Pinder Family

Through four generations, the Pinder family of Saskatoon has held a prominent place in Saskatchewan business. Abraham Pinder was the first generation of Pinders to arrive in Saskatoon. After emigrating from Yorkshire, England, Abraham spent thirty-five years in North Toronto before moving west in 1912 to Saskatoon, where he established himself as a successful contractor. His son, Robert Mitford Pinder (1891–1946), arrived in Saskatoon in 1914 after graduating from the Pharmacy College in Winnipeg. Robert found work with the Saskatoon Drug and Stationary Company and, through his entrepreneurial ambition, quickly climbed the company ranks from employee to store manager to part-owner. Although much of Robert’s time was devoted to his business interests in retail pharmacy, he was actively involved in community affairs, serving Saskatoon as an alderman from 1928 to 1933 and as mayor from 1935 to 1938. Robert passed away in 1946, leaving to his family the foundation for what would become one of Saskatchewan’s best-known family businesses, Pinder’s Drugs. His two sons, Robert Ross and Herb Sr., took control of the three-store family business, and through several decades expanded it to a twenty-store retail chain in Saskatoon, Regina, and Calgary. Herb Sr. was an active member in the business community. He developed Saskatoon’s first retail shopping centre and established Saskatchewan’s first oil-drilling firm. In 1964, he became Minister of Industry and Commerce under Ross Thatcher’s Liberal government. The Pinder’s Drugs chain was entrusted to a third generation of Pinders when Herb Sr.’s eldest son, Herb Jr., rose to the helm as company president. In 1992, the Pinders sold their family business to Shoppers Drug Mart, ending thus more than seventy-five years in the pharmacy business. R. Ross Pinder received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1997, while Herb Pinder Sr. was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1998.

Iain Stewart

Further Reading

Moen, K. 2002. “Representation Above Board,” Saskatchewan Business 23: 15–16.