While still completing his undergraduate degree at McGill University, Edward Plunket Taylor, BSc’1922, LLD’77, invented the first two-sided, multi-slice toaster. Taylor dreamed up the invention while waiting for his bread to brown one wintry morning. He drew up plans and filed for the patent just two weeks after turning 18.
Taylor sold the rights to his invention and took his royalties to Montreal’s Blue Bonnets racetrack, sparking a lifelong interest in horse racing. Despite his household invention, he is probably most famous for breeding the legendary Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer.
Others may know him as the driving force behind the consolidation of the Canadian beer industry. From the 1930s into the 1960s, Taylor bought up numerous small breweries — many financially failing at the time — and uplifted them through consolidation. His company, Canadian Breweries Limited (CBL), was one of the “big three” Canadian brewers. It eventually merged with Molson.
At McGill, Taylor is celebrated as the founder of the Alma Mater Fund, which has made a lasting impact on the community. In 1948, he established the fund as a way to encourage alumni to make annual donations to the University. In their first year, Taylor and his team of volunteers raised an impressive $132,230 for the fund.
Today, the Alma Mater Fund continues to support McGill’s libraries, teaching and research programs, as well as life-changing scholarships and internships for students.