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Memorable Manitobans: David D. England (1865-1929)

Civil servant.

Born in Scotland on 20 November 1865, he emigrated to Canada in 1893. The following year, he was hired as Winnipeg’s first Superintendent of Public Parks, though he often went by the title of City Gardener. England had the challenging task of turning the Parks Board’s eight newly-purchased properties into green spaces. Some, such as Central Park and Notre Dame Park, were little more than swamps considered unsuitable for any other type of development, and required years to drain and fill.

From his greenhouses in Notre Dame Park (now Jacob Penner Park), he spent years testing which plants and trees were best suited to Winnipeg’s soil conditions and climate. He envisioned a day when entire city parks would be filled with nothing but plants indigenous to Manitoba. He was responsible for the planting of thousands of elm trees on the city’s boulevards.

In 1906 he resigned after controversy erupted about his spending practices. He was briefly Parks Superintendent in Victoria, British Columbia before moving to Los Angeles, California where he worked as a landscaper on private estates.

He died at Los Angeles on 18 June 1929.

See also:

“The Most Lovely and Picturesque City in All of Canada”: The Origins of Winnipeg’s Public Park System by John Selwood, John C. Lehr and Mary Cavett
Manitoba History, Number 31, Spring 1996

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Jacob Penner Park (Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg)

Sources:

“Superintendent of city parks discusses different varieties of trees suitable for Manitoba,” Daily Nor’Wester, 6 May 1898.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Superintendent England leaves city’s service,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 December 1906.

“D. D. England, former parks superintendent is dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 August 1929.

This page was prepared by Christian Cassidy.

Page revised: 20 September 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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