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Memorable Manitobans: Victoria McVicar (c1842-1899)

Heroine.

Distantly related to George McVicar, she was a cousin of Mrs. John Sutherland and of Mrs. Bernard Ross. Her father was Robert McVicar of the Hudson's Bay Company. She visited Red River from Fort William over the winter of 1869-70. She was in Red River by 7 November 1869, when George McVicar wrote to Josephine Larwell, “I met here one evening a Miss MacVicar from Fort William who claimed to be a cousin, and I have no objection to owning her for a relation for she is a jolly good girl. She is here for a visit and will remain all winter. I expect a bit of a flirtation; in fact she is the only girl I have met out here that would induce me to indulge in such a thing.”

She visited prisoners at the Upper Fort on 6 January 1870, and according to George McVicar, “when she heard that I had escaped, she came about twenty miles to see me; did anything in her power to aid me; gave letters to her mother and brothers at Ft. William; took charge of my things and now keeps me posted with regard to every movement in Red River.” With A. G. B. Bannatyne she helped plead in February 1870 for the release of the prisoners, and may have brought Mrs. Sutherland back from Kildonan to plead for the life of Captain Boulton. There were rumours that she had some kind of flirtation with Louis Riel, but these have never been confirmed.

She subsequently returned to Fort William (now Thunder Bay), where she was a successful real-estate speculator and assisted her sister in running the local post office. She was active in the Imperial Federation League and was an ardent spiritualist. She died in Fort William.

More information:

Victoria McVicar, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XII, 690-91.

Sources:

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

Page revised: 11 April 2008

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