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Memorable Manitobans: Robert George Brett (1851-1929)

Physician, politician.

Born at Strathroy, Ontario on 16 November 1851, son of James Brett and Catherine Mallon, he received a medical degree from the University of Toronto, later taking postgraduate studies at New York and Philadelphia (1876) and Vienna (1894). After practicing at Arkona, Ontario from 1874 to 1879, he moved to Winnipeg in 1880 where he was one of the founders, in 1884, of the Manitoba Medical College. He also served on the examining board of the University of Manitoba. During the 1885 North West Rebellion, he was assistant surgeon of the 19th Winnipeg Battalion.

In 1886, he moved to Banff, North West Territories [now Alberta] where he founded the Banff Sanatorium, with which he remained affiliated for the rest of his life. Soon after arrival, he became interested in territorial politics. In 1888, he was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of the North West Territories, serving until 1901 and was President of the Executive Council from 1889 to 1891. In 1898, he became the first leader of the Official Opposition. When Alberta became a province in 1905, he ran for election to the new provincial legislature but was defeated. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in 1915 and served in the position for eleven years.

He died at Calgary, Alberta on 16 September 1929 and was buried at Banff. He is commemorated by Mount Brett west of Banff.


“Hon. R. G. Brett dies after long illness”, Manitoba Free Press, 18 September 1929, page 3.

“Twenty-five years ago – July 8, 1914”, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 1939, page 3.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 April 2011

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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