Memorable Manitobans: Colin William McMillan (1873-1957)
Farmer, railway contractor, businessman.
Born in Bruce County, Ontario on 5 June 1873, brother of Malcolm McMillan, he came to Shoal Lake in 1882 and farmed with his father and attended the local public school. He served with the Strathcona Horse during the Boer War. Returned to Canada, he became active in railway construction in northern Manitoba, in partnership with his brother, responsible for constructing the right-of-way for the Hudson Bay Railway from The Pas to Port Nelson between 1912 and 1917. He also built 275 miles of railway between Portage la Prairie and the Touchwood Hills, the CNR line between Neepawa and Neepawa Junction, and from Neepawa to Rossburn, as well as various branch lines and portions of the main CNR line.
In 1916, he turned to the grain business as President of the McMillan Grain Company, amassing a considerable fortune that he subsequently lost in the Great Depression of the 1930s. He served as President of the Western Livestock Board and Producers Board of Manitoba. On 7 June 1905, he married Margaret Helen Morrison (1881-1963) at Westbourne and they had three children: Marion Catherine McMillan (1908-?, wife of Donald Chidester), Isobel Christine McMillan (1912-?, wife of John Farr), and Colin William McMillan (1917-1945).
He died at the Deer Lodge Hospital on 27 January 1957, after a prolonged period of poor health, and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Who's Who and Why, Volumes 6 and 7, 1915-1916, page 476.
“C. W. McMillan, 83, railroad builder, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 1957, page 6.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 January 1957, page 29.
Obituary [Margaret Helen McMillan], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 1963, page 22.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 October 2021