$18 million awarded to 1,870 new Scholars in 2023









The Association honours the achievements of Canadians who have succeeded in spite of adversity and who encourage young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. These exceptional individuals receive the prestigious International Horatio Alger Award and are inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Canada as lifelong Members. Through its Members, the Association educates Canadian youth about the economic and personal opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system.

The Association also awards need-based scholarships annually to deserving students across Canada, who have financial need and who have persevered through adversity. In addition, the Association mentors its Scholars and underscores the importance of helping others. Members work directly to provide promising young people with the support, education and confidence needed to realize their aspirations.

Our Mission

To induct as Members of the Association contemporary role models whose experiences exemplify that opportunities for a successful life are available to all individuals who are dedicated to the principles of integrity, hard work, perseverance and compassion for others.

To provide scholarship assistance to deserving young Canadians who have demonstrated integrity and determination in overcoming adversity, academic potential, and the personal aspiration to make a unique contribution to society.

To mentor scholarship recipients and educate all youth about the limitless possibilities that are available through the free market system, while underscoring the importance of service to others.


The Horatio Alger Association of Canada was founded in 2009 to inspire individual Canadians to reach their highest potential, thereby strengthening Canadian society as a whole. The Association was created to recognize men and women of outstanding achievement and to educate young Canadians about the limitless opportunities that exist through the free market system.

The Horatio Alger Association bears the name of renowned author Horatio Alger, Jr., whose tales of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles captivated the public in the late 19th century.

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada is the Canadian affiliate of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. The American Association was created in 1947 with the goal of reigniting hope among younger generations and educating people about the economic and personal opportunities afforded them by the free-enterprise system.

In 2012, Horatio Alger Members founded the Association’s first Canadian scholarship program for students in Ontario. The following year, a new scholarship program was established in Quebec in honour of former Prime Minister and Association Member, The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. In 2014, the Association expanded its scholarship reach to Alberta and British Columbia with two new scholarship programs in honour of Horatio Alger Member, Jim Pattison.

Thanks to the generosity of Horatio Alger Members, a $10 million endowment was created to enable the Association to expand its scholarship support nationally. Since 2015, scholarships of up to $10,000 are available to students from all Canadian provinces and territories through the Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship Program.


Horatio Alger, Jr., was a prolific author in the 19th and early 20th centuries whose books inspired readers to work hard and persevere through adversity. Alger’s books – 128 in all – recount how a “can-do spirit” and individual initiative can allow anyone to achieve their dreams, regardless of circumstances.

Alger modelled his books on the life he lived as a child in mid-19th century Massachusetts. The son of a poor pastor in rural New England, Alger was the eldest of five children.
He suffered from severe asthma and was home schooled until the age of 10 by his father.

In 1848, at the age of 16, Alger was admitted to Harvard where he worked on the side in order to pay his way through college. Following graduation, he wanted to become a writer and was hired by a local paper.

However, Alger did not have success overnight.

At first, he was unable to support himself by writing and decided to become a teacher at a private boarding school for boys. He continued writing as he taught, and was paid $1 to $2 per column. Nonetheless, he was able to achieve some success and eventually published his first book, Bertha’s Christmas Vision, followed by Nothing to Do a year later.

Sales of Nothing to Do were disappointing and Alger decided to return Harvard to study theology. He continued to write during this time, but under a pen name. Following his studies he went to explore the European continent and wrote pieces about his travels, some of which were published.

This was when Alger turned his sights to children’s books. His first, Frank’s Campaign – a story about a boy who must work to pay the mortgage on his family’s farm while his father is off fighting in the U.S. Civil War – was published in 1864. It was a success. A second book, Paul Prescott’s Charge, followed in 1865.

The next year, Alger moved to New York City to pursue his writing career. It was there that Alger met the orphaned and homeless children on the streets – an unfortunate result of the American Civil War – that served as inspiration for his characters.

Alger wrote a total of 18 novels for youth between 1867 and 1873, the most famous being Ragged Dick. His storylines followed a similar path: a young boy living in poverty overcomes the odds by living an honest life and working hard. The villains in his books were often wealthy bankers, lawyers and country squires.

In his later years, Alger worked as a tutor, travelled, and wrote several more books, including biographical works on U.S. presidents. He retired permanently in 1896 to Nantick, Massachusetts, and died in 1899.

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada strives to promote the values exemplified in the books of Horatio Alger, Jr., and to honour those who have achieved success by adhering to them.

Board of Directors