Blue, Archibald L. (1840 - 1914)
Inducted: November 29, 1989
Archibald L. Blue, a native of Duart, used his farm background and a talent for statistics to make a name for himself as the first Ontario Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
When he was appointed to that position in 1888, he had a staff of 35, large by late Nineteenth Century standards. The departmental budget accounted for more than ten percent of the total provincial budget of $212,145. Mr. Blue was born on a farm near Duart, the son of John Blue and Mary McTavish. He taught school for several years before going into journalism.
For the first ll years, he was a member of the editorial staff at the St. Thomas Journal. Mr. Blue, like many ambitious newspapermen of that era, went to Toronto to work for the Toronto Globe, a parent of the Globe and Mail. The significant break in his career came in 1881, when he was asked to prepare a report on the handling of Ontario Department of Agriculture statistics.
Mr. Blue did this so well that he was appointed secretary of the Bureau of Industry, a statistics-gathering organization. Six years later in 1888, he became Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Ontario, a tacit recognition of the outstanding work he had done in statistics.
Later, Mr. Blue was a member of a Royal Commission studying mineral resources, a preparation for a later responsibility as head of the Bureau of Mines.
The turn of the century brought his appointment as Chief Census Commissioner for Canada; and six years later he was promoted to the position of Chief Officer of Census and Statistics. The Canada Year Book was established while he was there.
Mr. Blue, who is credited with providing a sound framework for agricultural and other statistics, worked as Chief Officer of Census until his death in 1914, a few weeks before the outbreak of World War I.