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MHS Centennial Business: Pitblado LLP

In 1882, Isaac Pitblado, the fifteen-year-old son of a Presbyterian minister, arrived in the booming frontier town of Winnipeg from his home in Nova Scotia. He would later reminisce that at the time of his arrival, “the population of Winnipeg was about 8,500 and living conditions were terrible. It was a veritable mud hole in rainy weather ... there were only a few wooden sidewalks, no sewers or water works ... houses had no modern conveniences.” He enrolled in Manitoba College to further his education in Latin, French and Greek then, in 1886, he joined the law firm of Aikins, Culver and Hamilton as an apprentice because there was no formal Law School in Manitoba. In 1903, now a fully trained lawyer, Pitblado moved to a firm founded 21 years earlier by F. Beverley Robertson, which then assumed the name of Campbell, Pitblado, Hoskin and Grundy.

The partnership has undergone numerous changes of personnel and name since 1903, finally becoming known simply as Pitblado in 2002, comprising over 60 barristers and solicitors, located in offices within eyesight of the original Robertson firm location on Main Street. Its legal activities over the years have been wide-ranging, in the areas of labour, agriculture, mining, transportation and trade, among others. Members of the firm have also been involved actively in provincial politics and civic administration, as well as public philanthropy. Isaac Pitblado and his son Edward Bruce Pitblado, also a partner in the firm, were active in the founding of Ducks Unlimited Canada in 1937. Other prominent partners have included Oscar Samuel Alsaker, Edwin Henry Bennest QC, Colin H. Campbell, Humphry R. Drummond-Hay QC, William C. Gardner QC, Henry Platt Grundy, Robert Dunbar Guy QC, Alfred Erskine Hoskin, G. Richard Hunter QC, Duncan J. Jessiman QC, Arthur E. Johnston QC, Wilfred Stanley McEwen QC, John Percival Montague, Alan Sweatman QC, A. Kerr Twaddle QC, and John A. Scollin QC.

An MHS Centennial Business Award was presented to Pitblado by David Deane in January 2004.

See also:

F. Beverley Robertson: The Tragic Life of Poundmaker’s Defence Counsel by Ross D. Petty
Manitoba History, Number 73, Fall 2013

Sources:

Information for this page derives, in part, from the privately published book Learned Friends, Reminiscences - Pitblado & Hoskin 1882-1974 by Anna Tillenius, 1974.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 June 2019

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