01/21/2016 10:22 EST | Updated 01/21/2017 00:12 EST

Spruce Meadows founder, Alberta businessman Ron Southern dies at 85

CALGARY — Spruce Meadows founder and Alberta businessman Ron Southern died Thursday at the age of 85.

The equestrian facility and the company he co-founded announced Southern's death.

Ron Southern and his father started the Alberta Trailer Company in 1947, which later became the international company ATCO.

Southern and his wife Margaret opened Spruce Meadows in 1975.

The equestrian facility draws the world's top horses and riders to annual competitions. 

Southern was made a companion to the Order of Canada in 2006.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.