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Memorable Manitobans: Alan Butler Beaven (1903-1988)

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Alan Butler Beaven
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Born at Ottawa, Ontario on 20 April 1903, son of Herbert Francis “Frank” Beaven (1869-1939) and Susan Effie Butler (1876-1953), he attended elementary and secondary school in Ottawa. After graduating from grade 11 he took a correspondence course in horticulture and began working for the Canadian Forestry Association in 1922. He was known for the lectures he gave from the Tree Planting Car (1926-1946), a railway coach donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway and coupled onto a passenger train to be moved from one town to another, courtesy of the CPR and Canadian National Railway. Presentations on the car advocated the systematic planting of trees across the prairies as a soil conservation measure. The program, started by the Canadian Forestry Association in 1919 with Archibald Mitchell (1868-1925) as the first lecturer, was continued under Beaven’s management until 1973 when it was discontinued.

On 22 February 1930, he married Iva Jane Barry (1901-1998) in Ottawa and the couple moved to Regina in the spring of 1930 and to Winnipeg in 1937. They had two children: Alan Barry Beaven (1930-1990) and Dianne Jane Beaven. He worked as manager of Prairie Provinces Forestry Association from 1959 and, in 1971, he was appointed Executive Director and Vice-President of the Manitoba Forestry Association. He assisted in founding the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre near Hadashville in 1957 and the Interlake Forest Centre near Hodgson / Fisher Branch in 1984.

He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba in 1974 and, four years later, he established the Dr. Alan Beaven Forestry Scholarship for Manitoba students who entered forestry-related courses at a university or technical school. He retired in 1978 but continued as an advisor to the Manitoba Forestry Association until 1985. Two years later, the Manitoba Forestry Association established the Dr. Alan B. Beaven CARE Award to be given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to forest conservation. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).

He died in Winnipeg on 26 October 1988.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre (Sandilands Provincial Forest, RM of Reynolds)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Interlake Forest Centre (RM of Fisher)

Manitoba Organization: Manitoba Forestry Association

A Prairie Odyssey: Alan Beaven and the Tree Planting Car by Dianne J. Beaven. Winnipeg: Hignell Printing, 2011.


Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.

“First Manitoban to win a Silver Smokey Award,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 June 1974, page 39.

“U of M degree for Beaven,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 October 1974, page 3.

“A travelling evangelist for the mighty tree” by Val Werier, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 December 1984, page 6.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 October 1988, page 46.

Obituary [Alan Barry Beaven], Calgary Herald, 30 August 1990, page E3.

Obituary [Iva Jane Barry Beaven], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 June 1998, page C6.

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

This page was prepared by Dianne Beaven and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 July 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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