Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 140 years

 

Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Endangered Top 10
Endangered
Top 10
2019

Jens Munk at Churchill
Field Trip:
Churchill
2020

Manitoba History No. 89
Manitoba
History

No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
War
Memorials
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old
Elevator

Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: Donald Macdonald (1857-1912)

Click to enlargeFirefighter.

He was born 9 January 1857 at Hanover, Ontario, son of Daniel MacDonald and Isabella Marshall. In 1881, he decided to move west and take up farming. He bought a half section of land near Grenfell, Saskatchewan and struggled for six years losing crop after crop to high winds and heat before deciding to move on. Using the knowledge he gained from farm steam engines, on 15 October 1887 he became a firefighter with the Winnipeg Fire Department.

Donald worked at all of the three original halls: the Central Hall at 347 William Avenue, and the South Hall at the corner of York Avenue and Smith Street and the North Hall at 56 Maple Street (now the Firefighter Museum). He spent the vast majority of his career the North Hall. Donald had the job of Engineer, responsible for the operation of steam-powered fire engines. Among the engines that he probably operated was the famous Alex Logan Steam Engine, which can be seen today at the museum. On the museum walls are photographs of many fires in the late 1800s and early 1900s which show the steam engines in operation, and undoubtedly Macdonald would have been one of the men operating them. He was also one of the men responsible for making viable the Firefighters Benevolent Fund, which supported the families of injured or deceased firefighters.

His home at 45 Lily Street is now called The Daniel MacDonald House. It is standing virtually unchanged since Winnipeg’s early years. His uncle, John Kay MacDonald, organized the Toronto-based Confederation Life, whose office building at 457 Main Street was built in 1912. His father was the Confederation Life agent for the area extending from Winnipeg to the Pacific ocean and to the far north. In January 1912, Macdonald was sent home, too sick to work. In mid-July he went to see Dr. Chown who sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer. He died on 8 August 1912 at his residence, at the age of 55. In the local newspaper, Assistant Fire Chief William Code stated, “He was a good Engineer and a good fellow—one of the best.” He is buried at the St. James Cemetery.

Sources:

This profile was prepared by Rick Northwood using information from the Winnipeg Firefighters Museum and other sources.

Page revised: 11 October 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z | 2017


Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at biographies@mhs.mb.ca

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2019 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.