Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Hurst (1877-1957)

Civil servant, engineer.

Born at Ottawa, Ontario on 1 January 1877, he came to Manitoba at the age of four and was educated at Portage la Prairie and country schools. He came to Winnipeg in 1886 and, five years later, became an employee of Capt. Robinson’s lumber business. He worked for the City of Winnipeg laying “macadam” pavement during the mayoral term of A. J. Andrews and City Engineer H. A. Ruttan in 1893. He retired from city employment in 1909 as Superintendant of Sewerage Construction, Artesian Wells, Pavements and High Pressure Plants. He formed the Hurst Engineering Company in 1911 and some of its first contracts were Rainy River Sewerage, Union Stock Yards, The Pas sewerage system (most northerly in the world), and work for CPR and CNR. He invented the “frost excavator” used for work in frozen ground, the Hurst auto engine heater, and Hurst First Escapes. He was also President and Managing Director of Central Manitoba Mines and Vice-President of the Winnipeg River Tin Company.

On 8 June 1904, he married Magdalena Unger (1877-1985) at Winnipeg. They had one son, William D. Hurst. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Masons (Scottish Rite), Shriners, and Independent Order of Foresters.

He died at his Winnipeg residence, 74 Ethelbert Street, on 23 May 1957 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Men of Winnipeg in Diamond Jubilee Sketches,” Winnipeg Free Press, December 1934. [Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 8, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections]

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 May 1957, page 25.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 September 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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