The Galts: A Canadian Odyssey; Vol. 2, Alexander Tilloch Galt 1817-1893, Elliott Torrance Galt 1850-1928


221 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7710-8454-4





Reviewed by Gerald J. Stortz

Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.


H.B. Timothy is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at the University of Regina. His previous work includes volume one in this series, a biography of John Galt.

As the title indicates, this volume is a double biography of John’s son, Alexander, and his grandson, Elliott. The former is undoubtedly better known to those interested in Canadian history, through the 1920 biography by O.D. Skelton. One problem with this older work, acknowledged by both Skelton and Timothy, is the lack of personal information. Unfortunately, Professor Timothy’s effort suffers the same deficiency. While the official aspects of Alexander Galt’s career are dealt with in a workmanlike and complete manner, one gets no sense of Galt’s emotional state at various times of crisis. This is very much an official biography.

This is less the case for briefer portions that deal with Elliott’s career. In fact, the reader learns more about Alexander’s personality in this section than in the other. There is, however, the feeling that this section is “tacked on” simply because there was too little material to justify a separate manuscript.

In general, this volume, like the first, makes for pleasant reading; but academics will immediately note the conspicuous absence from the footnotes of some of the more recent material (notably that by A.A. den Otter) on Alexander Galt.

However, despite these shortcomings, for the reader with an interest in Canadian history of the nineteenth and twentieth century, this book is well worth its very reasonable price.


Timothy, H.B., “The Galts: A Canadian Odyssey; Vol. 2, Alexander Tilloch Galt 1817-1893, Elliott Torrance Galt 1850-1928,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,