Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 143 years

Memorable Manitobans: Frank Oliver Fowler (1861-1945)

Click to enlarge

Frank Oliver Fowler
Click to enlarge

Grain dealer, MLA (1897-1899), MLA (1900-1903), Mayor of Winnipeg (1922).

Click to enlarge

Frank Oliver Fowler
Click to enlarge

Born at Wingham, Ontario on 14 December 1861, son of William O. Fowler (?-1906), brother of Alexander Fowler, after his education in the public and high schools, he worked in a saw mill until, at the age of 20, he came west and farmed near Brandon for 11 years. In 1891 he started a grain business at Wawanesa. He served as Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Oakland from 1892 to 1894 and was elected in an 1897 provincial by-election and the 1899 provincial general election. He moved to Winnipeg in 1902, where he was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the North West Grain Dealers’ Association and Manager of the Winnipeg Grain and Produce Clearing Association.

He served in civic politics, first as a Winnipeg City Alderman starting in 1908. In 1918 he introduced a motion denying all civic employees the right to strike, which narrowly passed Council by a vote of nine to eight. On 26 May 1919 he co-introduced a motion prohibiting firemen from belonging to any union affiliated with an organization that could give it commands contradictory to Council’s orders. It passed by a vote of nine to five. He was later Mayor of Winnipeg, elected by acclamation in 1922. During his term in office, the city’s hydroelectric system was built and the Greater Winnipeg Water District was organized.

He and wife Elizabeth Nichol Henderson (1867-1923) had five children: Frank Scott Fowler, Helen Audrey Fowler (1889-1983, wife of John Stewart Macarthur), Harold Arthur Fowler (1891-1948), Raymond Fowler (1894-1930), and Frances Isabel Fowler (1904-?, wife of J. J. Carter). A close associate of Clifford Sifton and John Wesley Dafoe, he was a founding member, in 1905, of the St. Charles Country Club and served as President of the Manitoba Curling Association (1904-1905).

Fowler died at Winnipeg on 18 February 1945 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Fowler Street in Winnipeg.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Old-timer dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 March 1906, page 10.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

“Funeral of Mrs. Fowler will be held today,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 February 1923, page 13.

“Ex-Mayor of Winnipeg dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 February 1945, page 1.

Ramsay Cook (editor), The Dafoe-Sifton Correspondence, 1919-1927. The Manitoba Record Society, 1966.

Obituary [Helen Audrey Macarthur], Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 1983, page 44.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page is based, in part, on information compiled by historian Harry Shave.

We thank Terry Webber and Rick Wilson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 29 November 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 this page
to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

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

Help us keep
history alive!

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

© 1998-2022 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.