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Maple Leaf Foods Mourns the Passing of Chairman, Wallace McCain

TORONTO, May 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —


The Board of Directors of Maple Leaf Foods
(MFI:TSX) today announced with great sadness the death of its Chairman
Wallace McCain, who passed away at the age of 81 after a lengthy
struggle with pancreatic cancer.

“Wallace made an indelible impact on Maple Leaf Foods, our country and
the food industry globally,” said Purdy Crawford, lead director of the
Maple Leaf Foods Board of Directors. “He had a rare gift for business
that was driven by his personal courage, love of people, and sharp
insights. His incredible accomplishments came about because of his
perseverance, humility and belief in others. Wallace’s efforts to
support his community, and those less fortunate, were tireless. He was
an extraordinary man, with a huge heart, and we will miss him

Chairman of Maple Leaf Foods, and co-founder and vice chairman of McCain
Foods Wallace was a pioneer of the Canadian food industry. With his
brother Harrison, Wallace co-founded McCain Foods in 1956 and built it
into a multi-billion dollar global French fry and frozen foods
company. In 1995, the McCain family, together with a financial
partner, acquired a controlling interest in Maple Leaf Foods and
transformed it into Canada’s largest bakery and prepared meats
company. Maple Leaf Foods has 21,000 employees at operations across
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and in Asia.

Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods said, “Wallace McCain was an
inspiration, as a father, businessman and humanitarian. His incredible
success in business was always balanced with the importance of family
and community. He had unwavering values that defined him and everything
he did. My family and the entire Maple Leaf community deeply mourn his
passing, but also celebrate his life and the contribution he made to so
many people.”

Wallace is survived by his wife Margaret, his four children and nine
grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the family.
For further information, please visit

Wallace’s successor as Chairman will be determined by the Maple Leaf
Foods Board of Directors.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company,
headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately
21,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States,
the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.0 billion in

G. Wallace F. McCain
1930 – 2011

  • Born in Florenceville, New Brunswick in 1930
  • Wallace was the youngest child of Andrew (A.D.) and Laura McCain’s six
  • A.D. owned and operated McCain Produce, a potato seed export company
  • Wallace received a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University in
  • Began his career in 1951 as a Salesman for Green Grass Insecticides
  • In 1955, Wallace married Margaret Norrie
  • Wallace worked until 1956 as a General Manager at Thorne’s Hardware Ltd.
  • Wallace and Harrison wanted to start their own business and brother
    Robert suggested they consider frozen foods
  • Founded McCain Foods Limited in 1956 by Wallace and Harrison with
    investments by their brothers Robert and Andrew
  • McCain’s first frozen French fry plant started up in 1957 in
    Florenceville, NB
  • In the first year, the plant employed 30 people, produced 1,500 lbs of
    product/hour and earned sales of $152,678
  • McCain Foods expanded its frozen potato product to the U.K., Australia
    and the U.S. in the 1960s
  • In the 1970s, McCain opened its first prepared foods plant
  • Additional plants opened internationally in the Netherlands, Germany,
    Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
  • In 1976, McCain began producing frozen pizza
  • Juice plants and numerous other plants opened or were acquired expanding
    the business into vegetable, fish, and potato-based animal foods in the
  • Acquisitions defined the 1990s, along with millions of dollars in
    facility upgrades and expansions, including the purchase of the Ore-Ida
    Food Service frozen French fry and appetizer business in 1997
  • In 1995, the McCain family, together with a financial partner, acquired
    a controlling interest in Maple Leaf Foods. Wallace was appointed
    Chairman of the Board.
  • He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and promoted to
    Companion in 2008
  • Awarded the Order of New Brunswick in 2003
  • Brother and McCain Foods co-founder, Harrison McCain, died in 2004

Honorary Degrees and Awards

  • Mount Allison University (LL.D. in 1973)
  • University of King’s College (D.C.L. in 1987)
  • University of New Brunswick (D.Litt. in 2002)
  • Dalhousie University (LL.D. in 2007)
  • Trent University (B.Ed. in 2007)
  • University of Toronto (LL.D. in 2007)
  • St Francis Xavier University (LL.D. in 2011)
  • Knight of the Golden Pencil Award, Toronto, 1988
  • Gary Wright Humanitarian Award from Friends of We Care Inc., 1992
  • Honorary Life Member, Potato Association of America, 1992
  • Canadian Business Hall of Fame, 1993
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 1995
  • New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame, 1997
  • B’nai Brith Award of Merit, 1999
  • Honorary Life Member, Association of Professional Engineers and
    Geoscientists of New Brunswick, 2003
  • Order of New Brunswick, 2003
  • Canadian International Executive of the Year, 2003
  • Induction into the Canadian Manufacturing Hall of Fame, 2006
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Ontario Lifetime Achievement
  • International Horatio Alger Award, 2008
  • Companion of the Order of Canada, 2008

Philanthropic Affiliations

  • St. Michael’s Hospital Board (Director)
  • National Ballet School Financial Campaign (Co-Chair)
  • Wallace McCain Student Centre (Mount Allison University)
  • Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation
  • McCain Chair in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Wallace McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer (Princess Margaret Hospital)
  • Wallace McCain Institute (University of New Brunswick)

SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.