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Memorable Manitobans: William Arthur Irish (1872-1941)

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: Elizabeth Irish, Gwendoline Joyce Irish, and William C. Irish. 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 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 C. D. Shepard, R. D. Guy, E. H. 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

 

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.

Marriage registration, 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.

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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