison McCain attended the opening there last Saturday of the Marion McCain Atlantic Art Exhibition, a showcase of works by contemporary artists from the Atlantic provinces.
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