Friday, December 19, 2008

Great Canadian Business Stories

Neil Reynolds, the Globe & Mail business columnist who actually takes an interest in historical angles, reports on a new initiative to find the Top 40 Stories in Canadian Business History.

The Top 40 are chosen by a business panel with maybe more credentials in management than in history, but I like people doing their own history, so that's okay with me. But there is a bit of insider-baseball to their picks. They picked the BCE merger deal as a thing of historical significance just before the whole thing collapsed. Recent events like two insurance companies merging or a couple of mining promoters getting together have impressive dollar signs attached, but are hardly likely to remain memorable. Perceptive readers will note, however, I am not offering my own list. Any suggestions?

Their Number 1 is the incorporation of the Hudson's Bay Company, which I like for its historical sense, though Reynolds or his informants seemed to get the details a bit confused in a previous column. Radisson and Groseilliers were Huguenots? Um, no.

Anyway, the whole thing is an initiative of the ever-inventive Joe Martin, former chair of the gang that publishes the Beaver, and now developing a program in business history at the Rotman School of Business at U of T, on the theory that the top business schools in the world tend to do business history and second-tier ones tend not to.
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