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Memorable Manitobans: William Arthur Irish (1872-1941)

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William Arthur Irish
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Building contractor.

Born at Yarker, Ontario on 17 September 1872, son of George W. Irish (1834-1912) and Catherine Irish, he came to Manitoba with his parents in the early 1890s and worked at Carberry and Virden before coming to Winnipeg where he operated a contracting business in partnership with his brother-in-law John Alexander Saul. They also operated a brickworks at Virden in the 1890s. He was later President of the W. A. Irish & Company, President of the Builders’ Mutual Supply Company, President of the Western Savings and Loan Association, and a Director of the Equitable Trust Company.

On 28 January 1922, he married Mary Edith Fares (1890-1980, daughter of William Henry Fares) at Winnipeg and they had three children: William C. “Bill” Irish (1922-2015), Elizabeth Irish, and Gwendoline Joyce “Gwen” Irish (wife of James Eno Pompilio). He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Motor Country Club, and Southwood Golf Club. In 1930, he was involved in a bitter dispute over the will of his friend Alexander Macdonald.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 755 Wellington Crescent, on 1 November 1941 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. His pallbearers were J. S. Currie, N. Brewer, E. D. Pratt, G. Dummert, H. S. Stidston, and R. Pollock. His honorary pallbearers were Clarence Day Shepard, Robert Dunbar Guy, Edwin Henry Bennest, A. J. Brown, W. McLandress, W. Griffith, and H. Darling.

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:





Blue Ribbon Building (Anne Building)

87 King Street (88 Arthur Street), Winnipeg



Parkhill House

182 Spence Street, Winnipeg



Ideal Bedding Building

288 Princess Street, Winnipeg


Demolished (2017)

Ivanhoe Court

277 Balmoral Street, Winnipeg



Linda Vista Apartments / Birchmont Apartments

171 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg


Demolished (?)

Carlyle Apartments

580 Broadway, Winnipeg



Parkleigh Apartments

265 Morley Avenue, Winnipeg



Spera House (move)

2 Middle Gate, Winnipeg



Safeway Store No. 506

595 Broadway, Winnipeg



Safeway Store No. 507

893 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg



Safeway Store No. 509

1333 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg



Safeway Store No. 511

785 Sargent Avenue, Winnipeg


Demolished (?)

Safeway Store No. 523

1411 Main Street, Winnipeg



Scarsdale Apartments

71 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg




1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who's Who and Why, Volumes 6 and 7, 1915-1916, page 661.

Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Safeway stores receive four building permits,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 July 1929, page 3.

“Whereabouts of Irish and Forlong unknown,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 1930, page 17.

“W. A. Irish, contractor, dies aged 69,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 November 1941, page 6.

“W. A. Irish leaves $229,101 estate,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 January 1942, page 2.

Death registration [James Eno Pompilio], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Mary Edith Irish], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April 1980, page 49.

John Hamilton Parkhill, 182 Spence Street by Murray Peterson, Peterson Projects, February 2009.

Obituary [William C. Irish], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 April 2015.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 March 2022

Memorable Manitobans

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