Hiram Walker, born on July 4, 1819 in East Douglass, Massachusetts, was an American entrepreneur and businessman. He was the founder of the Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd. Distillery in Windsor, Ontario. Walker is also known for having purchased land in Windsor, forming what would come to be known as Walkerville, Ontario (which is presently a neighbourhood in the Windsor area).
In 1838, Walker and his family moved from Boston to Detroit, Michigan. There, he started a successful grocery business and learned the process of distilling cider vinegar. In 1854, he produced his first barrels of whisky and, in 1856, aimed to move operations from Detroit to Windsor. After purchasing several plots of land in the Windsor area, Walker built a distillery and flour mill to allow him to continue to produce high-quality whisky. This product, known as Walker’s Club Whisky, was immensely popular, and Walker’s distillery quickly became one of the largest in Canada. However, Walker was forced to include “Canadian” in the product’s name due to legislation requiring that all products imported to the United States indicate the county in which they originated. By 1910, Walker’s Canadian Club Whisky was Canada’s top whisky export. He continued to purchase land in Windsor, and, by 1890, this area, known as Walkerville, was incorporated as a town. To the residents of Walkerville, he provided paved streets, street lighting, water, and fire and police services. Walker was also responsible for the construction of a railway which, by 1888, extended from Kingsville to Walkerville and allowed for the transportation of local goods to America.
Walker passed away on January 12, 1899 in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 84.
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