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Memorable Manitobans: William Arthur Irish (1872-1941)

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William Arthur Irish
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Building contractor.

Born at Yarker, Ontario on 17 September 1872, son of George and Catherine Irish, he came to Manitoba with his parents in the early 1890s and worked at Carberry and Virden before coming to Winnipeg where he operated a contracting business in partnership with his brother-in-law John Alexander Saul. They also operated a brickworks at Virden in the 1890s. He was later President of the W. A. Irish & Company, President of the Builders’ Mutual Supply Company, President of the Western Savings and Loan Association, and a Director of the Equitable Trust Company.

On 28 January 1922, he married Mary Edith Fares (1890-1980, daughter of William Henry Fares) at Winnipeg and they had three children: William C. “Bill” Irish (1922-2015), Elizabeth Irish, and Gwendoline Joyce “Gwen” Irish (wife of James Eno Pompilio). He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Motor Country Club, and Southwood Golf Club. In 1930, he was involved in a bitter dispute over the will of his friend Alexander Macdonald.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 755 Wellington Crescent, on 1 November 1941 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. His pallbearers were J. S. Currie, N. Brewer, E. D. Pratt, G. Dummert, H. S. Stidston, and R. Pollock. His honorary pallbearers were Clarence Day Shepard, Robert Dunbar Guy, Edwin Henry Bennest, A. J. Brown, W. McLandress, W. Griffith, and H. Darling.

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:

Building

Location

Year

Status

Blue Ribbon Building (Anne Building)

87 King Street (88 Arthur Street), Winnipeg

1901

 

Parkhill House

182 Spence Street, Winnipeg

1904

 

Ideal Bedding Building

288 Princess Street, Winnipeg

1904

Demolished (2017)

Ivanhoe Court

277 Balmoral Street, Winnipeg

1909

 

Linda Vista Apartments / Birchmont Apartments

171 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg

1910

Demolished (?)

Spera House (move)

2 Middle Gate, Winnipeg

1929

 

Safeway Store

893 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

1929

 

Scarsdale Apartments

71 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg

1930

 

Sources:

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who's Who and Why, Volumes 6 and 7, 1915-1916, page 661.

Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Whereabouts of Irish and Forlong unknown,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 1930, page 17.

“W. A. Irish, contractor, dies aged 69,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 November 1941, page 6.

“W. A. Irish leaves $229,101 estate,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 January 1942, page 2.

Death registration [James Eno Pompilio], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Mary Edith Irish], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April 1980, page 49.

John Hamilton Parkhill, 182 Spence Street by Murray Peterson, Peterson Projects, February 2009.

Obituary [William C. Irish], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 April 2015.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 October 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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