Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

THORNTON, Kenneth Buchanan , b. 26 June 1873, Montreal; d. 10 Feb. 1938, Montreal. Educated at the Central Technical Institute and Guilds of London Institute, he returned to Montreal in 1893 to take a course in electrical engineering at the Royal Electric Company. From 1893 to 1904, he was an engineer in the operating department of Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company. He joined J.G. White and Company of New York in 1905 and worked at several of their subsidiaries until 1915. He started as resident engineer and manager of Nassau Light and Power Company, became assistant manager of the operating department of J.G. White, and, finally, advisory engineer to the Canadian Light and Power Company. In 1911, he was promoted to chief engineer and operating manager of both the Canadian Light and Power, and the Quebec New England Hydro-Electric Corporation, based in Quebec. In 1915, he joined the Montreal Tramways Company as a consulting engineer (1915-1925), was assistant general manager (1925-1930) and general manger in 1930, until his death. Modernizing the power and track system, and planning and implementing new bus services was his greatest engineering contribution. He served on the Engineering Institute of Canada's council (1921-1923) and was elected vice-president in 1925. He was a member of the Corporation of Professional Engineers of Quebec, and the Institute of American Electrical Engineers. In 1931, he became president of the Canadian Electric Railway Association. He belonged to the St. James, Forest & Stream, and Hunt Clubs of Montreal. A Presbyterian, he married Sara Florence Grier in 1904 and they had two sons.

David Slichter