A tribute to Rolph Huband
This issue of Canada’s History is dedicated to Allen Rolph Huband, publisher emeritus of this magazine, who died November 20, 2016, in Oakville, Ontario.
Huband spent his entire career with the Hudson’s Bay Company, first in Winnipeg, then in Toronto, retiring as vice-president and secretary. To those who knew him, in whatever capacity, he was always a gentleman — kind, calm, perceptive, smart, and a remarkable leader. He could take legitimate claim to being the architect of many milestones in recent Canadian history, something he would, in his unassuming manner, downplay rather than celebrate. Here are some examples:
After the transfer of the company’s head office from England to Canada in 1970, Huband oversaw the relocation of its corporate archives, dating back to the seventeenth century, from London, England, to the Archives of Manitoba and the transfer of the company’s ten-thousandpiece artifact collection to the Manitoba Museum.
He was also deeply involved in the company’s threehundredth anniversary celebrations in 1970, which included the building of a replica of the ship Nonsuch, now a star attraction at the Manitoba Museum. It was his initiative that established the Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation and created Canada’s National History Society in 1994 to ensure the continued publication of The Beaver (now Canada’s History) and to bring history to a wider audience.
Not only was he the society’s founding chair, he also conceived one of the society’s initial programs, the Pierre Berton Award.
Rolph Huband was a man blessed with an unparalleled vision of Canadian history. Canadians, today and for generations to come, will all benefit from his exceptional enlightenment and foresight.
Rolph Huband, left, and author Pierre Berton, right, in 1994.