Mortimer Barnett Davis was born into a family of Jewish immigrants in Montreal on February 6, 1866. His father had settled there around 1861 and had soon made his mark as one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the metropolis.
Mortimer Barnett grew up in affluent surroundings. His bar mitzvah in 1879 was held at the Spanish and Portuguese congregation. After studying at the High School of Montreal, around 1880 he followed his elder brothers into the family firm.
His family name has touched the lives of millions of North Americans as the “Tobacco King” made his mark and his fortune. Also, he impacted hundreds of thousands of Montrealers in the last half century. The old Davis Y on Kellert Ave in Cote Saint-Luc, the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research are three major examples of Sir Mortimer’s enduring and powerful family name.