"There wouldn't be a week, in the past several years especially,
when I haven't talked to him at least once or twice," says Bragg.
"He has that great balance of listening and giving advice, but also
forces you to come to your own conclusions."
Bragg says that Crawford has offered him all kinds of business
and strategic advice, but there is one saying in particular that he
"If I'm into a difficult situation that I just can't solve, he says, `Oh
John, life's complicated.' Basically, it's a nice, simple way of saying
`Just move on,'" Bragg says with a laugh.
Crawford calls Bragg "a hell of a smart businessman" and credits
the success of Maritime families, such as the McCains and the
Braggs, to being entrepreneurial.
"There is a lot of that entrepreneurial spirit in Eastern Canada,"
says Crawford. "There may be a lot of entrepreneurs that try and
fail, but the ones who do succeed, do very well."
Current Mount Allison Chancellor and CBC news anchor
Peter Mansbridge knew Crawford well before his time at Mount
Allison. In fact, Crawford recruited Mansbridge to the Canadian
Business Hall of Fame before eventually helping bring him to
Mount Allison as chancellor.
"The only issue I have with Purdy is trying to break through the
lineup of people who, like me, seek his help and direction on a
constant basis," Mansbridge jokes.
Crawford's incessant thirst for knowledge and "call-it-like-you-see-
it" approach made him a natural fit for the classroom. He spent
four years teaching at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York
University and at the University of Toronto.
"Teaching opened the doors to recruiting great students to build a
legacy I could be proud of at Osler," Crawford says.
Crawford's legacy at Mount Allison is also something of which
he can be proud. In recognition of his many other contributions,
Mount Allison's new $30-million Centre for the Arts, set to open
in 2014, has been officially named the Purdy Crawford Centre
for the Arts. Crawford's colleagues and friends, who donated
generously to the Centre, expressed their support for naming the
building in his honour.
"The Centre for the Arts is really recognition of his many years of
hard work and contribution to Mount Allison," says Bragg. "He
has been very involved and helpful in so many ways."
At 80, Crawford still gets up at 6 a.m. and reads through
York Times, the Financial Times, The Globe and Mail, and the
National Post on his Kindle before heading into his office at Osler.
And although his schedule has slowed down considerably in the
past number of years, he still remains an active supporter of LED
Roadway Lighting, Oxford Frozen Foods, Paradigm Capital,
Second Cup Coffee, and, of course, Mount Allison.
"I just don't know the alternative," he says, "I do my work in
between my retirement."
Introducing long-time friend Gov. Gen.
David Johnston at Commencement 2011