- 1903-1975 (Creation)
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Alexander McLean Haig was a prominent figure in Belleville, Ontario in the mid twentieth century. Known as "Mac," he served as alderman, mayor, and was the President of numerous organizations throughout the city. He was born in Campbellford in August 1903, and died in 1975. His parents were Dr. Andrew Haig and Marian Gertrude McLean. He spent time during his youth in Kingston and attended Queen's University. After he graduated from Queen's Faculty of Arts, he attended Osgoode Hall in Toronto where he received his Doctorate of Law degree.
Upon graduation, he moved to Western Canada before settling in Belleville in 1935, and establishing an insurance business. From 1940 to 1945, Haig served as a group Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After the war, Haig opened Moira Fuels.
His first foray into political life occurred in 1940 when he ran as the Belleville candidate for the federal Liberal Party under Prime Minister Mackenzie King. He ran again in 1945. On both occasions he was beaten narrowly. Haig served as an Alderman for Belleville in 1938, 1939, 1940, 1950, and 1951. He was first elected Mayor of Belleville in 1952 when he won by a record majority of 1626 votes. His second stint came when he received the post by acclamation in 1960. He would be elected two more times in 1962 and 1963. He is credited with leading Belleville out of a financial crisis after the McFarlands World Championship Hockey team was implicated in a scandal with the city's Treasury Department.
In addition to his local political service, Haig was an active member of many city clubs and foundations. He joined the Belleville Rotary Club in 1935, and became their President from 1938 to 1939, after serving as their Secretary from 1937 to 1938. He served as the President of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce in 1939. He was on the Board of Governors for the Belleville General Hospital from 1939 to 1940 and again from 1950 to 1965. He was the Chairman of the Board from 1965 to 1966. He also was the President of the Belleville chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society as well as President of CJBQ Radio. Haig was a member of Bridge Street United Church.
He was married to Mary Elizabeth Roberts, born in 1909 and died in 2004. Together they had four children: Trudi Banting, Christine Cox, Andy Haig, and Archie Haig. His known grandchildren are James Douglas and Alan McLean Banting. Haig Road in Kingston is named for him.
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This fonds contains 22 folders. It consists of A. McLean Haig's biographical data which includes a brief summary of his life. The second folder contains his incoming correspondence which includes letters from: Assistant Deputy Minister of national Defence James A. Sharpe; a copy of a letter forwarded to Haig from C.C. Wimperly of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to Mr. A.B. Sprague; two letters between Wimperly and Haig, one with statistics concerning Northumberland and Durham Counties, the communities of Campbellford and Seymour, and the former District of Newcastle; one from A.R. Wilson, the Belleville Superintendent of the Canadian National Railway; one telegram and one business card congratulating Mayor Haig on his election in 1962 from Quebec Premiere Jean Lesage – in the telegram, it is interesting to note that Lesage is spelled Lesarge; a letter from Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada Vice President Howard Cotterell with a small picture sent from Cotterell to Haig from the air carrier's annual report; a letter from CNR Rideau Manager Keith Hunt that had a piece of the rail-track from Pinnacle Street in Belleville enclosed with it after the line had been pulled from the ground in 1964; and three Christmas cards received from constituents.
The are also pieces of Haig's outgoing correspondence including: four pieces of correspondence to CNR the St. Lawrence Region Vice President, W.H. Kyle and Belleville Superintendent A.R. Wilson respectively; and a letter thanking Premiere Lesage – again spelled Lesarge, for his congratulations on winning the 1962 Belleville municipal election.
There is a folder of his municipal papers consisting of: newspaper clippings; a press release from Postmaster M.A. Murray; a program from the opening of the new wing of the Belleville General Hospital in 1956; and a report on major accomplishments achieved by the Haig administration between 1960 and 1963 prepared by City Manager J.R. Reynolds. Additional folders in this fonds include: one folder of federal government papers, nine folders containing copies of his addresses and speeches; one folder of speeches given by other people that the Mayor kept; a folder with copies of the report of the Willmott Royal Commission which looked into the McFarlands hockey team scandal and the City Auditor's report of 1959; one folder of military related documents; one folder with items pertaining to the history of Belleville and Thurlow; a file with printed jokes and other items that Haig found humourous; one folder labeled miscellaneous by the original record keeper; and two volumes of scrapbooks.
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