Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Aird (1855-1938)


Born at Longueil, Quebec on 15 November 1855, son of William and Margaret Aird, he was educated at the Toronto Model School. He engaged in railway work for six years and in banking for thirty-one. He was Manager of the Commerce Bank in Winnipeg (1899-1908) and Superintendent of Western Canadian operations (1908-1911) before returning to Toronto. Knighted in June 1917, he chaired the Aird Commission on Radio Broadcasting (1928-1929). The Aird Commission recommended the nationalization of broadcasting in Canada, leading to the establishment of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which in 1936 became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

He was married twice, first in 1882 to Phoebe Jane Johnston (1858-1886) with whom he had two children: William Aird (1883-1884) and Margaret Helen Aird (1884-1981, wife of Francis F. Carruthers), and second in 1886 to Eleanor Lawlor Johnston (1860-1954), with whom he had four children: Phoebe Ethelwynn Aird (1888-1960), John Kidd Wilson Aird (1890-1968), Hugh Reston Aird (1892-1970), and Wilhelmina Eleanor Aird (1898-1986). He was a member of the Toronto Club, Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, and Carleton Club. His recreations including golf, curling, bowling, and lacrosse. In 1911, he lived at 432 Assiniboine Avenue, Winnipeg.

He died at Toronto, Ontario on 30 November 1938.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bank of Commerce / Millennium Centre (384 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)


1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver.

“Sir John Aird, noted Canadian banker, is dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 November 1938, page 1.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Jock Howard for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 February 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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