Memorable Manitobans: William Forbes Alloway (1852-1930)
Banker, businessman, philanthropist.
Born in Queen’s County, Ireland on 20 August 1852, son of Captain Arthur William and Mary Alloway, brother of Charles Valentine Alloway. He was educated at Montreal High School, then came to Manitoba with the Wolseley expedition as a private, in 1870, and worked briefly as a veterinarian. Then, beginning with a tobacco store, he moved into freighting and was an active dealer in Metis scrip, from 1872 to 1877. He was a participant in the December 1878 ceremony to mark the opening of the first railway to Winnipeg.
After 1879, he became a partner with Henry Thomson Champion in the banking firm of Alloway and Champion, which was transferred to the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1923. Alloway was a silent partner in many business ventures, especially in the milling industry. In 1910 he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires. He boasted that he had paid cash for everything throughout his life.
In 1879, he married Elizabeth Maclaren (1850-1926) of Buckingham, Quebec. They had no children. A member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, and Liberal party, his recreations included riding and driving. In 1911, he lived at 407 Assiniboine Avenue, Winnipeg. He served on the Winnipeg City Council (1876-1877, 1879-1880) and was a Governor of the Winnipeg General Hospital. His initial donation of $100,000 provided the incentive for establishment of The Winnipeg Foundation.
He died at Winnipeg on 2 February 1930 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Alloway Avenue in Winnipeg.
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.
“Bank of Commerce takes over business of Alloway and Champion,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 December 1923, page 1.
Death registrations [Elizabeth Alloway, William Forbes Alloway], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
“Free Press Necrology Files,” Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 16, University of Manitoba Archives]
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 2 June 2023