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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Cameron “Cam” Donaldson (1891-1973)

Meat packer, MLA (1950-1953).

Born at Brandon on 12 January 1891, son of Joseph Donaldson and Elizabeth Emma Wallis (1857-1927), he worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the late 1920s and later for meat companies in the United States, returning to Brandon in 1936. He founded Brandon Packers and operated the firm in Brandon from 1940 to the mid-1950s when he sold it. Among his innovations was the use of transparent wrap to display consumer portions of meat.

Elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1949 as a Progressive Conservative, he resigned two years later when the party withdrew from the coalition government of Douglas L. Campbell. He served as President of the Brandon General Hospital (1947-1949), President of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair (1928-1929), was active in the early days of the 4H movement, and was an international exhibitor of cattle and horses.

He was married twice, first to Hope West (?-1966) with whom he had three daughters, all born in Brandon: Madeline Hope Donaldson (1915-?), Harriet Ruth Donaldson (1918-1983, wife of Walter Percival “Watty” Harwood), and Elizabeth Clare Donaldson (1918-?). They separated and, on 25 June 1966, he married Minnie Ellen Peary (1898-1970), who had been Assistant Manager of Brandon Packers for 20 years.

He died at Brandon on 27 April 1973 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.

Sources:

Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Minnie Ellen Donaldson], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 1970, page 32.

“Funeral held today for former Tory MLA,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 May 1973. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B16, pages 160-161]

“Funeral held for Donaldson,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 May 1973. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B16, pages 160-161]

“Artist Ruth Harwood comes home,” Brandon Sun, 7 February 1976, page 11.

Obituary [Ruth Harwood], Brandon Sun, 30 September 1983, page 19.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Oliver Bernuetz.

Page revised: 13 March 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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