George Johnston Ashworth was born June 26, 1862 in Quebec to William Henry Ashworth (1820-1901) and Jane Murray Ashworth (nee Johnston, 1835-1908). By the late 1860’s, the family moved to Newmarket, Ontario where William Ashworth worked as a hat manufacturer. The fourth of thirteen children, George J. Ashworth entered the family business. He worked as a hat manufacturer with his father and in 1883, both father and son purchased the Newmarket Hat Factory as a joint venture.
During the Northwest Rebellion in 1885, George Ashworth served as a Captain in the 12th Battalion York Rangers. After completing his military service, Ashworth returned to work with the family business in Newmarket. Four years later, Ashworth moved to Toronto, Ontario where two of his brothers were living, and began studying law at Osgoode Hall. By the following year, the rest of his family relocated to Toronto.
During his years as a law student, Ashworth worked at Macdonald & Cartwright, later Macdonald, Cartwright & Garvey, a law firm in Toronto. It does not appear that George J. Ashworth completed his law studies in Ontario.
In 1895, Ashworth served as the Secretary and Manager of the Sun Savings and Loan Company. By August 1895, the company was in a state of turmoil as management and shareholders disagreed on how to manage the company. Ashworth was replaced by Samuel Nesbitt during a reorganization but shareholders reappointed him and he subsequently returned to the office with his brother, John Ashworth, who was advising him as his lawyer. The police were called and several individuals were arrested for trespass. In 1896, Samuel Nesbitt was listed as the manager of the company.
By 1898, Ashworth co-founded a mining broker company, Henry A Drummond & George J Ashworth Mining Brokers in Toronto, Ontario. In 1900, Ashworth was employed as the Secretary for the Aqueduct Construction Company but returned to the broker profession by the following year and remained until 1903.
On October 4, 1904, George J. Ashworth married Kathrine Williams (1870-1949) of Hamilton, Ontario in New York. On May 13, 1906, the couple’s only child, George William Ashworth (1906-1998), was born in Toronto, Ontario. By the following year, Ashworth was employed as a reporter for the Toronto Star.
In 1908, George J. Ashworth moved to Sudbury, Ontario where he lived with his wife and son at 149 Elm Street. While in Sudbury, Ashworth started his own newspaper, the Daily Northern Star (aka the Daily Star or the Sudbury Star). The newspaper claimed to be the “first morning daily newspaper between Toronto and the ‘North Pole.’” The first issue of the first edition was published on January 11, 1909. The newspaper’s first issue stated under its article “Why We Are Here,” it was “established solely for the purpose of serving the people and interests of New Ontario first, last, and all the time. It is not the organ of any clique, corporation or political party. We believe that in serving the interests of the whole people we shall be fulfilling our proper destiny.”
After the first six months, the newspaper suffered financial difficulties. The Printing Forman, William Edge Mason, was instrumental in helping find and secure the financial help of local businesses and after the newspaper required additional financial support later in 1910, it reduced its publication to two days a week and was renamed the Sudbury Star. Sometime before January 1910, Ashworth had resigned and Mason became the owner and publisher of the newspaper.
In January 1910, Ashworth visited his sister in Vancouver, British Columbia and shortly after decided to relocate to the west coast. He worked as a reporter for Vancouver World, the News-Advertiser and the Vancouver Sun. In 1920, he ran in the British Columbia General Election in Vancouver for the Vancouver Rentpayers Association party but was not elected.
The Ashworths enjoyed vacationing on Savary Island in British Columbia and during the late 1920s, George J. Ashworth established the Royal Savary Hotel. Ashworth held the positon of manager until his death.
George J. Ashworth passed away on Savary Island in British Columbia on April 13, 1937 at the age of 74.