Charles Alex Allard (1919-1991)
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Allard, Charles Alexander, FRCS (Canada) (1919-1991)
Surgeon, broadcaster, entrepreneur, innovator, industrialist, philanthropist, visionary - Dr. Charles Allard was all of these. Dr. Allard attended elementary school and high school in Edmonton. In 1943 he received his medical degree from the University of Alberta. He did post graduate studies in surgery at the Montreal General Hospital, the Lahey Clinic in Boston, the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Children's Memorial Hospital in Montreal. Dr. Allard set up his medical practice in Edmonton.
In 1948, Dr. Allard received Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons (Canada). In 1950, he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery. He was appointed Chief of Staff at the Edmonton General Hospital.
It was the process of establishing his medical practice in Edmonton that led Dr. Allard to his involvement in astonishingly diversified business interests. The first occurred when he could not find office space and decided to build the Northgate Building. Subsequently, he obtained substantial holdings in real estate, the controlling interest in North West Trust, Seaboard Life Insurance of Vancouver, western Canada's largest Chrysler dealership, restaurants, a construction company and fitness centres, to name only a few.
Charles Allard was a founder, Chairman of the Board and Director of International Jet Air Ltd. In 1972, he became founder, director and a Chairman of the Board of Alberta Gas Chemical Ltd. He also founded the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association (WHA). In 1983, he played a major role in establishing the Bank of Alberta.
Dr. Allard's involvement in the communications media actually occured while he was in high school, as a correspondent for the Edmonton Journal. Later, he founded the Edmonton Free Press.
In 1965 Dr. Allard started up the radio station CHQT, and in 1974 the Edmonton Independent television station CITV, of which he was chairman. Subsequently, he founded Studio Post and Transfer which became one of western Canada's finest post-production facilities.
Dr. Allard was a pioneer investor in western Canadian productions of television specials for world-wide distribution, notably the "In-Concert" series. Fifty-five specials were distributed in fifty-five countries.
In 1981, television signals were brought to remote and under-serviced communities in Canada, with the founding of Canadian Satellite Communications Inc., familiarly known as CANCOM. In 1982, Charles Allard founded Allarcom Pay Television Limited (Superchannel pay television network). In 1983, he was a founding father of the Independent Satellite News ("ISN") - a news-gathering agency with a bureau in Ottawa and a mandate to provide news of national/regional interest to its subscribers. In 1988, Dr. Allard was a co-founder and partner in the establishment of the Family Channel Network.
In his community work, Charles Allard founded Allard Foundation Ltd. He also was a director of Tempo School, a non-profit, interdenominational private school situated in Edmonton and which is dedicated to educational excellence.
Dr. Allard was a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and a Life Member of the American Murray Grey Association.
Dr. Allard passed away in 1991. Posthumously, he was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. In 1996, in recognition of his spectacular role in Canadian broadcasting, Dr. Charles Alexander Allard was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Written by J. Lyman Potts - April, 1997