Funeral for Spruce Meadows co-founder to be held in his show jumping 'cathedral'

CALGARY -- A funeral is to be held in a riding arena today for a prominent Alberta businessman who co-founded one of the world's top equestrian venues.

See Full Article

Ron Southern died last week at the age of 85.

He established the Spruce Meadows show-jumping facility in Calgary with his wife Margaret in 1975. The facility held its first competition a year later.

Spruce Meadows has become a fixture for the world's best riders and horses. The equestrian world's governing body has dubbed the facility the world's top show-jumping venue multiple times. It marked its 40th anniversary in 2015.

"It's Mr. Southern's cathedral. It's where he spent countless hours welcoming people from around the world, teaching them about his world of the horse," said Spruce Meadows spokesman Ian Allison.

"It's where he spent virtually every Saturday and Sunday morning over the last 40 years."

Southern and his father also started the Atco Group (TSX:ACO.X) in 1947. It was first known as the Alberta Trailer Company and grew from a 15-trailer operation to an international conglomerate with interests ranging from construction trailers to pipelines to natural gas distribution.

It has a presence in more than 100 countries, employs 8,000 people and has $19 billion in assets. Southern served as its president for 48 years.

Southern was also the founder and controlling shareholder of Akita Drilling (TSX:ATK.A).

Forbes business magazine pegged Southern's net worth at $1.5 billion last year.

Despite his show-jumping legacy, Southern didn't get on a horse very often, said Allison.

"He was more of a student of everything about the horse sports, whether it be breeding, training competition, tournament organization and corporate sponsorships," Allison said.

"As in everything he did, he completely immersed himself in it."

Ian Millar, an Olympic and Pan American Games medallist from Perth, Ont., has credited the Southerns and Spruce Meadows for making Canada a force in the sport of show jumping.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Some residents free to go home as B.C. evacuations orders are downgraded

    Canada News CBC News
    Many wildfire evacuees from Princeton, B.C., are being allowed back into town after an evacuation order was downgraded to an alert on Saturday morning. For some, it's been more than two weeks since they left home. Source
  • German girl who converted to Islam found working for ISIS in Iraq

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A German girl who ran away from home shortly after converting to Islam has been found as Iraqi forces liberated the northern city of Mosul from Islamic States forces, German and Iraqi officials said Saturday as authorities tried to figure out what to do with her. Source
  • Errant U.S. bombing kills 12 Afghan security forces: police

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday. Source
  • Democrats herald agreement on sweeping Russia sanctions bill

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats announced Saturday that a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Source
  • Son allegedly kills father, leaves corpse on couch for weeks

    World News Toronto Sun
    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the death of Todd Swantek, 49, whose body was found May 24 in the Frackville home the two formerly shared. Source
  • Man faces charges after allegedly chasing parking officer who ticketed him

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say a 27-year-old man was charged with assault after he allegedly threatened and chased down a parking enforcement officer with his car. Investigators say the officer saw an unnocupied car parked in a fire route and left a parking ticket on Thursday. Source
  • Florida teens who recorded drowning and laughed could be charged

    World News CBC News
    A group of Florida teenagers who recorded a man drowning on cellphones and laughed about it rather than calling for help could face charges, according the police chief in Cocoa, Fla. The five teenagers, aged 14 to 16, can be heard laughing as they record more than two minutes of the man struggling to stay afloat in a pond near his family's home. Source
  • Friends and family mourn Hanock Afowerk, one of four Sage Hill homicide victims

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    As the heartbroken family of Hanock Afowerk return his body home to Toronto for burial this weekend, investigators are trying to unravel how the affable 26-year-old — with no significant criminal background to speak of — came to be the target of a deadly plot. Source
  • Ceasefire in effect in parts of Syria, but fighting intensifies on Lebanese border

    World News CBC News
    The Syrian army command says it has ceased its military operations in several areas near the capital Damascus but warned it will retaliate against any attack by militants. The command said in a statement carried by state TV that the cessation of operations began at noon local time Saturday. Source
  • Experts inspect Greek quake damage; islanders sleep outdoors

    World News CTV News
    KOS, Greece -- Crews of experts on Saturday began examining the damage to infrastructure and cultural monuments on the eastern Greek island of Kos after a powerful earthquake killed two tourists and injured nearly 500 others in the Aegean Sea region that stretches to Turkey's sprawling coast. Source