Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 141 years


Memorable Manitobans: John Alexander Girvin (1851-1931)

Building contractor.

Born at Goderich, Ontario on 18 October 1851, he came to Winnipeg in 1877. His first winter was spent constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway from eastern Canada to Winnipeg, under Joseph Whitehead. The following year he took work with the lumber firm of Brown and Rutherford, staying there until he formed a construction business for himself. His firm built many of the city’s important buildings, including the Central United Church. He served for many years as President of the Builders’ Exchange, and was a member of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. On 24 March 1875, he married Jennie Emily Arthur (1849-1936) of Goderich, Ontario and they had five children: David Arthur Girvin (1882-?), Frederick H. Girvin (1885-?), Hattie Pearson Girvin (1888-?, wife of William Ernest Leonard), May Godfrey Girvin (1888-?, wife of Ernest Manuel Payne), and Ada Glenn Girvin (?-?, wife of William John Bartram). He was a Mason (Scottish Rite). He died at his Winnipeg home, 356 Carlton Street, on 6 May 1931 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Some of the Manitoba buildings that his firm constructed:

Building

Location

Year

Status

Central Congregational Church

Hargrave Street, Winnipeg

1882

Demolished (?)

Paulin-Chambers Building (with P. Burnett)

311 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg

1899

 

YMCA Building (with P. Burnett)

276 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1900

 

Bank of Hamilton Building (with P. Burnett)

395 Main Street, Winnipeg

1901

Demolished (?)

Cockshutt Plow Building (with Robert Watson)

238 Princess Street, Winnipeg

1902

 

Miller-Morse Building (with P. Burnett)

317 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg

1904

 

Paulin-Chambers Building (expansion; with P. Burnett)

311 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg

1904

 

Tees & Persse Warehouse

Princess Street, Winnipeg

1904

Demolished (?)

Leadlay Building (with W. J. Hodgins)

306-310 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg

1905

 

Fairchild Building

110 Princess Street, Winnipeg

1907

 

Allen House

6 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg

1907

 

Galt Warehouse

334 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg

1909

 

Enderton Block

Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1909

Demolished (?)

Paulin-Chambers Building (expansion; with P. Burnett)

311 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg

1910

 

Congdon Marsh Building

86-88 Princess Street, Winnipeg

1920

 

Sources:

Marriage registration, Ancestry.

Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 7 May 1931.

“John Girvin, pioneer contractor, expires,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 May 1931.

Obituary [Jennie E. Girvin], Winnipeg Tribune, 13 October 1936, page 22.

Paulin-Chambers Building, 311 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg Historical Buildings & Resources Committee, July 2018.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is 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 | 2017


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

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | 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 Policy

© 1998-2020 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.