Thomas Ellis Ladner (1836-1922)

Pioneer, Founder of Ladner, British Columbia

Thomas Ellis Ladner is one of British Columbia’s most respected pioneers. He and his brother, William Henry Ladner, founded the village of Ladner’s Landing where a post office was opened on March 1, 1875. Today, Ladner is known for its historic town centre and its scenic waterfront location on the Fraser River Estuary.

Thomas Ellis Ladner was born in Trenant Park, Cornwall, England on September 8, 1836. He was one of six children born to Edward Ladner and Sarah (Ellis) Ladner. Thomas traveled from England to the United States with his brother William in 1851. Once gold was discovered in the Fraser River, they moved to BC in 1858. By 1868 Thomas and William had acquired twelve hundred acres in the lower Fraser River delta and began farming. They were the first permanent European settlers in the region.

In 1887 Thomas Ladner founded the Delta Canning Company in Ladner Village. The cannery later became part of the Victoria Canning Company where Thomas was appointed general manager. He also became part owner of the Wellington Packing Company at Canoe Pass across from Westham Island. These canneries later merged to form the BC Packers Association.

Thomas Ellis Ladner married Edna Booth on February 21, 1865 at St. John’s Anglican Church in Victoria, BC. They had seven children. After Edna died in 1882, he married Minnie Parr two years later and had six more children including an adopted daughter. Their large family home and acreage in Ladner was named Trenant Park, and stood on the property now occupied by Trenant Park Mall. Thomas Ellis Ladner died on April 24, 1922 after leaving a remarkable legacy for the people of British Columbia.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, historian.