Memorable Manitobans: William Wallace Blair (1852-1916)
Born at Anktelle Lodge, Stewartstown, Tyrone County, Ireland on 14 December 1852, son of McCrea Parker and Eliza Blair, he was educated at the Academical Institute of Belfast, Ireland, later serving as a pupil under Charles Sherry of Belfast. He commenced a professional career at Middlesborough-on-Tees, England in 1874.
He came to Canada in 1876 and resided in Hamilton and Toronto until 1884, then returned to Ireland as resident engineer in Londonderry and Ballymena waterworks system until 1889. He then moved to Chicago and practiced his profession there for fifteen years. He came to Winnipeg in 1905 and practiced until early 1907 with George William Northwood.
In 1879, he married Margaret Maria Bastedo (1856-1948) of Toronto and they had a son and a daughter: McCrea Parker Blair and Marguerite Marie Blair (1884-1975, wife of William Whyte). He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club, Adanac Club, Hamilton Club (Chicago) and the AF & AM. He was a Fellow of the Royal Architect Institute of Canada, and a member of the Manitoba Association of Architects and the Royal Society of Arts of London. He enjoyed golf and fishing.
He retired to Victoria, British Columbia in 1911 where he died on 17 July 1916.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Former resident dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 July 1916, page 4.
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.
We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 November 2022