Reverend Canon Albert John Jackson
An Anglican priest, Jackson lived in his City of York church balcony and refused a salary in order to keep his parish from going bankrupt during the depression. The modern home of the parish he helped save from the sheriff’s bailiff in 1934, is St. Hilda’s Anglican Church at Vaughan Road and Dufferin Street. Reverend Jackson spearheaded the building of the church in the early 1950s when he was its rector. The existence of the Northwestern General Hospital is largely due to his efforts in the early 1950s. He also served on the York Board of Education and, when the hospital had trouble finding registered nurses, he was instrumental in launching a program to train registered nursing assistants, a concept which has since spread across Ontario. Born in London, England, Jackson came to Canada with his family as a young boy. He grew up in Ottawa and moved to Toronto in 1919. He worked as an insurance clerk for four years before entering Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. In the summers he earned his tuition by travelling Northern Ontario selling pots and pans. Ordained in 1929, Jackson held positions in Toronto and Cobourg before being named rector of St. Hilda’s Church in 1934. He placed a camp cot in a corner of the balcony at the front of the church, and did his cooking in the basement. During World War II, Reverend Jackson served as chaplain for the Royal Canadian Air Force with the rank of honorary squadron leader. Following the war, he returned to his parish and encouraged his congregation to build a new church, towards which he donated $6,000. Not long after the new building was dedicated, Reverend Jackson was appointed to lead fund-raising for the Anglican Church across Canada. He eventually returned to St. Hilda’s, retiring in 1972 and becoming rector emeritus. Reverend Canon Albert Jackson died on Sunday, January 31, 1988.