Manitoba Historical Society
Search
MHS website:
 


Past Lane
News


Upcoming
Events


War
Memorials
in Manitoba


Manitoba
History

No. 75


Digitized
Local History
Books


Memorable
Manitobans


Historic Sites
of Manitoba


Questions on
Manitoba
History

Memorable Manitobans: Ralph Martin Erwin (1902-1983)

Click to enlarge

Ralph Martin Erwin
Click to enlarge

Restaurateur.

Born at Burwell, Nebraska on 2 September 1902, in the 1920s he was in charge of the Western Canadian circuit of a theatrical company from Chautauqua, New York until it folded with the advent of vaudville. He lived at New York City until 1931 when he moved to Winnipeg where, with a $400 loan from a relative, he opened a restaurant on Fort Street, naming it Salisbury House, where he served the new American invention of “hamburgers”. Believing the term inelegant, Erwin named his creations “nips”. The restaurant became a Winnipeg institution and Erwin eventually opened outlets around the city and in Brandon, Flin Flon, Kenora (Ontario), Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan), Calgary (Alberta), and Minneapolis (Minnesota). He opened Winnipeg’s first drive-in restaurant. From 1940 to 1947, he and his family lived at 115 Linden Avenue in East Kildonan. In 1979 he sold his majority interest in the company to a group of investors. A biography was published as The Erwin Story in 1982. He died at Toronto, Ontario on 5 June 1983.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 June 1983, page 38.

“Salisbury House started with $130,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 July 1991, page 20.

The Erwin Story by Patrick Donohue, compiled by Phyllis Erwin Ketchesen, edited by David M. Ferguson, Toronto, 1982.

We thank Phyllis Ketcheson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 December 2013

Memorable Manitobans Memorable Manitobans

A collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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 | 2013


Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at biographies@mhs.mb.ca

Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  |  Sources  |  Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page

   
 

 
To report an error on the above page,
please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home | Terms & Conditions | FAQ | Contact Us
Privacy Policy | Donations Policy
Website © 1998-2014 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.