Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Wallace Blair (1852-1916)

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William Wallace Blair
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William Wallace Blair
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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.

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:





Ryan Block

44 Princess Street, Winnipeg



Ryan House

5 East Gate, Winnipeg



Princeton Apartments

312 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg



Whyte House

66 Kingsway Avenue, Winnipeg



Minnedosa High School No. 232



Demolished (?)

Morris School No. 29



Demolished (?)

Warwick Apartments

366 Qu’Appelle Avenue, Winnipeg



Adelaide Block (addition)

103-111 Osborne Street, Winnipeg



Kenmore Block

314 Broadway, Winnipeg



Notre Dame Block

406 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg



Roslyn Court Apartments

40 Osborne Street, Winnipeg



Great West Saddlery Building

113 Market Avenue, Winnipeg



Farmer Block

333 Main Street, Winnipeg


Demolished (1980)

Justice School No. 696

Justice, RM of Elton



Fortune House

393 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg



Moore Park School No. 1008

Moore Park, RM of Minto-Odanah


Demolished (?)

Grey School No. 1356

Clanwilliam, RM of Minto-Odanah


Demolished (?)

Hill House

20 East Gate, Winnipeg



See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Verhoeven House (137 West Gate, Winnipeg)


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.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 November 2020

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