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
In 1935, Mr. Magill was recruited by CNIB co-founder
Baker to join the organization as a field representative in
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
He and his wife Isobel had two children. Mr. Magill died in Toronto,
Ontario, in 1986.
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