The Founding of CEDA: Giving Us a Perspective on Moving Forward

Founding CEDA

April 26, 2019

In Canada, electrical distributors first came together under the banner of the Canadian Electrical Distributors Association (CEDA) on March 29, 1934. Those men of goodwill as they were once described by Christian Major have passed on but the foundation they built lives on in this dynamic industry.

In his diary, Kerrwil founder Jack Kerr noted the following: “Ham Gardiner exercised magnificent foresight in forming CEDA. Back then with Canada Wire and Cable in Regina then described as an electrical distributor, we sold Burlec, Burndy, Canada Line material, Leavitt-Naugle telephone poles, Solex lamps and Canada Wire and Cable products.”

To put the history of CEDA into perspective, here is snapshot from those early days as compiled by Stanley G Wild. 

1934 was not a pleasant year. The Canadian economy was still in the savage grip of a depression unmatched in history, driving businesses daily into bankruptcy and forcing many men to ride the rails in search of work. The dollar plummeted to an all-time low, unemployment to an all-time high. Yet, things weren’t all that bad. Roosevelt’s New Deal promised prosperity across the border, the formation of the Bank of Canada promised to control money here. Amelia Earhart had just become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic… and a small group within the Electric Club of Toronto met after one of their luncheons and decided to form The Canadian Electrical Distributors Association (CEDA). The charter, on a national basis, was issued by the Government of Canada on March 29th 1934.

The original members of CEDA were

•    James Wilson Moncur
•    Harry Lawrence Wilson
•    Gordon Charles Yake — Independent Electric Scarborough
•    Hamilton Houston Gardiner —Masco Ltd.
•    H.R. (Hendy) Henderson — Woodstock Lamp
•    C.J. Duggan — Superior Electric Supply
•    N. Buckler — Regent Electric Supply
•    R. A. Chadwick — Chadwick Electric Co.
•    K.H. Kern — Ellis and Howard

Under the original letters patent establishing the association, CEDA was permitted to do those things and carry on those activities that would

1.    Raise and maintain the standard of business
2.    Promote the interest and concerns of its members
3.    Gather statistics beneficial to the group and the general public

Source: CEDA: Fifty Years of Service – An Historical Review of the Canadian Electrical Distributors Association, 1934 to 1984, Kerrwil Publications. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime if you have great photos, historical anecdotes or perspectives. We would love to hear from you; linegoyette@kerrwil.com.

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