Written by: Justin Brett
Obviously, the president or financer of a company like Algoma Steel fill very important roles. But it can be easily forgotten that a hard worker among the hands-on employees can often be sources of great inspiration and deserving of respect. David Kyle is one such worker.
In fact, David’s time with Algoma Steel was before Sir James Dunn had anything to do with the company beyond an investor’s role. He had come to the Sault in 1909 and was in charge of installing a gas engine that would connect to the plant’s No. 3 Furnace. By all accounts he did this job well, well enough that when it was concluded in 1912 the plant’s owners employed him in a permanent position of Mechanical Superintendent. He would later receive a further promotion to that of Assistant General Superintendent.
David was one of many young men who went overseas to fight in World War I when Canada joined the conflict. He served as capably in his time there as he did at Algoma Steel, obtaining the rank of Captain for his efforts. This is particularly impressive, as he did not serve until the war was over: in 1917 he was released from his service by the urgent request of Algoma Steel’s management, a testament to his value as an employee.
His new role upon returning in June of that year was significant enough to justify this, that of assistant to the President. Not even a year later he was promoted once again, this time to General Manager and Vice-President. In addition to his skill as a worker, David Kyle had a charisma to him that made him well-liked among the other employees, and this was a valuable asset in the years following the war, when Algoma Steel was in particularly dire straits.
No matter how good or pleasant a worker he was, however, David Kyle was still only human. While working in the winter of January 1920, he suffered a severe chill that soon worsened into Pneumonia. The illness would sadly end up taking his life.
Despite being there for a relatively short time, David had enough of an effect on Algoma Steel that its workers petitioned for a memorial to be erected at his worksite. This came in the form of an ingot and plaque dedicated to his memory, found at the entrance of the plant. He would also be further honoured with an institution named after him, the David Kyle Public School. This site would later be demolished to make room for the David Kyle Park, where the monument was moved. Despite a regrettably early death at just 35, David Kyle is proof one can be remembered with hard work and compassion, even in a small town.