Memorable Manitobans: Reuben Simon Robinson (1864-1934)
Born in Russia in September 1864, he came to Canada as a child and lived in several cities in eastern Canada before moving to Winnipeg in 1903. He established a fur dealership soon after arrival and partnered with fellow fur dealer B. Z. Levinson, operating as Robinson & Levinson. Their firm operated out of 150 Pacific Street and he initially lived at 157 Rupert Street. The partnership with Levinson was dissolved around March 1906, and he carried on an independent business. Operations later expanded to his Rupert property as well, and in 1919, he commissioned the adjacent R S R Building. Shortly thereafter, he formally brought his eldest family members into business with him, as the R. S. Robinson and Sons, of which he continued operating until a couple of months before his death.
Active in the city’s Jewish community, he was President of the Winnipeg Hebrew Free School, President of the Western Canada Jewish Orphanage, and President of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. He was a member of the B’nai B’rith and Masons. In 1914, he stood for election to the Winnipeg Board of Control. He and wife Bessie Sugarman (1869-1959) had nine children: Hattie Robinson (1890-1920), Dora Robinson (1892-?, wife of Joseph Cohen), Fanny R. Robinson (1894-1988, wife of Irvine J. Goldstine), Sydney Isaac Robinson, Wilbur J. Robinson (1898-1957), Nathan Edgar Robinson (1901-1957), Ralph Theodore Robinson (1904-1987), Percival Samuel “Percy” Robinson (1906-?), and Ruth Beatrice Robinson (1908-?, wife of Felix H. Leberg). He died in his suite at the Royal Alexandra Hotel on 22 February 1934 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Local news paragraphs [Partnership dissolved],” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 March 1906, page 24.
“Civil elections,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 October 1914, page 18.
Death notice [Hattie Robinson], Winnipeg Tribune, 22 November 1920, page 5.
“R. S. Robinson, prominent in fur trade, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 February 1934, page 9.
“City fur dealer dies at summer home,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 September 1957, page 33.
“W. J. Robinson, fur business leader dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 November 1957, page 26.
“Mrs. Bessie Robinson dies Tuesday at 89” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 April 1959, page 23.
Obituary [Ralph Theodore Robinson], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 February 1987, page 48.
Obituary [Fanny R. Goldstine], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 March 1988, page 64.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 March 2019
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