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Memorable Manitobans: Raymond Kershaw (1869-1949)

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Raymond Kershaw
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Theatre operator.

Born at Ceylon, India [now Sri Lanka] on 14 June 1869, son of Durand Kershaw (1821-1871) and Mary Ann Newbatt (1832-1882), he resided in England before immigrating to Canada in about 1888 and ended up at Rat Portage [now Kenora], Ontario. Near this time, he may have also engaged in farming at Springfield prior to reaching New Westminster City, British Columbia by 1891. He worked as a contractor and married Emma Hawley (1870-1946) at Grantham, Lincolnshire on 5 September 1900, afterward returning back to Kenora. They had one natural son, Frank Hawley Kershaw (1904-1977), and later adopted another, Alexander William Fordham (1879-1949).

He arrived at Winnipeg around 1904 and initially worked as a piano dealer while residing at 368 Aberdeen Avenue. Around 1906, he opened the Strand Bowling Alley at the same address and about two years later expanded the venture to include billiards, renaming it Strand Billiard & Bowling Alleys. He operated until about 1910 then moved to 358 Langside Street (c1910-1919) and took a position as Manager for the Commercial Motor Car & Truck Company. In 1913, he returned to the world of entertainment, opening the Wonderland Theatre, going on to add the Osborne Theatre (1918) and Tivoli Theatre (1927), forming the Kershaw Theatre Limited (KT) with his son Frank. In February 1931, he purchased the Rosemeer Manor residence at Ten Mile Point on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and moved there in the subsequent months. Frank oversaw local affairs until 1936 when KT sold its remaining assets in Winnipeg to the Famous Players Canada Corporation.

During the First World War, he was involved in producing moving pictures for the Winnipeg Boy Scouts and military personnel at Camp Sewell / Camp Hughes. He was a founding member of the Winnipeg Rotary Club (1910), President of the Exhibitors’ Association of Manitoba (1818-1919) and the Motion Picture Association of Manitoba (1922-1923), as well as a member of the Winnipeg Board of Trade.

He died at Victoria, British Columbia on 8 November 1949.


Death registrations, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

1891, 1901, 1911, 1916, 1921, & 1926 Canada censuses, Library and Archives Canada.

“At the moving picture houses [Sewall Camp Scenes],” Manitoba Free Press, 7 August 1915, page 8.

“Well-known movie men of Winnipeg,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 20 November 1915, Religious News - Music & Drama Section page 2.

“Lends theatre to veteran soldiers,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 March 1916, Religious News - Music & Drama Section page 2.

“motion picture men elect officers,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 March 1918, page 5.

“Motion picture men’s convention,” Manitoba Free Press, 11 February 1922, page 4.

“Policy unchanged,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 September 1933, page 22.

“Leaving to reside in B.C.” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 23 May 1936, page 8.

“Looking them over [There will be regret that Raymond Kershaw ...],” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 23 May 1936, page 8.

“Looking them over [Frank H. Kershaw ...],” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 2 January 1937, page 14.

“Ex-city theatre operator dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 November 1949, page 25.

“Pioneer Winnipeg showman dies at West Coast,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 November 1949, page 12.

Brown/Wakelin family tree, Ancestry.

Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 31 August 2020

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