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Memorable Manitobans: Ferris Neave (1901-1986)

Freshwater biologist, mountaineer.

Born near Maccelsfield, England on 22 March 1901, the eldest of six children, he attended the University of Manchester for an undergraduate degree in Biology, graduating in 1923. Later that year, he came to Western Canada to help with the grain harvest, returning to Manchester at the end of the season. There he worked as an entomologist at the Manchester Museum, from which he obtained a degree of Master of Science. In 1925, he accepted a lecturer position at the University of Manitoba. There, faculty member Alexander Bajkov stimulated his interest in aquatic insects which, in turn, led to a lifelong interest in fisheries. He was a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg.

During the summers of 1926 and 1927 Neave and Bajkov studied, on behalf of the Biological Board of Canada, the fisheries of Jasper National Park. In 1928 he became active in studies on Lake Winnipeg, based at a small research station at Gimli. Through the 1930s he carried out a number of studies of the fisheries of Manitoba. He moved in 1939 to Vancouver Island, British Columbia to take employment at the Fisheries Research Board of Canada’s facility at Nanaimo. He remained there for the rest of his career, retiring in 1966.

While residing in Winnipeg, Neave became acquainted with and Alex A. McCoubrey, Margaret Fleming and other members of the Alpine Club of Canada, which had been founded in the city, in 1906. He became an avid mountaineer and undertook a number of climbing expeditions in the Canadian Rockies and elsewhere.

In his later years, he suffered the debilitating effects of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He died at Burnaby, British Columbia on 29 January 1986. He is commemorated by Mount Ferris in the Waddington Range and Neave Creek in the Purcells.


Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“Ferris Neave, 1901-1986” by W. E. Ricker and J. R. Brett, Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Series V, Volume 1 (1986), pp. 328-331.

“Dr. Ferris Neave, F.R.S.C.: Manitoba’s unknown mountaineer of the 1930’s” by Karl E. Ricker In: Manitoba Climbers: A Century of Stories from the Birthplace of The Alpine Club of Canada. Winnipeg: Alpine Club of Canada – Manitoba Section, Christine Mazur, Simon Statkewich, and David Relkoff (editors), 2006, pp. 47-69.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 June 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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