Born in Oshawa in 1854, Patrick Burns succumbed to the lure of the west in the early 1880s. His first undertaking involved feeding the crews engaged in building the Canadian Pacific Railway. No contract was too big for him to tackle and his supply wagons were always at their destination on time.
When the railway was completed he entered into a contract with the government to supply beef to Indians on reservations in accordance with treaty arrangements. As a result of this undertaking, he conceived the idea of establishing a packing plan. Shortly after the first plant was in operation, others were opened at strategic points throughout the west.
To keep his plants operating, he established a ranch where cattle were raised and finished; others were encouraged to follow his example. It has often been said that Mr. Burns did more than any other person to develop the beef cattle industry of western Canada.
Mr. Burns was a member of the “Big Four” responsible for the establishment of The Calgary Stampede.
In 1932 he was appointed to the Canadian Senate.