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Memorable Manitobans: Duncan Robert Grant MacDonald (1887-1949)

Aircraft manufacturer.

Born at Sunny Brae, Nova Scotia in 1887, he came to Manitoba with his brother James in 1904 on a harvesters’ excursion train, to a farm near Portage la Prairie. Two years later, the brothers formed the MacDonald Brothers Sheet Metal and Roofing Company, of which he was Secretary-Treasurer. In 1930, the brothers were attracted to the aircraft industry, forming the MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Limited (later known as Bristol Aerospace) to manufacture floats for aircraft of Western Canada Airways. The firm became one of the world’s largest makers of seaplane floats. They built aircraft parts, farm implements, and electronic and radio equipment at a manufacturing plant at the Stevenson Field (now Richardson International Airport).

In addition to being President and General Manager of the firm, MacDonald was President of Garrick Limited, Vice-President of Garrick Finance Limited, and a Director of the Air Industries and Transport Association of Canada. He was a member of the Masons, Manitoba Club, Motor Country Club, and St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church.

He died at his summer home on Falcon Lake on 16 July 1949 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. At the time of his death, he lived at 98 Niagara Street.


“Aircraft head dies suddenly at summer home,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 July 1949, page 7.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 March 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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