David E. Black

In 2019, my Grandfather, David Ernest Black was memorialized in Calgary, for his contributions to Alberta, as an Alberta Champion.

David (Dave) Ernest Black, born in 1880 in Westport, Ontario, moved to Calgary, Alberta, in 1903, on board the HarvesterExcursion. In 1904 he opened a small watch repair business in a seven foot by fourteen foot store, a replica of which stands in Heritage Park, funded by Henry Birks and Sons.

Winning the CPR contract in 1904 as an official watch inspector he checked railway men’s timepieces against the Dominion time signal transmitted into his store.

In 1920 David E. Black & Company, the largest watch repair business in Canada, was purchased by and became the Calgary branch of Henry Birks and Sons. Dave was elected a director and subsequently in 1938 became President of the new Henry Birks and Sons (Western) Ltd.

Dave Black married Mae Lillian Sinclair in 1908. This union resultedin three daughters, Frances (Danby), Dorothy (Wells), and Betty (Burns); seven grandchildren; and 13 great grandchildren.

Dave was an avid supporter of sports donating Black cups, trophies, and shields. He was the first timekeeper for the Calgary Stampede. His love of and expertise in growing gladioli for the Calgary Horticultural Society annual flower shows won him a number of prizes.

Along with David E. Black’s business success was his dedication to community and the City. He was a City of Calgary Alderman and in 1912 became a Director and later an honorary life Director of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. At various times he was involved with the Board of Trade, Knights of Pythias, Ranchman’s Club, Calgary Golf and Country Club, Masons, Chamber of Commerce, Elks, and Al Azar Temple.

David Ernest Black was a successful businessman who took that extra step, through his personal dedication and philanthropy, to make the City of Calgary a better place to live.

The Alberta Champions dedication took place on Tuesday June 4, 2019 at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta.

Below is a brief photographic retrospective, which you can also download here.