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Memorable Manitobans: Washington Frank Lynn (c1827-1906)

Journalist, artist.

Born in Chelsea, London, England, the second son of William Bewicke Lynn, he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and came to North America in 1861, serving as a reporter in the American Civil War. He returned to England to publicize British emigration to Canada, writing Farming in Canada and Canada: Pamphlets for Working Men in 1869.

He came to Manitoba in 1872 and decided to remain. He was editor of the Manitoban, a daily paper with offices on Market Square, Winnipeg. He began a series of letters to the Toronto Globe, as well as a series of popular paintings of the region. Late in 1872 he mounted a campaign against the corruption of the Dominion Lands Office in Manitoba, which produced reform but made him unpopular.

He left Winnipeg for St. Paul in 1878, returned to England, and was back in Manitoba in 1885 as a shop proprietor. He was an unsuccessful aldermanic candidate in 1885, 1888, and 1889, and an active member of the Knights of Labor, an organization which was the forerunner of the labour unions.

Lynn purchased land which proved of value, particularly the property on which Eaton’s store was built. He died at his residence, Spring Grove Cottage, St. James, on 30 July 1906.

Some of his portraits in oils and his watercolour landscapes are in Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

“Washington Frank Lynn: Artist and Journalist” by V. G. Berry, The Beaver (1977-78): 24-31.

Washington Frank Lynn, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 606-7.


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 November 2012

Memorable Manitobans

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