Cape Breton University is honoured to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, business success and career of Lloyd MacDonald, a hard-working, well-respected leader, family man and community member who continues to make a difference in the lives of many.
Lloyd MacDonald was born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1931. When Mr. MacDonald was six months old, his father, James, was killed in the coal mines at the age of 31. Since his mother, Belle, was in poor health, Mr. MacDonald went to live with his Aunt Elizabeth and her husband, J.J. MacDonald, who became foster parents to Mr. MacDonald and his siblings.
Mr. MacDonald received his early education at St. Joseph’s School and Sydney Academy, where playing the violin was a major part of his learning. He excelled at playing this instrument and received many awards in recognition of his talent. Mr. MacDonald then went on to St. Francis Xavier University, where he began a Commerce degree. Challenging circumstances, however, forced him to leave university before graduating.
Upon returning home, Mr. MacDonald began selling bread for Eastern Bakery in Sydney. Following this venture, he became a salesman for Northern Wholesalers in North Sydney. But it was his next job, as a salesman for Lamie Motors, which would mould the story of the rest of his life. As a car salesman he moved around to a few dealerships, before deciding that his dream was to open his own business. In the early 1960s he opened a Datsun dealership and in the late 1960s, a Nissan dealership would follow. The rest is history. Now, Lloyd MacDonald and the MacDonald Auto Group employ close to 200 people and operate Toyota, Chrysler, Suzuki, Ford, Kia and Nissan dealerships, along with an auto body shop, a Polaris store and used car centres in Sydney and Port Hawkesbury. It is a family business and for that, Mr. MacDonald could not be happier.
Over the past 50 years, Mr. MacDonald and his family have provided employment for hundreds of Cape Bretoners. Recently, the company was ranked 36th on the list of the top 101 companies in Atlantic Canada, according to Progress Magazine. With revenue of slightly more than $68 million, the impact and strides Mr. MacDonald and his family have made since that first Datsun dealership are evident.
Community is something that is also very important to Mr. MacDonald. He has been involved with many charitable ventures, including Resi-care, homeless shelters, Loaves and Fishes, and Cancer Cares. And through his love of music he has touched many by playing the violin at benefits, funerals, concerts and weddings. And this year, at the age of 80, Mr. MacDonald released his first cd.
In 2006, Mr. MacDonald was inducted into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame, an honour of which he is most deserving.
Mr. MacDonald resides in Ironville, NS, with his wife of 54 years, Winnie. They have twelve children.
Today, Cape Breton University confers the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on a man who was determined to succeed, had the courage to fight for his dreams and who is now receiving the University degree he had to abandon so many years ago, Lloyd MacDonald.