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20 September 2008

Ralph Connable (1873 - ?) retailing chairman.

Connable was born in Chicago and educated at Albion College in Michigan. He moved to Toronto in 1915 to be Chairman of the Canadian division of the F.W. Woolworth retailing chain. He expanded the number of stores in Canada from 10 to 100.

He was also ‘father’ of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Canadian universities – Connable had facilitated the first chapter at Toronto University in 1922.

He employed Ernest Hemingway as a companion for his lame son, and gave Hemingway his start as a writer by introducing him to the Toronto Star.

Ralph was something of a joker: 'His favorite escapade was to dress like a woman and walk into the men's locker room of the staid Lambton Golf Club. While men shouted and tried to hide behind doors, Connable would whisper, "I'm looking for my gentleman friend." '
  • Donald Jones. “Built by a wealthy practical joker, house once was Hemingway’s home”. Toronto Star June 11, 1977.

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