Portrait of the “Mayor” of Expo 67

Philippe II de Gaspé Beaubien, Exploitation. BA Université de Montréal 1951, MBA Harvard Business School, 1954. Officer of the Order of Canada.

By Carmen Desmeules

Photo credit – Philippe II de Gaspé Beaubien

De Gaspé Beaubien was implicated in several business projects before he became the owner of Télémédia in 1970. His company proceeded to become one of Canada’s leading communications firms, publishing dozens of magazines, including TV Hebdo and Elle Canada, and operating 79 radio stations. De Gaspé Beaubien was instrumental in founding satellite distribution across the country, as well as the company that was to become Rogers Wireless, at a time when the mobile phone was at the dawn of an era that would revolutionize the field of telecommunications.

According to Diana Nicholson, Public Affairs Assistant at Expo 67, he was an “energizer bunny. Every morning, he walked from his house in Outremont to the site of the Expo. I remember hearing him, out-of-breath, carrying on. And then, wearing a little recorder, he’d record everything that crossed his mind. He would get to the office. Then, it was messages to everyone. They needed to be untangled, typed-up and sent to the person responsible for the issue.”

According to his colleague, Roger D. Landry: “The best word to describe Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien is dynamic. This guy could pull everyone together around something he believed in. He had a solid background, despite his young age.”

Today, he is co-president of the De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, philanthropist, visionary entrepreneur and pioneer in the world of family business.

Photo credit – Library and Archives Canada
Photo credit – Philippe II de Gaspé Beaubien

Recognized for his instinct for business, his vision and his determination, De Gaspé Beaubien was invited to sit on the boards of numerous multinational companies, such as TD Bank and Bombardier Inc. He has also been a board member of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, of Black & McDonald and Reitman’s, among others.

Photo credit – Laurent Guérin / Productions de la ruelle

To find out more about Expo 67, read this article!