Grossman, Allan, 1910-1991

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Grossman, Allan, 1910-1991

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Allan Grossman (1910-1991) was a Member of Provincial Parliament for the Toronto riding of St. Andrew, and its successor St. Andrew-St. Patrick from 1955 to 1975.

He was born on 25 December 1910 in Toronto to Morris Grossman and Sara Pursmaker. His parents immigrated to Canada from Russian occupied Poland in 1907. He was the first of his siblings to be born in Canada. He dropped out of school in grade nine and travelled throughout Canada and the United States before settling into an early career as an insurance agent. At the age of sixteen, Grossman and a handful of other boys formed the "Junior Conservative Association of Toronto."

Grossman entered municipal politics in Toronto in 1951 when he was elected as an Alderman. He was a charter member of the Metro Council from 1952 to 1955. In 1955, he ran for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario against the Labour-Progressive Party incumbent J. B. Salsberg for the downtown Toronto riding of St. Andrew and was elected to the Ontario Legislature for the first time. Grossman held the seat until 1975 at which time, his son, Larry, was elected the member for the riding. Together, father and son represented the downtown Toronto riding for 32 consecutive years.

Grossman served as a cabinet minister under three Premiers. In 1960, he was named minister without portfolio, only the second Jewish Canadian Cabinet Minister in Ontario and the first to be a Tory. He served under Premier John Robarts as Chief Liquor Commissioner and Minister of Reform Institutions (now Correctional Services). In 1971, Grossman was appointed by Robarts' successor, Bill Davis as Minister of Trade and Development, with additional responsibility for Housing. In 1972, he led the first trade mission from the Western world to China. He also became Minister of Revenue that year and continued his responsibility for housing. In 1974, Grossman became the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development with overall policy responsibility for seven ministries.

Following his retirement from politics in 1975, Grossman was named chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in 1976, resigning from that post in 1985. He also served as president of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada, president of the Toronto Lodge, B'nai B'rith, and served on the boards of several charities.

In 1985, a biography of Grossman was published, Unlikely Tory: The Life and Politics of Allan Grossman by Peter Oliver.

He died in Toronto on 1 September 1991.


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[Sources: Obituaries (Toronto Star and Globe and Mail),]

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Authority expanded by Archives of Ontario, April/12.
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