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Memorable Manitobans: William Ralph “Speedy” Parliament (1900-1994)

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William Ralph Parliament
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Businessman, sports executive.

Born at Toronto, Ontario on 31 March 1900, son of James Henry Parliament and Elizabeth Grace Ward, he worked as a long-time employee of the meat-packing firm of Canada Packers, starting in 1918 as a clerk in its Toronto abattoir. In 1925, he moved to Winnipeg where he became Provision Manager then Assistant Plant Manager (1943), eventually becoming General Manager and head of the Winnipeg Division. In 1966, he retired as Vice-President at Toronto.

He was an executive member of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the St. John Ambulance, and he served on the board of governors of the Winnipeg Winter Club and Manitoba Club. He was a member of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church and had a summer cottage at West Hawk Lake.

He was President of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1958 to 1959, at the start of what were considered their “glory years”. The team won the Grey Cup in 1958, their first in 17 years. They won again in 1959 and went on to win the cup four times in a five-year period. In 1960, he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. He served as President of the Canadian Football League in 1961 and was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1985.

He died at Alliston, Ontario on 25 January 1994.

Sources:

“Canada Packers head rose through ranks”, unidentified newspaper clipping dated 1951.

“CFL Owes Parliament” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 1994, page 42.

We thank Irene Parliament Elliott for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 April 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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