Know Your Neighbours -Charles Daley

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Photo Attribution: St. Catharines Museum N-2170

Charles “Tod” Daley was born to James and Agnes Daley on July 27, 1890 in St. Catharines as the oldest of six children. In 1905 he left school to work as a carpenter’s apprentice, and when the apprenticeship was completed, he began to work for R. B. Williams, a contractor and home builder, eventually becoming a foreman.

Daley served in WW1 from 1915 – 1918. He enlisted with the Fourth Division Ammunition Column of the Canadian Army in 1916, and served 3 years in WWI, touring France and Belgium and returning to St. Catharines in 1918. Upon his return, Daley entered the grocery trade, first renting and then building his own store. He operated the grocery store until he sold it in 1943. He married Leola Elizabeth (Dynes) on January 1st, 1921, with whom he would go on to have four children.

Daley first entered politics in 1933 as an alderman. He was elected city mayor in 1939, serving for five consecutive terms. In 1943 he was elected to the Ontario Legislature for Lincoln County. Premier George Drew then asked him to fill the position of Minister of labor. Daley accepted and subsequently resigned as mayor of St. Catharines. He served 19 years as labour minister, known for introducing the 48 hour work week. In addition to being Minister of Labor, he also held the chairmanship of the Niagara Parks Commission.

In addition to politics, Daley was founder and president of the St. Catharines Lacrosse Association. Daley served as minister of labour for 18 years, until 1961, and as a minister without portfolio until 1962, retiring from legislature. He died on August 10, 1976 at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto at the age of 86.

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