Memorable Manitobans: William Forbes Alloway (1852-1930)
Banker, businessman, philanthropist.
Born in Queen’s County, Ireland on 20 August 1852, son of Captain Arthur William and Mary Alloway, brother of Charles Valentine Alloway. He was educated at Montreal High School, then came to Manitoba with the Wolseley expedition as a private, in 1870, and worked briefly as a veterinarian. Then, beginning with a tobacco store, he moved into freighting and was an active dealer in Metis scrip, from 1872 to 1877. He was a participant in the December 1878 ceremony to mark the opening of the first railway to Winnipeg.
After 1879, he became a partner with Henry T. Champion in the banking firm of Alloway and Champion, which was transferred to the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1923. His initial donation of $100,000 provided the incentive for establishment of the Winnipeg Foundation. Alloway was a silent partner in many business ventures, especially in the milling industry. In 1910 he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires. He boasted that he had paid cash for everything throughout his life.
In 1879, he married Elizabeth Maclaren of Buckingham, Quebec. He served six years on the Winnipeg City Council, and was a Governor of the Winnipeg General Hospital. He was a member of the Manitoba Club and St. Charles Country Club. His recreations included riding and driving. Liberal. In 1911, he lived at 407 Assiniboine Avenue, Winnipeg.
He died on 2 February 1930. He is commemorated by Alloway Avenue in Winnipeg.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver.
“Free Press Necrology Files”, Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 16, University of Manitoba Archives]
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 January 2019
Back to top of page