Hales, Alfred Dryden, 1909-1998

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Hales, Alfred Dryden, 1909-1998

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Alfred (Alf) Dryden Hales was a Guelph businessman, active community member, alderman, and Member of Parliament for Wellington South. He was born on November 22, 1909 and died on February 28, 1998.

Alf Hales was born in the Guelph General Hospital and was raised in a house at 53 Dundas Street (now Gordon Street) near the present day University of Guelph campus. He attended public school at the MacDonald Consolidated High School (now the MacDonald-Stewart Art Centre) and high school at the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. From 1929 to 1934, Alf attended the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. While at the OAC, he played on the school football team, helping the team to win the Canadian Intermediate Intercollegiate Championship in 1932. It was also while a student at the OAC in 1931 that Alf met Mary Gertrude Graham, whom he would later marry. Alf Hales took a job with the Swift Canadian Company in Toronto as an assistant beef grader upon graduation from the OAC. At the same time, he played professional football as the starting middle wing for the Toronto Argonauts for two seasons. He moved back to Guelph at the end of 1935 and on June 6, 1936 married Mary Graham. Alf worked as an employee at Hales' Meat Market from 1935 to 1945, a local Guelph business established by his grandfather in 1887 and owned by his father. On September 14, 1938, twins Beverly Margaret and Alfred Graham were born followed by another set of twins, Donald Ernest and David Scott on February 1, 1946.

Alf was becoming a significant contributor to the operation of the family meat business and notably, in 1943, he invented a ration clipper that expedited the pulling of coupons during the period of wartime meat rationing. He sold this invention to Canada Packers who sold millions of the devices to meat stores across the country. In 1944, Alf purchased the business from his father and on October 1949 he opened a new shop, moving the business from 8 Wyndham Street South to 16 Wyndham Street South. In the new shop, Alf expanded store services such as catering and frozen food services.

In 1952, Alf Hales was contacted by R.B. Hungerford, secretary of the Wellington South Progressive Conservative Association and asked to run as the Conservative candidate for the Wellington South riding. Although he won the nomination, he was unsuccessful in the election. He ran again in 1957 and again won the nomination. One week before the election, however, his opponent Harry Hosking died and the election was deferred. The deferred election was run on July 15, 1957 and Alf Hales was victorious.

As a Member of Parliament, Alf Hales was active on a number of issues and committees. He sat on the Public Accounts Committee from 1957-1974, chairing the Committee from 1968 to 1974. He was also a member of the Trade and Commerce Committee. In 1962 he served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour. Alf was active in the House of Commons, forwarding a successful private members bill to establish a Parliamentary Internship Program, opposing the adoption of a new Canadian flag, and acting as the Conservative Party's critic against the U.S.-Canada Auto Treaty. Alf Hales served as the Conservative representative of Wellington South continuously until 1974 when he retired from political life.

In addition to his political work, Alf held many positions within community organizations and clubs including: President of the OAC Alumni Association, Director of the YMCA of Guelph, President of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Guelph Transportation Committee, member of the Guelph Police Commission, member of the Ontario Veterinary Council, Master of the Waverly Masonic Lodge, and President and member of the Kiwanis Club of Guelph.

Alf Hales died on February 28, 1998. For more biographical details, see his autobiography entitled Memoirs: A Personal History, which can be found in series F15-0-2 of this fonds.


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