Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Lewis Benjamin “Lou” Foote (1873-1957)


Born at Burin, Newfoundland on 6 February 1873, son of a sea captain, he worked on the Summerside Journal (Prince Edward Island) where he discovered a flair for photography. He moved to Halifax and then, in 1902, to Winnipeg where he worked on the railway for a year before becoming a professional freelance photographer. He did commercial photography in California for a time before returning to Winnipeg.

From 1909 to 1932, he was partner with George James in the firm of Foote and James, with a studio located in the Cadomin Building. For more than 50 years his photographs chronicled the development of the city. His most famous work was done in 1919 during the Winnipeg General Strike but he was also the official photographer to the Winnipeg coroner. He was an active photographer until March 1948 when he was badly injured in an automobile accident.

On 11 April 1899, he married nurse Mary Skene MacKichan (1873-1945, daughter of Rev. A. J. MacKichan) at Stellarton, Nova Scotia and they had two sons, Lewis Frederick “Fred” Foote (1900-1961) and Allister Eric Foote (1904-1999). He was a member of the Winnipeg Press Club and Fort Rouge United Church. The family lived at 492 Gertrude Street.

He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 13 July 1957 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. An extensive collection of his photographs is held at the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

Winnipeg Through the Lens of L. B. Foote, Photographer from the Foote Collection, Manitoba Archives
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 24, Number 3, Spring 1979

The Best Possible Face: L. B. Foote’s Winnipeg by Doug Smith and Michael Olito, Turnstone Press, ISBN 0-88801-097-4, 1985, 135 pages.

Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L. B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones, University of Manitoba Press, 978-0-88755-735-4, 2012, 166 pages.


Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Obituary [Mary Foote], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1945, page 5.

“4 hurt in week-end car, street accidents,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 March 1948, page 13.

“Old-time cameraman opens 45-year album,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 May 1954, page 13.

“George James looks back on 90 busy years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 April 1956, page 14.

“Lew Foote dies: His camera lens recorded 50 years of city history,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 July 1957, page 3.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 July 1957, page 22.

Obituary [Hazel Foote], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 July 1968, page 23.

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

Obituary [A. Eric Foote], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 April 1999, page 43.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 May 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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