Duncan, Linton LLP is the oldest independent law firm in Waterloo Region and is one of the oldest law firms in all of Ontario. The firm’s history dates back to 1860 – when Ontario was still “Canada West”, Kitchener was still “Berlin”, and the City of Waterloo was just a small village.

This year marks Duncan, Linton LLP’s 160th anniversary of serving Waterloo Region. In celebration of this anniversary (and because current circumstances have made any other form of celebration in 2020 impractical), the firm will be publishing a series of blog posts that spotlight the biographies of partners of the firm who were leaders in Waterloo Region’s business, legal, and political life. Our second instalment focuses on Arthur B. McBride.

Arthur B. McBride

Arthur Byron McBride was born in York Township, Upper Canada on November 21, 1861. He was educated in Toronto, was called to the bar in 1885, and originally practiced in Toronto. In 1887, McBride married Agnes Kumpf, the daughter of Christian Kumpf, who was Mayor of Waterloo from 1879 to 1880 and again from 1888 to 1889.

An excerpt from the Canada Law Journal dated July 1, 1885, details McBride’s call to the Bar.

By 1889, McBride had moved his practice to Waterloo and went into partnership with Frederick Colquhoun, whom our first biography blog post focused on.

McBride’s legal career included serving as solicitor for the Town of Waterloo, as well as serving as Clerk of the Town of Waterloo from 1897-1912. In addition, McBride acted as solicitor for the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Dominion Life Assurance Company (a company which his father-in-law Kumpf was instrumental in establishing in 1889, and which was purchased by Manulife in 1985).

McBride was in partnership with Edward Percy Flintoft from 1906 until 1908 or 1909, at which time Flintoft left to join Canadian Pacific Railway. Flintoft was a well-regarded lawyer himself, ultimately heading up Canadian Pacific’s legal department and holding the title of vice-president and general counsel. He earned plaudits from the House of Commons standing committee on railway and telegraph lines, was recognized in “Prominent People of the Province of Quebec”, and was appointed King’s Counsel in 1928.

The listing for McBride & Flintoft from the Farmers and Business Directory for the Counties of Halton, Waterloo and Wellington, 1906. Although our office has moved since 1906, we remain on Erb Street, a short walk from where McBride practiced.

Here, McBride is shown along with the other Executive Committee members, in a souvenir programme from “Saengerfest” (a German song festival), held in Waterloo from August 12 to 14, 1902.

From all accounts, McBride was an active member of the community and several organizations such as the Odd Fellows and Masons (he apparently was in high demand at Masonic functions as an entertainer who was known for his monologues and anecdotes).

Another one of McBride’s notable contributions to Waterloo Region was his service as a director of the Globe Furniture Company. After 21 years of business in Walkerville, Ontario, Edward Seagram, Aloyes Bauer and John Letter bought the company and moved it to Waterloo in 1910. The company manufactured church and school furniture, including school desks and complete science equipment. The company gained notoriety when it was chosen to build replacement furniture destroyed in the 1916 parliament building fire in Ottawa. Globe Furniture Company soon opened one of the largest factories in Waterloo Region, and became famous for its artistic wood carvings which were exported all over the world. Despite its success, the company struggled to keep up with the times and the shift away from hand-carved wooden items. The company began to falter, and by 1968 the factory was closed after Globe Furniture went bankrupt.

McBride passed in 1931 and is buried beside his wife Agnes in Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener. The firm continued to bear his name until 1952, being known as McBride and McGibbon from 1928-1952. McBride’s legacy is remembered through a boardroom named in his honour at the firm.

For 160 years, and through several name changes, our firm’s focus has been to provide sound legal advice, supported by prompt, effective and responsive service to our clients. Duncan, Linton LLP truly has a history of excellence and a reputation for excellent legal services. The loyalty of our clients is the firm’s proudest asset. To contact a member of our team of experienced lawyers, call us at (519) 886-3340 or contact us online.

Duncan, Linton LLP wishes to thank the Waterloo Historical Society, the Waterloo Public Library, Explore Waterloo Region, the University of Waterloo Library Special Collections, and Waterloo Region Generations whose online and archival content was of great assistance in drafting this post.