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Memorable Manitobans: William George “Bill” Purvis (1894-1970)

Ship builder.

Born at Gore Bay, Ontario on 7 December 1894, he moved to Selkirk in 1900. During the First World War, he enlisted in the 61st Battalion and served overseas. After his military discharge, he returned to Selkirk and worked as a fish buyer on Lake Winnipeg and a ship captain. In partnership with his brother Roy Purvis, he operated Purvis Brothers Boats at Selkirk, building hundreds of boats for use on Lake Winnipeg, Hudson Bay, and other northern waterways. Among the boats they built were Lady Canadian, Purvis, Atomic, Chikama, and Playgreen. He also collaborated with his nephew Ted Purvis in the design and construction of Joe Simpson, Valhalla, Paddlewheel Princess, Paddlewheel Queen, and Lord Selkirk. He also served as manager of the Selkirk Navigation Company that operated the Keenora, and for two years was captain of the River Rouge. He died at Selkirk on 4 November 1970 and was buried in the Little Britain Cemetery.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 6 November 1970.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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