Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years

Memorable Manitobans: William D. Douglas (1835-1906)

Click to enlarge

William D. Douglas
Click to enlarge

Ship captain, hotelier.

Born at Armagh, Ireland on 4 August 1835, he emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1847 and settled at Ekfrid Township, Ontario. At the age of 14, he became a sailor aboard ships on the Great Lakes, going in 1856 to Panama from which he sailed on the South Pacific and South Atlantic oceans until 1866 when he took up residence at Buffalo, New York.

There he worked for 14 years with the Union Steamship Company, as a captain of ships plying between Buffalo and Chicago. He came to Winnipeg in 1881 and, the next year, opened the Douglas House (later known as Roblin House) on Adelaide Street. In 1884, he went into partnership with Archibald Francis Wright as proprietors of the Leland Hotel, retiring in 1902 and selling the business to James C. Kavanagh. At that time, he was appointed provincial hotel inspector.

He was a member of the Masons (Ancient Landmark Lodge) and Anglican church. He had one son, Alexander Joseph Douglas.

He died at Winnipeg on 21 January 1906 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Capt. Douglas summoned,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 January 1906, page 3.

We thank Alex Collins for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 October 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Firsts | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2021 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.