Born in Orléans, Ontario, on 3 September 1888, Ascanio-J. Major was the son of entrepreneur Sylvanie J. Major and Corinne Lebel. His father died at the age of 44 in 1903, leaving his wife and 15-year-old son an Ottawa grocery business located at the corner of Murray and Dalhousie. Mrs. Major capably managed the business after the death of her husband until her son took over. After attending the Académie De La Salle and the University of Ottawa, A.-J. Major rapidly made his mark and became director of National Grocers, one of the largest wholesalers in the British Empire, with 29 outlets in Ontario. A respected and sought-after businessman, he became the president of such companies as Major Investments Ltd., Rose Gold Mining Co. and United Provinces Insurance Co., and vice-president of Guaranty Trust. He was the member of several Boards of Directors, including: the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade, the Ottawa Federal District Commission, the Hôpital Notre-Dame in Montréal and the National Bank of Canada. A.-J. Major was the president of L’Alliance française d’Ottawa (1936-1939) and the Rideau Club (1957-1959). For his philanthropy, he was made Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Grand Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He was appointed Honorary Belgian Consul in 1927, given an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Ottawa (1946), and made a Knight of the Order of the Crown of Belgium. He and his wife, Corinne Parent, had three sons, two of whom died serving their country during the Second World War. He died in Montréal on 16 August 1968 at the age of 80 and was buried in the family mausoleum in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cemetery.