Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Charles Wallace (1881-1955)

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Robert Charles Wallace
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Born in the Orkney Islands on 15 June 1881, son of James and Mary Wallace, he was educated at Edinburgh University (Scotland) and Gottingen University (Germany). In 1910 he was appointed a lecturer in geology at the University of Manitoba, becoming Department Head in 1912 and holding the position until 1928. He took over from John A. Campbell as Commissioner for Northern Manitoba, serving from 1917 to 1921 and, in 1927, was Manitoba’s commissioner of mines.

Wallace was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1921 and became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1944. He published extensively on the geology of Manitoba, his works including The Geological Formations of Manitoba (1925). He was given the Natural History Society of Manitoba Bronze Medal for his work. He served as President of the Manitoba Educational Association (1925-1926). He became President of the University of Alberta in 1928 (the same year he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba) and Principal of Queen’s University in 1936, and retired in 1951. In later years he became interested in humanistic questions, and he was the author of A Liberal Education in the Modern World (1932) and Religion, Science, and the Modern World (1952).

He died at Kingston, Ontario on 29 January 1955. He is commemorated by the Wallace Building at the Fort Garry Campus of the University of Manitoba.


Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Dr. Wallace of Queen’s dies at 73,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 January 1955, page 31.

The History of the Manitoba Educational Association by Ernest Butterworth, MEd thesis, Faculty of Graduate Study and Research, University of Manitoba, 1965.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank James Burns for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 November 2019

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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