Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 139 years




No. 85


of 2017

This Old


in Manitoba

Local History


Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Kelly (1855-1939)

Click to enlargeBuilding contractor.

Born in County Roscommon, Ireland on 7 August 1855, he emigrated to the United States in 1864 and was educated in Oneida County, New York. He commenced business in Winnipeg as a contractor in 1881 as a partner in the firm of Kelly Brothers, with his brothers Michael Kelly and Martin Kelly. In 1903 the firm of Kelly Brothers & Company was merged into The Manitoba Construction Company, of which company he was president and manager. After two years this firm went out of business and then Kelly formed the firm of Kelly Brothers, Mitchell, Limited, of which he became president and manager. In 1908 he formed the firm of Thomas Kelly & Sons.

During the many years he has been in the contracting business the following are some of the more notable buildings that have been erected by him or by the firms of which he has been the head:

  • Dominion Government Post Office (Vancouver, BC)
  • Canadian Bank of Commerce Buildings (Vancouver, BC)
  • Dominion Government Post Office Building (Winnipeg)
  • Grain Exchange Building (Winnipeg)
  • Free Press Building (Winnipeg)
  • Imperial Bank (Winnipeg)
  • Bank of Toronto (Winnipeg)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Winnipeg)
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Shops (Winnipeg)
  • Canadian Northern Railway Shops (Winnipeg)
  • Kelly Building (181 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg), 1904-05

Has also constructed the substructures of several bridges across the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in Winnipeg. In 1882, he married Mary Margaret Corbett of Toronto. They had seven children: Robert Emmett Kelly (husband of Bessie O. Noden), Charles B. Kelly (husband of Cecilia Rochon), Harry Kelly (1888-1912), Lawrence C. Kelly, Maurice Kelly, Francis Kelly, and Kathleen Kelly. He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club and the Carleton Club.

He retired to Beverly Hills, California in 1924 and died there fifteen years later.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Kelly House (88 Adelaide Street, Winnipeg)


Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

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

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 May 2011

Memorable Manitobans

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