Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Harbidge Parr (1849-1914)
Born in England on 22 February 1849, he came to Canada in 1871. He arrived in Winnipeg two years later and served as City Engineer until 1883. He designed City buildings and also took private commissions, alone or briefly (in 1881) in partnership with William Tinniswood Dalton. In May 1883, he was fired by the city council after having made “several important blunders during the past year which resulted in serious financial loss to the City”. He remained in Winnipeg until 1892 when he moved to British Columbia and worked as a surveyor and civil engineer for the City of Victoria. He and wife Sarah Annie Saxelby (1848-1912) had three children, all born in Manitoba: Edgar Saxelby Parr (1883-?), Ellen Jane Parr (1888-?), and Agnes Gertrude Parr (1889-?). Parr died at Victoria on 11 June 1914.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
“Probable promotion”, Manitoba Free Press, 5 March 1883, page 8.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Quiet Dignity: Aspects of Building Schools in the Winnipeg School Division No. 1, 1871-1928 by Giles Bugailiskis, MA thesis, Department of History, University of Manitoba, 1990.
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1910.
“1449 Grant Street,” Victoria Heritage Foundation.
We thank Lyle Brennen for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 August 2022