Judge William Legh Walsh
William L. Walsh was born on January 28, 1857 in that Colonial portion of Canada that would later become Simcoe, Ontario. After graduating from the University of Toronto he became a lawyer, councillor and Mayor of Orangeville, Ontario. He then moved to the Yukon and eventually Calgary, Alberta after he received Kings Counsel in 1903. A prominent trial lawyer, Mr. Walsh claimed victory on many precedent-setting cases.
In 1912 Mr. Walsh was appointed to the Supreme Court of Alberta and had a reputation of being a ‘hanging judge’ as he believed strongly in capital punishment; during his career he sentenced 18 criminals to death. In 1921, his Honor became an Appellate Judge in the Calgary division and resigned in 1931 when he appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, where he remained until he retired in October 1936.
The Judge received many honorariums including: Chief Sitting Eagle (Pee`topi) of the Blood Nations First Nations Tribe; Doctor of Laws degree; Colonel of the University of Alberta Contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps. He was also admitted as a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John Jerusalem. Edmonton named a Crescent after him in 1981.
Known to friends as “Daddy Walsh“ he was well respected for his gifts of mind and character as well as being a warm-hearted human being. He displayed a record of integrity, devotion to duty and a service which will be an inspiration.
Sadly the Judge died of heart failure in January of 1938 at his home in Victoria, BC. After a simple service, his body was interred at the Calgary Union Cemetery.
His Honour was an avid sportsman and enjoyed many activities in his free time. While living in the Yukon, he was a member of a curling team that won the Yukon championship. In Calgary, he was a member of the Calgary Golf and Country Club where he served as the first president of the Canadian Club of Calgary. An avid golfer, Walsh founded a seniors` golf tournament named for him that is held presently, alternatively in Edmonton and Calgary.