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Memorable Manitobans: Balston C. Kenway (1844-1909)

Architect.

Born in England, he emigrated to Canada and was working as a civil engineer by 1871, but soon switched to architectural work. He moved to the United States in 1875 and worked at Minneapolis, Minnesota. In early 1878, he came to Winnipeg and designed many buildings before and during the land boom of 1881-1882, either alone or in partnership with Robert McNicol. From 1882 to 1888, he worked as an architect, contractor, and lumber dealer. His office was severely damaged in a fire in 1886.

His wife Nellie Louise Kenway died in May 1885 at the age of 35 years and was buried in the Stony Mountain Cemetery. He left Winnipeg to take a position as supervising architect with the federal Department of Public Works at Lethbridge, NWT (now Alberta). By 1889, he was in Vancouver as a supervising architect for the provincial government. He moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1892 then to Seattle in 1899. He worked in various businesses there then returned to Tacoma, where he died on 6 November 1909.

Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:

Building

Location

Year

Status

Radiger Block

Main Street near Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg

1878

 

Morris Block

Main Street near Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1880

Demolished (1975)

J. S. Dennis Residence

Hargrave Street, Winnipeg

1880

 

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

353 St. Mary Avenue, Winnipeg

1880

 

St. Boniface College

rue de la Cathedrale, St. Boniface

1880-1881

Destroyed by fire (1922)

Hudson’s Bay Company Store

Main Street at York Avenue, Winnipeg

1880-1881

Demolished (1930)

Bank of Montreal Building

346 Main Street, Winnipeg

1880-1881

Demolished (1973)

Manitoba Club Building

Garry Street, Winnipeg

1881

Demolished (?)

H. M. Howell Residence

Carlton Street, Winnipeg

1881

 

J. S. Lynch Residence

Garry Street, Winnipeg

1881

 

McMicken Block

Main Street, Winnipeg

1881

 

Knox Presbyterian Church

Portage Avenue at Fort Street

1884

Demolished (?)

Sources:

Death registration [Nellie Louise Kenway], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.

We thank Lise Markus for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 January 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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