Memorable Manitobans: William Bruce (1852-?)
Born at Caithness-shire, Scotland in August 1852, son of John Bruce and Ann Christian, he attended Haldene Academy at Glasgow after which he apprenticed in architecture then practiced as an architect at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London. He designed buildings in Leeds and Yorkshire, was a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, and the Edinburgh Association of Science and Arts. He emigrated to Winnipeg in 1906 where he continued his architectural practice in partnership with Daniel Smith. Few records survive of the buildings that he designed. In 1912, he unveiled an ambitious plan for a large urban center, dubbed Roblin City, at the mouth of the Churchill River on Hudson Bay, site of present-day Churchill. He also championed a native Manitoba stone for building purposes that he called Manitobite. He formed a company, Manitobite Stone Works Limited, to market the stone. He was married to Anne Edward (1852-1915). They had no children. In 1911, the couple lived at 302 Langside, Winnipeg. He appears to have moved to the United States but no record of his whereabouts after 1921 have yet been found.
His architectural works in Manitoba included:
“Apartment buildings and hotels,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1907, page 28.
“Winnipeg’s big building development during 1908,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 December 1908, page 31.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Deaths and funerals,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 February 1915, page 32.
“Words of praise from William Bruce a former Winnipegger,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 March 1921, page 3.
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 2 October 2023