Thomas George McNall (1874-1953)
From Merchant to Mayor
This active business and civic leader came west from Ontario in 1907. He soon became manager of George Weston Limited and in 1914 purchased the company and formed his own wholesale company, McNall and Company.
Thomas’ greatest contribution to Regina was in the area of civic politics. He served as a councilor for 17 years and as mayor in 1945 and 1946. The focus of his political interest was in the area of city utilities. McNall Place was named in recognition of his contributions to Regina’s growth.
A native of Creemore, Ont., Thomas attended school there before pursuing studies at Strathford Model School where he received a teaching certificate. He taught in McLellan, Ont., for a few years, and during that time met Henrietta McLeod (1879-1926). They were married in 1898.
About 1900, the McNalls moved to Toronto where Thomas took a sales position with George Weston Limited, a biscuit and candy firm. In 1907, the family came to Regina when Thomas was promoted to manager of the new Weston Limited branch. In 1914, he purchased the Weston business and formed his own wholesale company, McNall and Company Limited, of which he was president and manager. He sold the firm to the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1950, but continued as the corporate director of the Bay firm until his death.
Thomas was very active in Regina politics. A city alderman from 1926 to 1944, he became mayor in 1945 and was re-elected in 1946. He was nominated as a federal conservative candidate for Regina before the 1940 election. However, civic and business interests forced him to resign his candidature. Thomas decided to retire from the sphere of civic politics when his term as mayor ended in 1946.
During his tenure in civic politics, his chief interest was to improve public utilities. He served for many years as chairman of the utilities committee on city council. He was also closely connected with the Regina Exhibition Association for many years, serving on the executive and finance committee (1933-1945), the advertising committee (1935- 1949), and as director in 1933. A member of the Loyal Orange Lodge, the Assiniboia Club, the Elk’s Lodge, the Wa Wa Temple Shrine, and Westminster United Church, he also helped establish the Regina Citizen’s Band in 1946 and was named honourary president when its name was changed to the Legion Band in 1949.
Among his many achievements, Thomas introduced the five-cent street railway fare in 1943. Jovial and good-natured, he took the interests of Regina to heart.