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Memorable Manitobans: George Stuart Grenfell Ironside Cotter (1915-2011)

Photographer, cinematographer.

Born at Cumberland House, Saskatchewan on 17 July 1915, he trapped and worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company before moving to Winnipeg in 1933 where he worked at the St. Vital Lumber Company. His love of nature led to a life-long hobby as a photographer of birds and other wildlife, stimulated by his experiences during the 1950 Winnipeg flood. In 1967, he sold his interest in the lumber company and, with the proceeds, established Cotter’s Wildlife Productions to make and distribute films on a wide variety of topics over the span of some four decades.

Among his many nature films, usually made in collaboration with his wife Sally (1914-1994), were Wings of Summer (1961), Wildlife Surrounds Us (1962), Manitoba Wildlife (1964), A Matter of Survival (1968), A Trilogy of Manitoba Wildlife (1972), Marshland Summer (1973), Winter Gallery (1974), Wilderness Trails (1976), The Great Grey Owl (1978), Cattail Bounty (1981), Return of the Swift Fox (1988), A Poplar Story As Told By The Tree Stump (1988), Kamik (1989), and Coat of Eider (1998). In the early 1960s, he served as President of the Manitoba Naturalists Society. In 1970, in recognition of his prolonged meritorious community service, he received a Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society.

He died at Winnipeg on 28 July 2011.


“Nature film”, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 March 1961, page 14.

“’Beautiful moments’ compensate for black flies”, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 April 1976, page 33.

“An obsession with wildlife”, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 July 1986, page 46.

Obituary [Sara Elizabeth “Sally” Cotter], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 November 1994, page 43.

“Lights, camera ... wildlife!”, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 January 1995, page 49.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 2 August 2011.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 July 2014

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