Memorable Manitobans: Donald Ross “Don” McMaster (1931-2023)

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Donald Ross McMaster
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Artist, naturalist, outdoorsman.

Born at Winnipeg on 7 February 1931, son of Thomas Agnew McMaster and Margaret Daisy Turner (1897-1991), he taught at East St. Paul School (1954-1958) and East St. Paul Collegiate (1958-1961) and served as the Vice-Principal of River East Collegiate (1968-1969) and Vice-Principal (1971-1973) and Principal (1980-1985) of Kildonan East Collegiate.

He retired from teaching at an early age and built a new home overlooking the Assiniboine River valley in south-central Manitoba where he engaged in landscape painting, especially in the prairie and parkland forest, and near his cottage in northwestern Ontario. His “David Thompson Project”, a collection of nine large paintings featuring incidents from the life of explorer David Thompson, took him two years to research and paint. The pieces are now in the care of the University of Manitoba. Among his many other collections were his “Forest Project” and “Wildlife in the Landscape Project”. He was a member of the Assiniboine Group of Artists.

On 30 June 1962, he married Ardythe Brownlee and they had a son and a daughter. He was an avid reader, hunter, fisherman, and cross-country skiier. He was the first Chair of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (1986-1989).

He died at Portage la Prairie on 24 October 2023.

See also:

David Thompson in the West: A Conversation with Artist Don McMaster
Prairie History, Number 8, Summer 2022

The Art of Don McMaster (Internet Archive, September 2023)


“Homework not needed says education experts,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 1957, page 3.

“High School students registration Friday in East Kildonan,” The Herald, 20 August 1959, page 1.

“Bridal shower,” Brandon Sun, 6 July 1962, page 2.

Obituary, Ronald Moffit Memorial Services.

We thank Nathan Kramer, Glen Suggett, and Ardythe McMaster for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 January 2024