Memorable Manitobans: Isaac Pitblado (1867-1964)
Born at Gleneig, Nova Scotia on 15 March 1867, son of Reverend Dr. Charles Bruce Pitblado and Sophia Christie, he was educated at Halifax public and high schools. He came to Winnipeg in 1882 and received Arts degrees from the University of Manitoba (BA, 1886, MA, 1893). Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1890, he was a partner in the law firms of Aikins, Culver & Company (1890-1892), with ex-mayor A. J. Andrews (1892-1898), and Aikins, Culver & Pitblado (re-organized as Aikins, Pitblado, Robson & Loftus, 1900 to 1903). He formed a partnership with Colin H. Campbell.
Pitblado was President of the Law Society of Manitoba (1916 to 1920). He was appointed Counsel by the Dominion Government on investigation by Railway Commission of Telegraph Rates (1911), appointed Counsel by City of Winnipeg on Freight Rate investigation (1912), Registrar of the University of Manitoba (1893 to 1900), a Member of the University of Manitoba Council starting in 1888, Chairman of the Board of Governors for the University of Manitoba starting in 1917. He was appointed one of the Commissioners for Manitoba on Uniformity of Laws (1918), Vice-President of the Canadian Bar Association. Regarded as an expert on the intricacies of railroad freight rates and grain marketing, he served on a number of Royal Commissions. He was a member of the Committee of 1,000 in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.
He was married twice. His first wife was Almyra Campbell (1873-?) with whom he had two children: Almira Campbell Pitblado (1894-1988, wife of William Oliver Bovard) and Edward Bruce Pitblado. His second wife was May Edith Lunn Lazier of Minneapolis, Minnesota, married in 1907, with whom he had a daughter, Edith Anna Pitblado (1910-1989, wife of Howard Clement Spence). An avid golfer and curler, he was President of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1910-1911. He was a founding member, in 1905, of the St. Charles Country Club, and also a member of the Manitoba Club and Carleton Club. He was President of the Canadian Club of Winnipeg (1910-1911). He was given honorary doctorates by Dalhousie University (1919) and the University of Manitoba (1926). He was given a Manitoba Golden Boy Award in 1960.
He died at Winnipeg on 6 December 1964 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. His honorary pallbearers were Errick F. Willis, C. C. Miller, G. E. Tritschler, E. K. Williams, Hazen Hansard, Richard S. Bowles, James A. Richardson, T. O. Peterson, Charles R. Wilson, E. S. Cooper, H. R. Drummond-Hay, Vincent Nutter, Louis St. Laurent, L. W. Brockington, Joseph Harris, James A. Crowe, E. H. Bennest, R. G. Meech, and Norman McLean.
His papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections and the Archives of Manitoba.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“These twelve Manitobans to receive Golden Boy Awards,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 June 1960, page 12.
“Isaac Pitblado dies at 97 years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 December 1964, page 1.
Learned Friends, Reiminiscences - Pitblado & Hoskin 1882-1974 by Anna Tillenius.
We thank Rachel Mills and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 16 October 2016
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