Born in Ireland, Alexander “Alex” Smith Woodburn was a prominent Ottawa businessman and philanthropist and the founder of the Ottawa Journal.
Between 1898 and 1904, Woodburn lived at 46 Henderson Ave. That home is still standing and is now part of the St George’s Housing Co-op (now numbered 40).
Along with a partner, John Bell, he established a printing business in the 1860 that prospered and at one point employed up to 80 people. When Thomas D’Arcy McGee was assassinated on April 7th 1868 it was Bell & Woodburn that printed the reward poster for the arrest of McGee’s killer. The firm printed the City Directory, along with maps, and government documents. In 1885, he started the Ottawa Evening Journal and was its owner until 1891 when financial difficulties forced him to sell his shares.
He was very active in civic affairs, serving on City Council, as secretary-treasurer of the County of Carleton Exhibition Association and the boards of various Protestant benevolent and educational organizations, including the Protestant Hospital. He was also active in the militia, helping establish the Ottawa Field Battery and fighting the Fenian raids.
Woodburn died of pneumonia on March 31, 1904 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery.