About Us

About Us

About The Foundation

For over 40 years, the John Andrews Foundation has supported initiatives that share our values and enhance the well-being of Northwestern Ontario communities.  We focus on impact and making a real difference in the lives of local people.

Our Founder John Andrews is a classic example of the self-made man. He was a man with a deep social conscience. His creation of the John Andrews Foundation in 1977 was the product of his role over three decades as a business leader and an extension of his selfless contribution to causes dedicated to the well-being of this community.

About John Andrews

Visionary and the ‘HANDS ON PRESIDENT’

John Andrews, businessman and industrialist, was born on February 17, 1902, in Belfast, North Ireland, and emigrated to Fort William, Ontario, in 1907.

The eldest son of Joseph and Fanny Andrews, he joined the labour force after passing the Junior High School Entrance Examinations with first-class honours. Immediately after the First World War, he entered the employ of the Western Grain Company, a national grain firm with two elevators at the Lakehead. He died at Thunder Bay on May 15, 1986.

Read More About Mr. John Andrews

In 1937, after 18 years as a weighman, he came to the conclusion that there was a need for an aggressive, reliable organization to service not only the grain trade in this area, but pulp and paper mills, mining, construction, and secondary manufacturing. In 1938, Northland Machinery and Supply Co. Ltd. was formed, with John Andrews as its major shareholder.


The Company was soon appointed to act as Lakehead agent for United Steel Corporation, Dunlop Rubber, the G.F. Stone Company, and numerous other substantial corporations. In 1950 the federal government passed a law making it mandatory for elevators to install dust control systems, which was a boon for a business like Northland Supply. They were awarded contracts to install these systems in every major Canadian grain port. By 1960, the Company had plants in Fort William, Vancouver and Sault Ste. Marie.


John Andrews was a “hands on President” and ran one of the most successful companies based in Northwestern Ontario. This was recognized by the Ontario government when Northland Supply was awarded it’s “A” for Achievement Award in 1967.


He treated his customers and employees with respect, fairness and understanding. His fairness as an employer was reflected by the long tenure of many employees of Northland Supply. He had the rare ability to place himself in the shoes of others to understand better how they might react to his business approach.


At the height of his success, John Andrews entered into negotiations with Westeel-Rosco for the sale of Northland Supply, and the transfer was completed in 1968. He remained President of the company until the end of 1969, when he retired.


After retiring, John Andrews maintained a pace of life that most men his age would consider frantic. With his freedom to give his undivided attention to an array of associations, he was appointed the first chairman of the Northern Ontario Development Corporation.


As a member of the Lakehead College Building Fund Campaign, and later the Lakehead University Development Fund Campaign, John Andrews was successful in obtaining substantial funding from grain companies with operations in Thunder Bay and Western Canada. He was appointed to the University Board of Governors in 1966 and was made a Fellow of the University in 1980.




Thunder Bay, Ontario


B. SC., M. B. A

Thunder Bay, Ontario


M.D., F.R.C.P.C

Thunder Bay, Ontario