J. Aird Nesbitt

Male, Deceased Person

1907 – 1985


Who was J. Aird Nesbitt?

James Aird Nesbitt was a Canadian department store owner. Born in Westmount, Quebec, he was the first of the two sons of the prominent stockbroker, Arthur J. Nesbitt. Known as Aird, when his father purchased Ogilvy's Department Store on Saint Catherine Street in downtown Montreal in 1927, the twenty-year-old Aird Nesbitt took over management of the store. He proved to be a very capable merchandiser whose marketing skills made Ogilvy's one of Montreal's most popular stores.

In 1935 Aird Nesbitt married Honor Graham Mathewson of Montreal. In 1936, he cofounded the Westmount High Old Boy's Association. Following the outbreak of World War II, In 1939, he joined the Canadian Army and served overseas. Nesbitt fought in the Italian Campaign and participated in the liberation of The Netherlands. The recipient of a number of service decorations, by the time he was decommissioned after the end of the war, Aird Nesbitt had earned the rank of Brigadier General.

An art collector, he owned Thomas Gainsborough's Portrait of Mrs James Unwin completed in 1771. In 1929, he published a biography of Canadian artist, John A. Hammond.

James Aird Nesbitt remained active in the running of the Ogilvy department store until his death in 1985. On his passing he was interred with other family members in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal. The executors of his estate sold the Ogilvy store that year.

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Mar 1, 1907
  • Canada
Lived in
  • Westmount
Nov 14, 1985

on July 23, 2013


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