Mr. Pedlar was born in Oshawa, August 4th, 1843, died March 13th, 1913, and spent practically his entire life here. Over half a century ago he commenced operations in a small way in the tin and sheet metal business in Oshawa, and in 1892 established this business under the name of The Pedlar Metal Roofing Co.
Owing to the unlimited possibilities, which this line of business had and by close personal attention, combined with shrewdness and progressiveness, Mr. Pedlar had been successful in building up an immense business and the plant in Oshawa today is the largest concern of this kind under the British Flag.
During the early life of the business he had associated with him, his son George Pedlar, but after his death in 1909 and owing to the consequent increased responsibilities and the developing business, the concern was reorganized and formed into a joint stock company in 1911 under the name of Pedlar People Limited.
Recognizing the faithful services of several of his old employees, Mr. Pedlar took them into the business at this time, as stock-holders, thus making the Company as it is today one of the strongest and most successfully organized concerns in Canada. The Company has offices and large warehouses in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London, Chatham, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and their goods are handled by agents in many foreign countries.
Whilst these are the general features of the life’s work of Mr. Pedlar, we feel that we cannot part in Oshawa from this remarkable personality without adding something to his memory as he was seen and known among us. The great striking incident of his life lies in the fact that twenty-one years ago, without capital, without inheritance or assistance, and without business connection, he launched into an enterprise in what was a small stable at the rear of the old Dingle homestead, and from this humble and compromising outlook, under the guidance of a master mind, we saw, as the years rolled by, an industry develop and expand, absorbing houses, lots, and even blocks in its irresistable sweep. It seemed as though some wizard hand had waved a magic wand and bid the very ground obey. This transformation, in itself, speaks clearly of the intellectual qualities of the mind behind the scenes, courage, foresight, optimism, and steady methods of calculation were all centered in this great human part. Little do most of us appreciate or know the inwardness of a business struggle spread over a period of two decades which has brought into existence, practically created out of nothing, an industry the size of the late Mr. Pedlar’s with an organization covering the Dominion of Canada, and reaching its business arms across seas and into many foreign lands, as well. We desire to pass a few comments upon the man himself, because the characteristics of a successful life, leaves a lesson to humanity which may stand as a guide to those less fortunate, or younger in the struggle. Of Mr. Pedlar it can be truthfully said that he was a perfectly natural product. He never copied any other man in anything he ever did, said or attempted ; everything about the man had a distinctive Pedlar stamp. Because of his determination to live his own life in his own way, true to his own instincts, we saw a man who tried to live as close to nature as the circumstances of his career would permit. That he was a lover of nature may be learned from the surroundings of his country resort out on the ridges. Here is where he spent most of his spare time, among the hills, the trees, the birds, the brook and the fish. The automobile was to him a ready means of bringing him in close touch with natural scenery and he used it to the limit largely for this purpose. A few hours drive into the country with Mr. Pedlar, in this way, was a splendid means of observing his many qualities of good fellowship and incidentally revealed some of the secrets of his success in life. It mattered not how absorbing the conversation, how delightful the scenery, or how hurried the trip, the roof of every barn passed on the road had to’ be carefully scanned as to whether or not it was covered with ” Pedlar’s Shingles,” or whether it would soon need them. This concentration of the business instinct intermingled with so many good qualities of heart and hand, is what rendered Mr. Pedlar a unique personality. In his relationship to his large circle of friends, he also seems to have followed his own natural bent those whom he liked he simply loved, and delighted to have them around him at any time. To that circle his life and the very recesses of his heart was an open book, and it is also true of him that he inspired all his friends to assume the same attitude towards him. Rarely had any one ever met him when he was not cheerful, hopeful, and in good humor, nevertheless, when he found it necessary to express an unfavorable opinion, it was done with no uncertain sound. In this regard we were always face to face with the natural man, often misjudged, but not misunderstood.
He has throughout his life been actively interested in public and social affairs, a generous giver to all charities and a faithful contributor to the Y.M.C.A., Salvation Army, and kindred organizations. His latest act of benevolence was a joint gift with Mrs. Pedlar of $10,000 to the Oshawa hospital, for the erection of a surgical wing, to that institution as a memorial to his late son.
Mr. Pedlar was a Methodist, and in politics a Conservative.