Memorable Manitobans: Alvin Chown Hamilton (1926-2014)
Born at Winnipeg on 14 August 1926, son of Frank Hamilton and Aleda Chown, he was educated at Grosvenor School and Kelvin High School. In 1944, he enlisted in the army and, after the Second World War, attended United College then the Manitoba Law School. He articled in Dauphin, was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1951, and practiced law at Roblin, Winnipeg, Melita, and Brandon. While in Brandon, he served as Chair of the Brandon School Division (1961-1963), Chair of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees (1964-1966), Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba (1968-1972), and helped to establish the city’s Indian-Metis Friendship Centre in 1966. In 1969, he was made a Queen’s Counsel.
Active in politics, in 1963 he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the federal constituency of Brandon-Souris and was a delegate to the 1968 Liberal leadership convention. In 1971, he was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench, becoming in 1983 the first Associate Chief Justice of the newly formed Family Division of the court. In 1988, he and judge C. Murray Sinclair were appointed as Commissioners on an Aboriginal Justice Inquiry that, in 1991, submitted a report on the deaths of Helen Betty Osborne and John Joseph Harper. He retired from the bench in 1993 to work as an arbitrator and mediator. In 1996, he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Winnipeg. He wrote two books: A Feather Not a Gavel: Working Toward Aboriginal Justice (2001) and the autobiographical Country Lawyer - City Judge (2007).
He died at Winnipeg on 25 July 2014.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 July 2014.
We thank Frances Kasper for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 November 2017
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