Memorable Manitobans: Morley Blankstein (1924-2015)
Born at Winnipeg on 30 March 1924, son of architect Max Zev Blankstein and Laika “Lena” Golden (1881-1959), brother of architects Evelyn Blankstein and Cecil Blankstein, he attended Champlain School, Machray School, and St. John’s Technical High School. After taking pre-architecture courses at the University of Manitoba from 1941 to 1942, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a reserve pilot until 1945. He then returned to the University and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1949. He did two years of postgraduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology at Chicago, receiving a Masters degree in 1952. He joined the architectural firm of Green Blankstein Russell.
In 1955, he started his own architectural firm of Blankstein Coop Gilmor and Hanna that later became known as Number Ten Architectural Group. He retired in 1985 but remained as a consultant to the firm until 1993. He designed many buildings around Winnipeg and elsewhere.
He served as Chairman of the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council (now the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg) from 1978 to 1982, President of the Manitoba Theatre Centre to 1982, President of the YMHA Jewish Community Centre, President of the Glendale Golf and Country Club (1988), Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Chairman of the Canadian Jewish Appeal in 1978 and 1979, and was an early supporter of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. He served on the boards of the Sharon Home, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, and Rose and Max Rady Jewish Community Centre. He was an honorary aide-de-camp to Lieutenant Governor Richard Bowles (1966).
In recognition of his community service, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (1966) and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1975). He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).
He died at the Victoria General Hospital on 16 June 2015 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
“Engagement notices,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 May 1952, page 14.
“Jottings from the business world,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 1961, page 56.
“Architect gave a lot to help build his community,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 June 2015, page B6.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 June 2015, page A30.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 January 2022