Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Charles Esplin (1834-1905)

Civil engineer, inventor.

Born in Arbrath, Forfarshire, Scotland. He had six children. He came out to Montreal in 1846, and attended McGillUniversity. In 1863 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers. He came west in 1878 and built saw mills at Keewatin and several points in southern Manitoba. After a sojourn on the Pacific coast, he returned to live in Winnipeg in 1897, where he worked for the Vulcan Iron Works before going into business for himself. Esplin installed the first electrical plant in Winnipeg as well as the first civic asphalt and water-softening plants. He was a writer on engineering subjects, and contributed articles to the newspapers in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Winnipeg.

He died in Winnipeg on 6 December 1905.

See also:

Charles Esplin, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 322.


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 April 2011

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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