O Canada!

2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary—or sesquicentennial—as a self-governing country. To pay homage to our friends and brothers in the north, the Quarterly team wanted to provide a little background into the country and Delta Upsilon’s history in Canada.

Like many other countries, Canada has been known by multiple names and has been ruled by other countries before becoming self-governing. While the Norse and Siberians had made their way to Canada long before the French and British, it was in the late 15th Century that parts of the country were first colonized. John Cabot of Great Britain laid claim to parts of modern-day Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in 1497, however England did not attempt any permanent colonization at that time. It was in 1534 that Jacques Cartier took the land for France, and the colony of New France was formed. Over the next 200 years, French culture would take over many parts of Canada, much of which remains today.

In 1763, Canada moved back under British control after defeating the French in the Seven Year’s War. Another century later, in 1867, the Province of Canada was joined by two other British colonies (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) through Confederation, which made Canada a self-governing entity. Today, Queen Elizabeth II is still Canada’s head of state, but the country has its own parliamentary democracy with its own Prime Minister and Parliament.

Delta Upsilon became an International Fraternity in 1898 when it chartered a chapter at McGill University in Montreal, our first chapter outside of the United States. The group had begun as a local fraternity, Omicron Nu, the year prior with the hopes of affiliating with an established fraternity. One of the men had a brother in Delta Upsilon’s Technology Chapter, and Omicron Nu’s members were impressed with what they were learning about DU. So, a group of Omicron Nus attended DU’s 1897 Convention to present its petition for membership in person. In the year that followed, the Fraternity’s Executive Council (now Board of Directors) visited campus to not only learn about the local fraternity, but also about McGill University. Pleased with what they saw, at the 1898 Convention, the motion to charter Omicron Nu as a chapter of Delta Upsilon unanimously carried. On Nov. 11, 1898, the men were initiated and the McGill Chapter became official.

DU’s expansion efforts in Canada continued with the Toronto Chapter, which was installed into the Fraternity on Dec. 5, 1899. It was another 30 years until the next DU chapter chartered in Canada; the Manitoba Chapter on Nov. 23, 1929. For the next few years, DU’s presence in Canada continued to grow, with three more chapters in the next six years. The Western Ontario Chapter joined DU on Dec. 5, 1931; the British Columbia Chapter on Jan. 16, 1935; and the Alberta Chapter on Jan. 19, 1935.

It was not again until the late 1980s that a new DU chapter opened in Canada when the Guelph Chapter was installed on Match 11, 1989. Two more chapters were installed in 1990: the Calgary Chapter on March 24, and the McMaster Chapter on Nov. 17. The Victoria Chapter was the last Canadian chapter to be installed when it was established May 1, 1993.

Today, four DU chapters remain active in Canada: Alberta, Toronto, Western Ontario and Guelph. DU remains committed to helping our existing Canadian chapters succeed and honor their history in making us an International Fraternity. 


Delta Upsilon has a long history in Canada, and a number of remarkable DU alumni are from the country. Most notable is Lester B. Pearson, Toronto 1919, who served as the 14th Prime Minister of Canada, from 1963-1968. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. Delta Upsilon is the only fraternity to boast alumni who have held the positions of Canadian Prime Minister and United States President (James Garfield, Williams 1856). Juan Manuel Santos, Kansas '73, is the current president of Colombia.

Norman Lloyd Axworthy, Manitoba ’63 – Canadian Cabinet Member

Robert Bonner, British Columbia ’48 – Canadian Cabinet Member

Herbert Alexander Bruce, Toronto 1892 – Canadian Parliament Member

John Arthur Clark, Toronto 1906 – Canadian Parliament Member

William M. Crossin, Toronto ’55 – President of Merle Norman Cosmetics

David L. Emerson, Alberta ’69 – Canadian Cabinet Member

Randy Gregg, Alberta ’75 – NHL hockey player

James D. Horsman, British Columbia ’60 – Canadian Cabinet Member

George Richard Hunter, Manitoba ’37 – Canadian Parliament Member

C. Mervin Leitch, Alberta ’52 – Canadian Cabinet Member

Edgar Peter Lougheed, Alberta ’52 – 10th Premier of Alberta

Patrick M. Mahoney, Alberta ’51 – Canadian Parliament Member

William Melville Martin, Toronto 1898 – Canadian Parliament Member

William A. Mather, McGill 1908 – President of Canadian Pacific Railway

Frank Mills, McGill ’65 – composer and pianist

Lester B. Pearson, Toronto 1919 – 14th Prime Minister of Canada

J. Harper Prowse, Alberta 1938 – Canadian Senator

John Parmenter Robarts, Western Ontario ’39 – Canadian Parliament Member

Alexander Charles Spencer, Toronto 1907 – Major-General, Canadian Army

Alan Thicke, Western Ontario ’67 – Actor and songwriter

James B. Woodyatt, McGill 1907 – President of Southern Canada Power Company