Baxter Ricard was a broadcasting pioneer in Northern Ontario. He owned a chain of radio, television and cable stations. Born in Verner in 1905, his family owned Ricard’s Hardware on Lisgar St. in Sudbury for many years.
Ricard ran the store for a decade before investing with a group of Sudbury businessmen in 1947 to put radio station CHNO on the air.
Ten years later, in 1957, Ricard became the first radio broadcaster in Canada licensed to operate two AM stations in the same city. CHNO became an all-English station and CFBR became the new French outlet. (A third station, CJMX, was established on FM in 1980.) At one time Mid-Canada Radio owned radio stations in Blind River, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Espanola and Elliot Lake.
Ricard owned television stations in Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins and built the Mid-Canada Television chain.
In 1975, with a number of northern entrepreneurs, he established a cable television company that would become Northern Cable Holdings.
In 1990, Ricard’s media holdings were sold off in a series of transactions: MCTV was acquired by Baton Broadcasting; Mid-Canada Radio was sold to Pelmorex, becoming Pelmorex Radio Network, and Northern Cable was sold to CFCF’s cable television division that would later be acquired by Persona.
Ricard was one of the drivers of urban renewal in downtown Sudbury, and gave generously of his time to numerous community and professional committees.
In 1980, Ricard received a public service award from the Central Canada Broadcasters’ Association, and in 1987 was awarded an honorary doctorate by Laurentian University. In 1990, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Northern Ontario business Awards.
In 1999, he was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Ricard died in 1993. His wife, Alma, died in 2003. During their lifetimes, the couple gave generously to many building projects in the city including Laurentian University and the residence at Cambrian College.
After her husband’s death, Alma donated $23 million to a fellowship fund that promotes French education. (http://www.fondationricard.com/)
École Felix Ricard was named in honour of Ricard’s father’s contributions to the Sudbury District Roman Catholic School Board.
From the Baxter & Alma Ricard Foundation Website:
The Foundation was born out of the will and the generosity of Mr. Baxter Ricard and Mrs. Alma Ricard . Their vision is part of a deep attachment to the French Canadian community in the wake of the pioneers who built the country. After the death of Baxter Ricard in 1993, Mrs. Alma Ricard created the foundation that bears their name and encourages French Canadians to move forward and preserve their identity while participating in the Canadian cultural mosaic. “Baxter & Alma Ricard The Foundation offers to French Canadians living in minority communities the opportunity to obtain education high in the best institutions in the world, without going into debt.
The family of Mr. Baxter Ricard is established in Sudbury in northern Ontario since the early twentieth century.
The Ricard are pioneers of the Sudbury area. Baxter’s father, Felix Ricard, a great defender of the rights of Francophones in Ontario in the field of education, has made significant gains for francophones.
Baxter Ricard for his part based bilingual radio stations, and then became interested in cable TV. He created with his associates the largest network of communications – radio, television and cable – Northeastern Ontario. Before his death in 1993, he sold all his businesses and decided with his wife, Alma Ricard, create the foundation that bears their names.
Born in Montreal in 1906 the family of Vézina. In 1937, she went to Sudbury where she gets a job at the hardware store Ricard. She married Baxter Ricard in 1940. It became inseparable companion Baxter Ricard taking an active part in all their businesses and especially those in the field of radio, television, cable television. It is part of the leadership of Northern Cable Holdings Ltd.. and Sudbury Broadcasting Corporation. It also supports and second her husband, Baxter Ricard in many community and charitable organizations in the Sudbury area. Due to the sale of business communication, Baxter and Alma Ricard create a foundation dedicated to collecting donations for charitable purposes.
Before his death in 1993, Baxter Ricard says his wife care to dispose of their property and direct the Foundation.
This continues the task with dedication by giving substantial donations to various hospitals and educational institutions including St. Michael’s Hospital Toronto General Hospital Sudbury, Cambrian College and the University of Sudbury. She also serves on the board of some hospitals, Toronto General Hospital. In 1998, Alma Ricard advanced a considerable sum at the Baxter & Alma Ricard Foundation to promote further advanced studies and to facilitate . access to deserving students Mrs. Alma Ricard realize the dream she shared with her husband. supporting the ambitious students in pursuing their dreams Laurentian University in Sudbury expressed his gratitude by presenting him with a honorary doctorate in recognition of his magnanimous gesture. In 1999, the University of Ottawa also decreed him an honorary doctorate and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie awarded him the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre de la Pléiade, Order of the Francophonie and the dialogue of cultures. She was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in April 2000 and received his decoration from the hands of the Governor General, Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, September 13, 2002.Mrs. Alma Ricard died in Sudbury June 2, 2003.