Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 143 years

Memorable Manitobans: Curtis James Bird (1838-1876)

Click to enlarge

Curtis James Bird
Click to enlarge

Physician, MLA (1871-1874), Speaker (1873-1874), MLA (1875-1876).

Born at Middlechurch on the Red River in 1838, son of Chief Factor James Curtis Bird and Mary Lowman (?-?), a teacher at the Red River Academy. He was educated at St. John’s College in Winnipeg and studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London. He returned to practise in Red River where he succeeded Dr. Bunn as coroner for the District of Assiniboia in 1861, receiving formal appointment in 1862. He held this post until the 1870s, advocating publicly supported medical care in the settlement. He owned a drug store which had the first soda fountain in the Canadian west and was one of the founders of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, in 1873.

He became a member of the Council of Assiniboia in 1868, and in 1869 became a member of the Provincial Convention of Forty called by Louis Riel to draw up a Bill of Rights for the new Province. In December 1870, at the first election after Manitoba joined Confederation, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly representing St. Paul’s. He was appointed a member of the first provisional Board of Education 1871. He served as Speaker of the Assembly from 1873 to 1874, and was re-elected in 1874. He was coroner at the time of Winnipeg’s first murder. When Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 1873 he gave an adverse ruling regarding a bill to incorporate the City of Winnipeg. Resentment was such that he was dragged from his sleigh and a pail of tar thrown over him. He never really recovered from the incident.

In 1862, he married Frances Ross (?-?). He later married his sister-in-law, Annabella Ross McDermott (?-?), widow of Charles Edward McDermott, in 1866.

He contracted pneumonia while on a trip to England in search of better health care with S. P. Matheson, Archbishop of Rupert’s Land, and he died at London in May 1876.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Birds Hill Provincial Park Plaque (Birds Hill Provincial Park, RM of Springfield)

Curtis James Bird, Dictionary of Canadian Biography


A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Browse deaths occurring in:
1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban | Firsts | Acknowledgements

Help us keep
history alive!

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2022 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.