Arthur Napier Magill (1910 & 1986)

Born in Cobourg, Ontario in 1910, Arthur (Art) Napier Magill became blind at the age of 17 as a result of separate home and work accidents. Although he never finished public school, he enrolled in the School for the Blind in Brantford and went on to earn a Master’s degree, with honours, in Economics and Business from Michigan State University.

In 1935, Mr. Magill was recruited by CNIB co-founder Lt.-Col. E.A. Baker to join the organization as a field representative in Windsor, Ontario.

From 1953 to 1955, Mr. Magill was seconded by CNIB to the United Nations, where he led a technical assistance team of international specialists charged with developing an education and rehabilitation centre in Cairo, Egypt, which would serve as a model for similar facilities in the Middle East and as a training centre for teachers.

He went on to hold many positions within CNIB, and in 1962, succeeded Col. Baker as national managing director.

In 1962 he was elected president of the American Association of Workers for the Blind and was later honoured with this organization’s highest award.

Mr. Magill was active in the Rotary Club of Toronto for more than 25 years and was a lay member of the Ontario Medical Association.

A passionate believer in the importance of preventing blindness, Mr. Magill ensured that eye service departments were expanded to all CNIB divisions across Canada. He also devoted to ensuring that all Canadians living with vision loss should have access to higher education and better job opportunities.

Mr. Magill was presented with the Coronation Medal in 1953, the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967, and the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Book of Fame Award in 1973. In 1976, CNIB established the Arthur Napier Magill Distinguished Service Award as a tribute to Arthur Magill.

He and his wife Isobel had two children. Mr. Magill died in Toronto, Ontario, in 1986.

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