Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Drummond Paterson [Patterson] (1835-1928)

Building contractor.

Born at Kingston, Ontario on 30 September 1835, son of Scottish immigrants John Patterson and Isabella Drummond, he married and moved to Winnipeg with his family in June 1872. The following year, he established a construction business, and operated a planing mill and factory on James Street. In 1878, he took on a Mr. McComb as a business partner, with the firm known as Paterson & McComb, and in 1882 they took on George A. Mitchell. The firm built several of the city’s important buildings around the time of the Winnipeg building boom in the early 1880s.

He was married twice, first in 1871 to Emma Andrews (?-1877) with whom he had four children: Francis Charles Paterson, George A. Paterson, Henry Maxwell “Harry” Paterson (1870-1955), and Winnifred Isabel Paterson (1877-1907, wife of Robert W. Hardy). He was one of the nine original members of Knox Presbyterian Church. On 8 July 1886, he married Sarah Ryan (?-1923), sister of Thomas Ryan, James Ryan, and George Ryan. They had a son, Robert Patterson (1888-?). By 1901, he had moved to Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and young son.

He died at Vancouver on 5 May 1928.

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:





Central School




North Ward School




Dundee Block




Duffin Block

468-474 Main Street, Winnipeg



Manitoba College

Ellice Avenue, Winnipeg


Demolished (1964)


Ten Years in Winnipeg by Alexander Begg & Walter Nursey, Winnipeg, 1879, page 153.

Winnipeg and Her Industries by J. E. Steen and W. D. Boyce, Winnipeg, January 1882.

Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Obituary [Sarah Ryan Paterson], Vancouver Daily World, 17 December 1923, page 9.

“Pioneer returns for Jubilee Day,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 June 1924, page 3.

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“R. D. Paterson dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 June 1928, page 2.

Obituary [Harry Maxwell Paterson], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 November 1955, page 31.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Glen Grass.

Page revised: 19 March 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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