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Books Published on the Molson family

A portrait of the man often called the Canadian establishment's quintessential figure.

Hartland Molson's life spanned almost a century that included two world wars, Prohibition, the Depression, major political upheaval, and massive social and industrial change. Born in 1907 to great wealth and privilege, he used his numerous talents wisely and lived his life with integrity.

A vigorous and active entrepreneur, he was intimately connected to key events in Canada's history:

  • At age 26, he became president of Dominion Skyways, an airline he founded to transport miners and prospectors to remote northern regions.
  • In 1939, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and flew more than 60 combat missions during the Battle of Britain, for which he received the Order of the British Empire.
  • After the war he returned to the family brewing business, moving up the ranks from vice-president to director.
  • In 1955 he was called to the Canadian Senate, where he served as an independent for the next 38 years.
  • An avid hockey fan, in 1957 he bought the Montreal Canadiens; his teams won five consecutive Stanley Cups.
  • In 1958, he and his brother formed the Molson Foundation, an organization set up to support "innovative projects in the fields of health and welfare, education and social development, and the humanities.
    "Hartland de Montarville Molson: Man of Honour is an authorized inside look at the life of an outstanding Canadian and the story of Canada over the last century.

Publisher: Firefly Books Limited 


What could possibly be more Canadian than someone who served Canada as a fighter pilot, held public office for nearly four decades and owned both two breweries and two hockey teams? An incredible life well chronicled by Karen Molson -- herself a seventh generation family member who obviously had some inside insight in her research.

- Scott Taylor Esprit de Corps on 01/07/2007

This is a loving retrospective of a Canadian giant.... While providing a fascinating look at Canada during the 20th Century, this book also gives us a close-up look at an outstanding citizen -- truly a man for all seasons.

- Vic Johnson Airforce Magazine on 01/03/2007

As much a tale of Canada through the 20th century as it is of the Molson who was born into a prominent family and grew up to be an upstanding businessman and citizen.

- Kathy English Globe and Mail on 30/12/2006

The Molsons: Their Lives and Times, 1780-2000

This is the true story of a remarkable family as told by a direct descendant of John Molson. Through generations, we follow their saga. We see the Molsons cope with change and opportunity in business, and we watch them deal with personal triumphs, private tragedies, and the everyday aspects of life.​

The first Molson arrived in Montreal in 1782 from England, with little money but a single-minded ambition. Working hard, with a belief in the future of his adopted land, John Molson established a small brewery in Montreal and put his heart and soul into the business.

Over the next 200 years the Molsons expanded the brewery again and again. The founder's drive and ability was passed on to his sons, grandsons, and future generations. The family established a bank and a steamship line, recognizing that as the young country grew, opportunities would grow with it.

 They became a major force in politics, sports (the Montreal Canadiens hockey team), and philanthropy. And they witnessed history, both through privileged eyes and as everyday participants. They were involved in the young nation's achievements, and in its rebellions, wars, and epidemics.

Much more than a business history, The Molsons: Their Lives and Times is rich in details. It chronicles the many changes over two turbulent centuries of Canadian history, bringing familiar and unfamiliar events to life with warmth, drama, and emotion. Featuring dozens of never-before published photos and drawing on diaries, letters, and contemporary materials, the author illuminates this powerful, extraordinary family from a unique perspective and tells its story with surprising candour.


Readable and worth an undisturbed evening in a comfortable chair by the fire with a glass of good port. Or Export.

- Graeme Decarie Montreal Gazette on 08/12/2001

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