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Memorable Manitobans: Allan Bowerman (1844-1923)

Educator, florist, entrepreneur.

Born on a farm near Picton, Ontario on 20 May 1844, he was educated at Victoria University (Cobourg) and the Kingston Military School. In 1870, he came to Manitoba as a member of the Wolseley Expedition and stayed after it was demobilized, becoming Principal of the Wesleyan Institute that was newly established by Rev. George Young.

During the Winnipeg real estate boom of the early 1880s, he invested heavily in real estate, owning land along Portage Avenue where he erected a residential building known as the Bowerman Terrace and established a florist shop. He lost most of his investments in the subsequent crash. In December 1883, he accepted a position as Classics master at the Winnipeg Collegiate Institute, becoming Principal the following year. He resigned in mid-1889 to concentrate on his florist business. During the late 1880s, he also served as an officer of the recently-formed Manitoba Historical Society.

After his flower business closed in the mid-1890s, Bowerman took a position as Principal of Griswold School, serving until early 1899. He then traveled west and became Principal of the school at Moose Jaw, North West Territories [now Saskatchewan]. There, he married for the second time, his first wife (a Miss Stephenson of Cobourg, Ontario) having been deceased for some time. They had no children. From Moose Jaw, he went to Saskatoon where he became postmaster in 1900, serving until 1906. Again, he invested in real estate and amassed a substantial fortune over a period of less than a decade. He built the Canada Building and was an early supporter of the University of Saskatchewan. He sold a piece of property to the government for the site of a sanatorium.

In his retirement years, Bowerman wintered in California, where he died at Los Angeles on 25 December 1923. He left an estate valued at about $3 mllion.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

The Chinook Winds and Other Climatic Conditions of the North-West
MHS Transactions, Series 1, No. 22, Read 22 April 1886

Sources:

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Post Offices and Postmaster, Library and Archives Canada.

“Allen Bowerman was former educationalist in Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 27 December 1923, page 3.

“Late Allan Bowerman was popular Winnipeg old-timer,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 January 1924, page 5.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 July 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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