Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William James Boyd (1862-1943)

Candy manufacturer.

Born at Kemptville, Ontario on 7 April 1862, son of Hugh Boyd and Maria Kilfoyle, brother of Nathaniel Boyd, he was educated in Ontario public schools. He came to Winnipeg in 1885, where he started in the confectionery business on Main Street, where the Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraph office later stood, purchased the business of W. H. Paulin, and afterwards that of the Bateman Bread Company. Over time, he built up an extensive trade in bread, and was the proprietor of several confectionery stores and embarked in the manufacture of cakes, ice cream and confectionery. In 1912, he disposed of his bread business to the Canada Bread Company, and went into the manufacture of confectionery for the wholesale trade, Boyd Candy Company, occupying the whole five stories and basement of the factory at the corner of Portage and Spence. In 1913 he built a nine-story office building, known as the Boyd Building, at the corner of Edmonton and Portage. He retired from business in 1935.

He was married twice, first on 16 March 1887 to Frances Irene Venn (1869-1925). They had nine children: Alva Kilfoyle Boyd (1890-?), Stella Irene Boyd, William Hugh John Boyd (1897-1968), Myron Nathaniel Boyd (1899-?), Minnie Mary V. Boyd (1901-?), Valetta Boyd (1903-?), Raymond Venn Boyd (1904-?), Beatrice Alona Boyd (1906-?), and Elizabeth Lyola “Joy” Boyd (1910-1984). In 1930, he married Ethel Maude Sproule (?-?). He contested the South Winnipeg constituency on behalf of the Conservative party in the 1915 provincial election but was defeated by A. B. Hudson. He served as President of the Conservative Association of Winnipeg, as well as President of the Association of South Winnipeg. He was a member of the Carleton Club, St. Charles Country Club, Empire Club, Canadian Club of Winnipeg, AF & AM (Master, Ionic Lodge), and Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 260 Wellington Crescent, on 12 May 1943 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Boyd Building (384 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)


1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

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

Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“William J. Boyd, early business leader, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 May 1943, page 13.

“Free Press Necrology Files,” Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 16, University of Manitoba Archives]

“William J. Boyd, early business leader, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 May 1943. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 132]

Obituary [William Hugh John Boyd], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 September 1968, page 22.

Obituary [Elizabeth Lyola Joy Boyd], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 August 1984, page 57.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank James Astwood for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 December 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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