Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: George McPhillips (1848-1913)

Land surveyor.

Born in 1848, he came from a family of land surveyors. His father, George Sr., was the first generation of the family to perform this work in western Canada. George Sr. arrived in Manitoba in 1872 and set up a surveying business, joined by George Jr. until 1875 when he and his brothers Robert Charles McPhillips and Francis McPhillips opened an office of their own, McPhillips Brothers. The firm was active during the Winnipeg boom of 1881-1882. Another brother, Albert E. McPhillips, was a lawyer in BC and Henry McPhillips was a journalist.

In 1875, George Jr. was authorized by the Winnipeg city council to prepare an official map of the city, the first of its kind in the West. It was a difficult task because the few existing maps of subdivisions had to be revised and brought together. The first of these maps was done in January 1872 and comprised the homestead of James Ross, whose property extended from the Red River west to Princess Street. The width of the homestead was one city block, from James Avenue to Rupert Avenue. In the course of the project, McPhillips surveyed 625 streets, measuring 290 miles. The job gave him such publicity that, in 1883, he was asked by the council of Windsor, Ontario to prepare a map of that city. He later returned to Winnipeg.

George McPhillips Jr. died at his home at 168 Kennedy Street on 20 November 1913, and was buried in the St. Mary’s Cemetery. He is commemorated by McPhillips Street in Winnipeg.


A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

This page is based on information compiled by historian Harry Shave.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 October 2020

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