Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Harvey Smith (1868-1940)

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William Harvey Smith
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Born at Peterborough, Ontario on 10 July 1868, son of Henry H. Smith and Lydia G. M. Smith, he was educated at Peterborough and at Trinity College at Port Hope, graduating from the latter in 1885. Later that year, he moved to Winnipeg with his family when he father was appointed Dominion Lands Commissioner for Manitoba and the North West Territories. He attended St. John’s College and, in 1889, received a degree in natural sciences from the University of Manitoba. He then attended McGill University, obtaining an MD degree in 1892, the same year that he also obtained an MA degree from the University of Manitoba. He worked for a time as house surgeon at the Montreal General Hospital then at the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital in New York City. He returned to Winnipeg and practiced medicine for a short time then spent a year in London, England training to become oculist for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

He joined the staff of the Manitoba Medical College in 1897, serving for the next 32 years as an instructor in opthalmology and otolaryngology, and Head of the Department of Opthalmology (1912-1929). From 1919 to 1929, he was President of the medical staff of the Winnipeg General Hospital. He also practiced privately as an eye and ear specialist. He assisted in establishing, in 1922, the Medical Arts Building in Winnipeg. He served as President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (1899-1900), Manitoba Medical Association (1909-1910), British Medical Association (1920-1921, only the second Canadian to hold the position), and Canadian Medical Association (1930).

In 1901, he married Annie Prince Galt, youngest daughter of Father of Confederation Alexander Galt. They had two children: H. G. H. Smith and Muriel Harvey Smith (?-1978, wife of Harold R. Turner). He was a member of the Pine Ridge Golf Club (President, 1913-1914) and the Manitoba Club. He received honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba (1930) and McGill University (1931).

He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 15 May 1940. His honorary pallbearers were Archbishop S. P. Matheson, W. J. Tupper, Premier John Bracken, J. W. Dafoe, H. F. Osler, Dr. W. E. Campbell, Jules Preudhomme, A. Bain, George F. Stephens, Edward W. Montgomery, John A. Gunn, and William A. Gardner.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Pine Ridge Golf Club,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 March 1914, page 7.

“Dr. Harvey Smith dies, aged 72,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 May 1940, page 5.

“Hundreds attend funeral services for Dr. W. H. Smith,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 May 1940, page 13.

Obituary [Henry Gordon Harvey Smith], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 1973.

We thank Malcolm Woligrocki for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 January 2017

Memorable Manitobans

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