Leonard Lee dies at 77

Local resident Leonard Lee, the founder of Lee Valley Tools, passed away last night at the age of 77.

by Brent Eades

Leonard1
Leonard Lee at L.G. Lee & Sons store (photo: Brent Eades)

Mr. Lee moved into a home on the 8th Line of Ramsay in 1996, on a farm property he bought in 1972. Just last year he and his sons opened a store at 36 Mill Street in Almonte, L.G. Lee & Sons.

Born in 1938 in Wadena, Saskatchewan, Mr. Lee began his global business in 1977 from an Ottawa strip mall, selling cast iron stove parts through the mail. In 1978 he expanded into specialized woodworking tools and left a government job to launch Lee Valley Tools.

The company now has 17 retail stores across Canada and takes orders from throughout the world. According to a 2014 Globe and Mail story, annual sales exceed $100 million.

A Member of the Order of Canada, Mr. Lee also received honorary degrees from Carleton University, Royal Military College, Ottawa University and the Telfer School of Management.