Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Wolinsky (1887-1980)

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Joseph Wolinsky
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Businessman, philanthropist.

Born in Delyatichi, Belarus (near Minsk) in 1887, he emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1904 and lived in Ottawa. There, he became the local agent of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In 1907, he married Minnie Shaffer (?-?) and moved to Winnipeg around the outbreak of the First World War where he founded the Dominion Electric Company, in 1917, in partnership with his brother-in-law Benjamin Shaffer (1888-1957), and later the Great Western Radio Company. He owned the Marlborough Hotel for a time, later in partnership with Nathan Rothstein, and eventually sold out to him. Active in Jewish education, he served as President of Talmud Torah, co-founder of the Maimonides College, founder of the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, a founder of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Vice-President of the Canadian Friends of Bar Ilan University. He died at Toronto, Ontario on 6 February 1980 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Powis House (9 Middle Gate, Winnipeg)


Who’s Who in Canadian Jewry, compiled and prepared by The Canadian Jewish Literary Foundation for the Jewish Institute of Higher Research of the Central Rabbinical Seminary of Canada, 1965.

“American Jews honor Wolinsky,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 October 1966, page 25.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 February 1980, page 47.

Benjamin Shaffer, Find-A-Grave.

We thank David Kimmel for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 August 2020

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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