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Memorable Manitobans: William Barnes Lait (1855-1928)

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William Barnes Lait
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Architect and superintendent.

Born at Folkestone, England on 30 May 1855, son of William Lait and Mary Anne Barnes, he left school at the age of 17 years to article for four years with an artitect at Birmingham after which he worked in his father’s architectural firm until 1890 when he emigrated to Canada. He spent two years in Toronto before coming to Winnipeg in 1892. From 1892 to 1896 he worked as superintendent and general assistant to George Browne. In 1897 he started his own architectural practice, during which he supervised the construction of the University of Manitoba, Bank of Hamilton, Mariaggi Hotel and other Winnipeg buildings. In 1882 he married Alice Louisa Robinson (c1865-1913) of London, England. They had twelve children, of whom four sons lived to adulthood. He was a member of the Sons of England Benevolent Society and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 8 March 1928, following a three-month bout with cancer.

Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:

Building

Location

Year

Status

Graham House

137 Scott Street, Winnipeg

1902

 

Boissevain Land Titles Building

North Railway Street, Boissevain

1903

 

Glines Block

344½ Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1904

Demolished

Steele Block

360 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1905

Demolished

Sources:

“Tenders [Glines Block],” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 April 1904, page 2.

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

Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“William B. Lait dies after long illness,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 March 1928, page 2.

“W. B. Lait, well-known architect here, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 March 1928, page 3.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 April 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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