Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John C. McRae (1859-1921)

Police officer.

Born at Richmond, Ontario on 4 March 1859, son of Alexander McRae and Ann Jane Conley, brother of Alexander Conley McRae and James Russell McRae, he came to Winnipeg in 1880 and joined the police force in 1882, becoming Chief of Police in 1887. He was a big man, over six feet tall, with a steely gray moustache. He advocated regulated prostitution and unwillingly conducted a series of raids on Winnipeg brothels in 1904. He continued to thwart the vice reformers through the early years of the century before retiring in 1911. He and wife Janet Anne Frizell (1864-1914) had four children: Ernest Austin McRae (1888-1961), Stanley John McRae (1892-?), Muriel Christina McRae (1894-?), and Gertrude L. McRae (1897-?). He died at his Winnipeg home, 161 Montrose Street, on 19 July 1921 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Ex-Chief McRae dies after long illness,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 July 1921, page 1. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7]

“J. C. McRae, former police chief, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 July 1921, page 7.

“Splendid funeral for late ex-chief McRae,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 July 1921, page 8.

Obituary [Ernest Austin McRae], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 February 1961, page 26.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 December 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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