William Harold Hunt
Born at Lennoxville, Quebec on 24 November 1884, son of William Francis Hunt (c1861-1905) and Catherine Maria Ives (c1865-1942), his early education was at Lennoxville. Of Irish extraction, his grandfather the Reverend Francis Hunt was a pioneer Methodist minister and one of the first in Quebec province, being ordained in 1842, and his father was an agent for the New York Life Association Company at Lennoxville who came to Winnipeg in 1900 as District Agent for the company.
He attended Wesley College, paying for his education by working on survey parties of the Hudson Bay Railway, and was in the first graduating class in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba. He served an apprenticeship with the Northern Iron Works of Manitoba, American Locomotive Works at Montreal, and two years with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was Assistant Engineer with the Canadian Northern Railway (Bridge Department) and Assistant Engineer of the City of Moose Jaw for three years before, in 1916, being appointed to the position of District Engineer with the Good Roads Board of Manitoba. In 1920, he moved to Selkirk where he served as President of the Selkirk Board of Trade (1925). In 1940, he enlisted in the Canadian military, first with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, then transferring to the Royal Canadian Engineers and serving at Petawawa, Dundurn, Chilliwack, and Wainwright. He was a supervising engineer for construction of the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan as of 1950, afterward returning to Winnipeg to work in private consulting.
He and wife Minnie Pearl Taylor (1886-1980) had four children: Katherine Taylor “Kay” Hunt (1917-1991, wife of Albert George Scott), Douglas William Hunt (1920-1983), Margaret Aileen Hunt, and John David De Vere Hunt (1929-2015). He was a member of the Engineering Institute of Canada, Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba, Manitoba Historical Society, Manitoba Archaeological Society, United Empire Loyalists, Royal Canadian Legion, Masons (Prince Rupert Lodge), University of Manitoba Alumni Association, and Riverview United Church.
He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 24 January 1976 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Hunt Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.
A chronology of events in Hunt’s life is as follows:
Summer 1909, Winter 1910
Railway location and construction as rod man for Hudson Bay Railway (F. P. Moffat’s party)
Ran preliminary line from Manitou Rapids to Thicket Portage
July -August 1910
Ran line from Armstrong Lake to Pikwitonei
CNR Bridge Department Inspector on construction of new concrete arch bridge that replaced an old trestle one at Rowan, 30 miles west of Port Arthur
Present Time Road Engineer, Department 10, Public Works, Manitoba Good Roads Board (helped locate and design the first No. 1 Highway east to the Ontario border)
Province of Manitoba Highways Department
Preliminary survey for route between Whitemouth and Ontario Boundary made
Lived in Town of Selkirk, served as Chairman and President of the Town of Selkirk Board of Trade
Construction commenced on Trans Canada Highway (Whitemouth to Ontario boundary)
He returned to his former civic employment with the Province of Manitoba as District Engineer in District No. 1 of Highways Department, in charge of all highway work east of the Red River, and from the United States boundary northward as far as road work was carried out
Appointed Supervisory Engineer by the Federal Government for construction of 414 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway through Saskatchewan (headquarters in Regina)
Trans-Canada Highway through Saskatchewan completed
May 1955 - November 1957
Engineer in charge of the labour and construction of the Falcon Beach Development in the Whiteshell Provincial Park for Department of Mines and Natural Resources of Province of Manitoba
June 1958 - August 1959
Consultant with Andrew Taylor & Associates on installation of water supply for the Clear Lake Golf Course in Manitoba
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Trans-Canada Highway Monument (Eastern Manitoba)
The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 1)
Manitoba History, Number 37, Spring / Summer 1999
The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 2)
Manitoba History, Number 38, Autumn / Winter 1999-2000
Personal Memoirs: Major William Harold Hunt by Margaret Carter (October 2023, PDF format)
Birth registrations [Katherine Taylor Hunt, Douglas William Hunt], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Marriage registration [Katherine Taylor Hunt, Albert George Scott], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Catherine Maria Hunt], Winnipeg Tribune, 7 March 1942, page 25.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1976, page 32.
Obituary [M. Pearl Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 April 1980, page 48.
Obituary [Douglas William Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1983, page 62.
Obituary [Katherine Taylor Scott], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 May 1991, page 23.
Obituary [John David De Vere Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 2015.
We thank Margaret Carter for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 October 2023
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