FOUR GENERATIONS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP
Malcolm (Skip) McGrath comes from a long line of builders and craftsmen. Both his great grandparents on his mother’s side were artisans. George Packham, a stone mason, came to Toronto in 1906 from England. George Perry, a carpenter, came to Toronto in 1908 from Newfoundland, and taught his son William Perry the trade. William went on to set up a successful carpentry and joinery business in Leaside. His daughter married Malcolm McGrath Senior, a young civil engineer whose father worked in the construction materials business. Malcolm Senior learned the business from his father-in-law and went on to set up a successful construction business in Toronto, specializing in complex commercial fit-out projects.
As a boy Malcolm (Skip) spent many hours helping his grandfather in his shop in Leaside, and as soon as he entered his teens started working on construction sites for his father’s business. When his father retired from the industry in the eighties, Malcolm (Skip) went on to work for various construction companies in the Toronto area. Some of them undertook highly specialized renovations, such as CAT scan facilities. Malcolm also began working as a self-employed contractor.
During the early 1990s, with the slowdown in building in Southern Ontario, Malcolm took his trade overseas. He set up shop in Moscow, fitting out office and living spaces for the influx of foreign companies after the fall of Communism. Malcolm’s client list included Amoco, Conoco, ING Bank, and Nabisco, to name a few. He also did a stint as a project management consultant for Coca-Cola while they were setting up factories in Samara and Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad). During this time Malcolm worked with craftsmen and builders from all over Europe. He also worked on renovation projects in some of Moscow’s most famous historic buildings, such as Moscow State University on top of the Lenin hills, or the palatial cottages on the outskirts of Moscow constructed for party elites such as Khrushchev.
In 1998 Malcolm decided to return to Toronto, settle down, and start a family. Since then he has been working as self-employed contractor.