Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Ryan (1849-1937)

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Thomas Ryan
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Businessman, Mayor of Winnipeg (1889).

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Thomas Ryan
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Born at Perth, Ontario on 24 August 1849, son of Michael Ryan and Sarah Molyneaux, where he apprenticed in the shoe-making trade. He came to Winnipeg in 1874 where he opened a retail store selling hand-made boots and shoes. Within ten years, Ryan’s business was stated to be the largest of its kind in Canada, a partnership with his brothers Michael Ryan, James Ryan, and George Ryan. In 1889, he sold the retail business to his brother George to concentrate on wholesale footwear. From 1895 to 1907, he owned an office-warehouse building at 104 King Street, later moving to a larger facility at Princess Street and Notre Dame Avenue.

In 1880, he married Annie Anderson (?-?), of Copenhagen, Denmark. They had nine children: Thomas Moody Ryan (1882-?), Alma Myrtle Ryan (1884-?, wife of G. H. Balls), Sarah Isabel Ryan (1886, wife of A. L. Smith), Mabel M. Ryan (1889-?, wife of Earle Calder Duffin), Florence N. Ryan (1891-?), Grace Constance Ryan (1893-?, wife of L. E. Lovegren), Ruth Ryan (1893-?), Jane M. Ryan (1895-?), and Wesley Whitfiel Ryan (1897-?). He was a brother-in-law of Robert D. Paterson. He served as a Winnipeg city alderman for four years and, in 1889, was elected the Mayor of Winnipeg for one term.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 12 Alloway Court, on 24 November 1937, after a long illness. He was buried in the St. James Cemetery. He is commemorated by Ryan Street in Winnipeg.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ryan House (5 East Gate, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: King Building / Ryan Block (104 King Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ryan Block / Banfield Block (492 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ryan Block (44 Princess Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ryan Brothers Building / Great Western Electric Building (110 James Avenue, Winnipeg)


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

“Thos. Ryan, 89, former Mayor of city, is dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 November 1937, page 3.

“Thos. Ryan, once Mayor of city, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 November 1937, page 4.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 April 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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