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Memorable Manitobans: Leonard Harold Claydon (1915-1971)

Hardware merchant, MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1971).

Born in Winnipeg on 31 December 1915, he was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway before serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Later he was employed with Trans-Canada Airlines prior to opening his own hardware business in Winnipeg in 1950.

He was a member of the Winnipeg City Council from 1960 to 1971, serving as Chairman of the Public Works Commission for eight years and of the Winnipeg and St. Boniface Harbor Commission for seven years. He was a member of the Manitoba Legislature from 1969 to the time of his death. He suggested that an 88-year-old railway steam engine owned by Winnipeg Hydro should be restored and, after a long battle, he convinced the Manitoba Centennial Corporation and Metro to contribute funds for the project. The train returned to service on 1 July 1970, taking Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his cabinet from Lower Fort Garry to Winnipeg. The train has since become known as the Prairie Dog Central.

He served as President of the Progressive Conservative Club of Greater Winnipeg, a member of the advisory board for the Misericordia Hospital, a Master of the Northern Light Masonic Lodge, and a member of the Crescentwood-River Heights Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. An avid boater, he was the First Commodore of the Winnipeg Yacht Club. In 1960 he was awarded a Life Saving Meritorious Certificate by the St. John Ambulance council for saving the life of a boy pulled unconscious from Lake Winnipeg near Matlock. Nine year later, he received a medal for bravery from Lieutenant-Governor W. John McKeag for heroism and bravery when he saved three men and a woman from a sinking boat.

He died at Winnipeg on 8 December 1971, after a lengthy illness, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Sources:

“Ald. Claydon Dies After Long Illness”, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1971, page 75.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 December 1971, page 40.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 October 2014

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