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Memorable Manitobans: Alfonso Gomez Fonseca (1876-1937)

Soldier, entertainer.

Born at Winnipeg on 14 June 1876, son of William G. Fonseca and Margaret Ann Logan, In his younger years, he was an entertainer on the Vaudeville circuit. When not on the road, he assisted his brother in the management of the Hotel Wolseley (now Mount Royal Hotel) on Higgins Avenue. An active member of the 90th Regiment Militia, soon after the start of the First World War, he was authorized to raise a new battalion, the 197th “Vikings of Canada” and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In July 1916, while travelling to Camp Hughes, the vehicle he was driving in overturned, killing Captain E. J. Cleven and injuring Fonseca and their driver. He spent weeks recovering in hospital. After the war, he briefly managed the Fort Garry Skating Rink before leaving with wife Maude and daughter Virginia for Los Angeles, California in 1920. There, he worked in the entertainment industry, including for a stage company and he directed a 1931 American newsreel entitled “Canadians in California.” For two years, he was the President of the Canadian Society of Southern California. He died at Los Angeles in 1937 at the age of 60. His body was returned to Winnipeg and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.

Sources:

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

“Lieut.-Col. A. Fonseca,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 August 1937.

This page was prepared by Christian Cassidy.

Page revised: 16 June 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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