Memorable Manitobans: Edward “Ed” Blackman (1933-2011)
Union leader, community activist.
Born at Winnipeg on 16 March 1933, son of Clarence Hubert Blackman (c1892-1973) and Gertrude Vanderbilt Bland (1912-1954), he grew up in the Point Douglas neighbourhood, attending Immaculate Conception School and St. Paul’s College. He began working for the Canadian National Railway then, in 1961, moved to the Streets, Traffic, and Transit Department of the Winnipeg city government.
Active in Local 500 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing over 6,000 city workers, he served as its President for 17 years until retirement in 1993. He was also General Vice-President of the union's National Executive Board. He was a founding member of the CUPE National Rainbow Committee and he served on the Winnipeg 2000 Committee and the boards of the North Portage Development Corporation, Winnipeg Physical Fitness Institute, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Take Pride Winnipeg, United Way, and YM/YWCA Winnipeg (President). He served on the advisory board for Habitat for Humanity and was a member of the Hunger Hurts Campaign 1992. In recognition of his community service, he received a Human Rights Achievement Award from the Community Legal Education Association (1994).
He and wife Shirlee had four children. He was an avid jogger and won awards in marathons.
He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 12 July 2011. He is commemorated by the CUPE Ed Blackman Worker of Colour Award that recognizes outstanding leadership in pursuit of justice and diversity in the labour movement.
Obituary [Clarence Hubert Blackman], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 October 1973, page 37.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 July 2011.
We thank Shirlee Blackman for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 August 2022