Memorable Manitobans: William Gregory Chace (1875-1937)
Born near St. Catharines in Lincoln County, Ontario on 16 May 1875, son of Edwin Chace and Jane D. Goodwin, he was educated at the Louth-Grantham Public School, St. Catharines Collegiate Institute, and the Toronto School of Practical Science, graduating from the latter in 1903. He worked for a short time for the Canadian Niagara Power Company that was building a hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. In 1904, he was appointed engineer-in-charge on the hydroelectric power plant of the International Railway Company at Niagara Falls and, in 1905 and 1906, did preliminary studies for the electrification of Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. He joined the engineering firm of Smith, Kerry & Chace in 1907 and prepared a report that resulted in establishment of the Toronto Hydro-Electric System.
He came to Manitoba in 1907, joining in partnership with C. B. Smith and J. G. G. Kerry, and overseeing the construction of the Pointe du Bois Generating Station on the Winnipeg River. He and Smith later worked for the Mount Hood Railway, Light and Power Company at Portland, Oregon (1912) and Crane Falls Power and Irrigation Company at Boise, Idaho (1913) before returning to Winnipeg where he was Chief Engineer for the Winnipeg Aqueduct. After its completion in 1920, he specialized in reinforced concrete pipe as President of the Canada Lock Joint Pipe Limited (1920-1924). In 1924, he joined the engineering firm of Sullivan, Kipp & Chace that consulted on the development of electric power in Saskatchewan and supervised the construction of two steam plants in Winnipeg for the Northern Public Service Corporation. In early 1932, he moved to Toronto, Ontario where he rejoined the firm of Kerry & Chace Limited, working on development of hydroelectric power for gold mines in northern Quebec. He also developed plans for hydroelectric plants on the Upper Ottawa River in Ontario and the Kanuchuan Generating Station near God’s Lake.
On 28 June 1905, he married Margaret Helena Grant “Maggie” McKerracher (1881-?) at York, Ontario. They had no children. He served as Chairman of the Winnipeg Branch of the Engineering Institute of Canada (1915-1916), Vice-President of the Engineering Institute of Canada (1920-1921), and President (1928) and Vice-President (1929) of the Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba.
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 12 July 1937 and was buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
“W. G. Chace made recipient of two farewell gifts,” Manitoba Free Press, 11 March 1932, page 2.
Ontario birth, marriage, and death registrations, Ancestry.
“William Chace, noted engineer, dies in Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 July 1937, page 6.
Obituary, The Engineering Journal, November 1937, page 823.
We thank David Ennis for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 March 2022