Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Nicholson Lailey / Marcus O’Dean (1877-1937)


Born in England in April 1877, he emigrated to Canada in 1898. He worked as an architect at Brandon from 1904 to 1906 then in San Francisco, California after the 1906 earthquake. He had moved to North Vancouver, British Columbia by 1908 and later to Prince Rupert. On 26 November 1904, he married Agnes Cecelia Bertrand (1872-1949) at Brandon. Around 1914, they separated and he moved to Australia where he changed his name to Marcus O’Dean. During the First World War, he enlisted in the Australian Expeditionary Force and served overseas. After his military discharge, he returned to Australia and worked as an architect, including a three-year stint for the federal government at Canberra, until his death on 7 March 1937. He was survived by a widow and a son.

Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:





Brandon Hotel

156 Ninth Street, Brandon


Demolished (2013)

Reesor’s Jewellery

824-826 Rosser Avenue, Brandon


Demolished (?)

Austin School No. 154



Demolished (1974)


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Lailey – Bertrand,” Brandon Sun, 1 December 1904, page 22.

“Business brisk,” Brandon Sun, 27 April 1905, page 32.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.

Obituary [Marcus O’Dean], Canberra Times, 8 March 1937, page 4.

Death registration [Agnes Cecelia Lailey], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

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

We thank Derek O’Dean and Juliana O’Dean for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Robert Hill.

Page revised: 9 October 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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