09/07/2011 12:54PM

Hastings: Great Canadian Gaming founder Ross McLeod dies at age 59

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Ross McLeod, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, the parent company of Hastings, died on Monday. Great Canadian declined to release a cause of death for McLeod, 59.

McLeod founded Great Canadian in 1982. Under his leadership it grew from a company that operated temporary charity casinos at various locations in British Columbia to the largest casino company in the province, headed by their flagship River Rock casino in Richmond.

McLeod was passionate about horse racing and spearheaded Great Canadian’s purchase of Hastings from Woodbine Entertainment Inc. in 2004. Great Canadian also owns the Standardbred track Fraser Downs in Surrey, B.C., plus Georgian and Flamboro Downs in Ontario. All of the tracks have casinos.

After the purchase of Hastings, McLeod became a Thoroughbred horse owner and breeder. The best horse he owned was Gotaghostofachance who won the Grade 3 Sport Page on the 2005 Breeders’ Cup card at Belmont.

McLeod will be remembered for his philanthropy. The C.H.I.L.D Foundation, which raises fund for medical research into Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and liver disorders in children, awarded him its “Doorman of the Year” in 2010 for his service to countless charitable organizations in British Columbia.

He is survived by his parents Roy and Dora McLeod, wife Sheila, and sons Malcolm and William. He also has three stepchildren, Stuart, Rachel and Trevor.

Funeral arrangements were not available as of Wednesday afternoon.