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Memorable Manitobans: Edward Anderson (1867-1955)

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Edward Anderson
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Lawyer, business executive.

Born on a farm near Dorchester, Quebec on 13 September 1867, son of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Anderson, he came to St. Boniface with his family in 1879. They settled on a homestead near Portage la Prairie and he was educated at public schools of Portage la Prairie. Family financial difficulties forced him to interupt his education at the age of 16, whereupon he took employment in a law office at Portage la Prairie. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1889 and practiced law actively while resuming his education, graduating from the Law Department of the University of Manitoba in 1891.

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Edward Anderson
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He practised law at Portage la Prairie and served as Crown Prosecutor for the Central Judicial District starting in 1899. He came to Winnipeg in 1906 where he joined the firm of Moran, Anderson and Guy (later known as Anderson, Guy, Chappell, and Duval), solicitors for the Winnipeg Street Railway, the Winnipeg Electric Company, and the Manitoba Power Company. He was made a King’s Counsel three years later. He was known for his “calm combativeness” and participated in many tough legal battles. One of his celebrated cases was in defending John W. Dafoe on a criminal libel charge arising from an election campaign.

In 1929, he was elected President and General Manager of the Winnipeg Electric Company and its subsidiaries. Under his tenure, gasoline and trolley buses were instituted and he was involved in the Seven Sisters controversy. He successfully navigated the company through the financial difficulties of the 1930s, and was active in the early development of the electrical power industry in Manitoba. He retired as president of the company in July 1940 and, the same year, was awarded a doctor of laws by the University of Manitoba.

In 1891, he was married to Mary A. Ryan (?-1942), daughter of Joseph Ryan of Portage la Prairie, at Port Arthur, Ontario. They had one son and two daughters. His son served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War and was killed in action. He served as President of the Conservative Association, Commonwealth Club, Manitoba Bar Association (1920-1921), and Law Society of Manitoba (1925-1928). He was a prominent member of the Manitoba Conservative party. His recreations included shooting and golf. He was a member of the Lakewood Country Club, St. Charles Country Club, Carleton Club, Winnipeg Winter Club, and Manitoba Club. He was instrumental in the founding of the Winnipeg Flying Club and Empire Club of Manitoba. In 1925, his residence was at 360 Wellington Crescent in Winnipeg. Near the end of his life, he lived at 810 Grosvenor Avenue.

He died in Winnipeg on 4 January 1955 and was buried in the family plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery.


A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

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.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Former WEC President, Edward Anderson, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 January 1955, page 5.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 1955, page 22.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 June 2019

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