Memorable Manitobans: Bernard Monroe “Barney” Stitt (1880-1942)
Forest engineer, hotelier, municipal official, MP (1930-1935).
Born at Spencerville, Ontario on 17 October 1880, son of Robert Marshall Stitt and Fanny Adele Turner, after attending public and high schools at Spencerville, he took a course in forest engineering from a school in Quebec. He came to The Pas in 1909 where he was one of the earliest missionaries for development of northern mineral, fur, and forest resources. In 1913, he took over management of the Opasquia Hotel.
During the First World War, he served overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, serving initially with the rank of Private, later promoted to Lieutenant of the 238 Battalion and Canadian Forestry Corps. After the war, he returned to northern Manitoba and was Chief Fire Ranger until he went into the fire insurance business.
He served as the Mayor of The Pas three times (1920-1921, 1923-1924, 1928-1930) and led some of the first delegations to impress on the provincial and federal governments the possibilities of the north country. He took a leading part in insisting on completion of the Hudson Bay Railway and in trying to divert more of the western grain business through the port of Churchill. In 1930, he was elected to the House of Commons as the representative for the Nelson constituency. Defeated by Thomas Alexander Crerar in the 1935 general election, he became the manager of the Avenue Hotel.
On 4 July 1910, he married Gladys West (1888-1966). Their two children Bernard Montgomery Stitt (1913-1923) and Alice Francis Mary “Mollie” Stitt (1914-1923) drowned at Pike Lake, near The Pas, on 24 July 1923. He was a member of the Masons and The Pas Rotary Club.
He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 21 March 1942, following an operation. He is commemorated by the Stitt siding on the Thicket Subdivision of the Hudson Bay Railway between the communities of Thicket Portage and Ilford. He is buried at The Pas Lakeside Cemetery alongside his wife and father, in Section 7A-1-2.
Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.
Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Six are dead by accidents,” Brandon Sun, 27 July 1923, page 1.
Obituary, Western Municipal News, April 1942, page 89.
“B. M. Stitt, pioneer of The Pas, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 March 1942. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]
The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Ralph McLean.
Page revised: 8 February 2021