Member Biography

McLennan A

Alexander Livingston McLennan

(1878.05.10 – 1962.05.30)
Commission #050


Alexander “Biddy” Livingstone McLlennan was born on May 10, 1878 in Port Arthur, Thunder Bay, Ontario to Roderick and Helen Mclennan. He grew up with three sisters and three brothers. Biddy and his three brothers all became engineers. One of his nephews (Alex B. McLennan) became an Ontario Land Surveyor.

Biddy enrolled in the SPS (School of Practical Science) program at the University of Toronto in 1898. He was actively involved in the sports Rugby and Hockey.

These are a just a couple of the many items written in University of Toronto publications:

“The senior S.P.S. team will, no doubt, uphold the reputation gained in the last three years, and, with proper management and the absence of such an attack of “swelled-head” as that which laid low the Juniors last year, there is   every reason to expect that, for the fourth successive season, the Mulock Cup will remain with the Science Faculty.

 The loss of those stalwart wings, “Biddy” McLennan and “Baldy” Campbell, is irreparable, for to their “starry”  performances is due, to a great extent, the unique feat of capturing the Mulock Cup three times in succession.”

“Alexander Livingston MacLennan, better known as “Biddy”, was born in the town of Port Arthur, Ont., where he resided for three busy years. He then moved to Toronto, where he attended the Public Schools and then Harbord Collegiate. On matriculating, he came to the S.P.S. as the best place to obtain thorough courses in manly sport and Civil Engineering. “Biddy” always took an active part in out-door athletics, and has made himself famous playing inside wing on the Rugby team, in the Autumns of 1900 and 1901. “Biddy” likes to play hockey. In the Winter of 1901, when the great              match was played by the 2nd year Civils and Miners against the 2nd year Mechanicals, “Biddy” covered himself with glory and his opponent with battle-scars. Experience prompted him to suggest that a hockey player should have another pair of skates on his shoulders, and castors on his ears. In this position he could not fall so easily, and would also cover more ground. A detailed history of “Biddy” would fill volumes, but, as a right good fellow and a true friend, “Biddy” is an ideal.”

He graduated in 1902 as an Engineer. After graduating he went to work at the York County Engineering Department.  In 1903 he was said to be out West in the Calgary area. He obtained his DLS Commission No. 293 on February 23, 1905.

From 1905 into 1913 Biddy worked as a DLS for the Department of the Interior performing mostly township surveys in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Records show that he lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for at least a few years. Possibly 1906-1909 as he is listed on the 1911 Census as being back in Toronto.

On May 17, 1912, he received his Commission (#50) as a Saskatchewan Land Surveyor. He performed some subdivisions in Saskatoon, Yorkton and Moose Jaw. I am not sure if he had his own firm or if he worked with another surveyor.

In 1916 Biddy enlisted into the Canadian Engineers Corps and served overseas in WW1 into 1918. He ended up obtaining the rank of Captain.

After being discharged from the military, Biddy worked with the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment to help soldiers returning from the war.

From 1920 to 1944 he is listed (most of the years) as a Civil Engineer living in Toronto with his brother Colin. In 1945 he was a right of way agent with Ontario Hydro and then in 1946 until retirement in 1953 he is listed as a civil engineer with Ontario Hydro.

According to his great nephew, Bruce McLlennan, his Uncle Biddy was a world traveler, member of the Toronto Lawn & Tennis Club and was a very active gentleman even in his later years.

Biddy passed away on May 30, 1962.


"1 final story: when I was a pre-schooler and Uncle Biddy came to visit us in Sudbury (he would have been approx. 77 years old), I greeted him one morning by jumping on him in bed to start his day. The next morning when I went to do the same thing, he had removed the door knob!

So even in his senior years he exhibited the practical approach that land surveyors always require.”

- Bruce McLennan CPA,CMA, CIRP, LIT