Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard


AMBROSE, John Robert, b. 12 March 1878, Watertown, Wisconsin; d. 29 June 1948, Toronto. Educated at Ripon College, Wisconsin (BA 1895) and the University of Minnesota (C.E. 1898), he worked initially (1898) as engineer for the electric light plant at Berlin, Wisconsin. Subsequently he was assistant engineer in charge of all field engineering and maintenance work for the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad. In 1907, he joined the Grand Trunk Railway as an assistant engineer, before he was appointed engineer on grade separations in 1910, where he oversaw the construction of the Parkdale Grade Separation, a preliminary step towards the development of Toronto's Union Station. His most important work began in 1914, when he was named chief engineer of the Toronto Terminals Railway Company. He was instrumental in the construction, maintenance and operation of Toronto’s Union Station. Promoted to superintendent in 1931, he held this position until his retirement in 1944. A member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (renamed Engineering Institute of Canada, 1918), he served as councillor from 1916 to 1918. He was also a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, as well as the Boulevard Club and the Toronto Board of Trade.

                                                                                        James Rea