Born in Elmbank, Ontario, James Speers moved to Winnipeg in 1900. In 1920 he headed a partnership that leased and operated the River Park race track. Two years later he built Whittier Park Racetrack in Saint Boniface, Manitoba and then in 1923, the Polo Park Racetrack in Winnipeg and Chinook Park in Calgary, Alberta
In 1925, James Speers founded the Prairie Thoroughbred Breeders" Association and began breeding Thoroughbreds that would earn him six consecutive Canadian Breeder of the Year Awards between 1946 and 1951.
James Speers was inducted in Canada"s Sports Hall of Fame in 1966, was part of the 1976 inaugural class of inductees in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and was inducted in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983.
Following the devastation of the 1950 Red River Flood, James Speers donated the entire profits from his 1950 racing meetings to the Flood Relief Fund. James Speers died of a heart attack at age 72 in 1955 and was buried in Winnipeg"s Elmwood Cemetery.