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Memorable Manitobans: James Young Griffin (1857-1939)

Meat packer.

Born in Halton County, Ontario on 28 October 1857, son of Michael T. Griffin and Sophia Jackson, he left school at the age of 17 years to work with his brother Joseph in the pork packing industry of St. Thomas, Ontario. In 1883 he came to Winnipeg and worked for the pork packing firm of Griffin & Douglas, departing in 1886 to establish a meat-packing company of his own. The company flourished, operating first on McDermot Avenue, later on Bannatyne Avenue and still later in a large plant built in 1892 occupying four and a half acres near the Louise Bridge, considered the largest facility of its kind west of Toronto. His company was a large exporter of dairy products, especially butter, and operated branch plants at Calgary, Edmonton, Nelson (BC), Vancouver, and Fort William (Ontario). The company was incorporated in March 1904 as J. Y. Griffin & Company, with Griffin as president and general manager.

In 1884, he married Mary Campbell (1863-1903) of St. Thomas, Ontario. They had two children: Crawford Young Griffin (1887-1954) and Phyllis Agnes Griffin (1897-?, wife of R. V. Prenter). After his wife’s death, he married Eleanor Ethel Christie (?-?) at Winnipeg on 5 September 1906. He was a member of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, Winnipeg Grain and Produce Exchange, and was a director of the Dominion Produce Company, Bole Drug Company, Manitoba and Western Land Company, and Annuity Company of Canada. He was a member of the Manitoba Club and St. Charles Country Club.

He later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia and sold his interest in the meat packing business. He died at Vancouver on 24 October 1939.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Swiss Building (137 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: J. Y. Griffin & Company Plant / Swift Canadian Elmwood Plant / Swift Canadian Park / Ernie O’Dowda Memorial Park (Midwinter Avenue, Winnipeg)


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Mrs. J. Y. Griffin passed away,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 June 1903, page 2.

“Griffin – Christie wedding,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 September 1906, page 5.

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

“James Y. Griffin dies in Vancouver,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 October 1939, page 4.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 October 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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