Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Henry Lefroy (1817-1890)


Born in Hampshire, England, and educated at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, he took up the superintendency of the Toronto observatory in 1842. A few months later, in May 1843, he left on an expedition to locate the magnetic north pole. The journey of 5,000 miles took him across the Northwest before he returned to Toronto late in 1844. He came back to Manitoba several times in later life. He received the CB in 1871 and a KCMG in 1877. He died in Cornwall, England. His autobiography was published in 1895.

More information:

Diary of a Magnetic Survey of a Portion of the Dominion of Canada, Chiefly in the North-Western Territories: Executed in the Years 1842-1844 by J. H. Lefroy (1883).

In Search of the Magnetic North: A Soldier-Surveyor’s Letters from the North-West, 1843-44 edited by G. F. G. Stanley (1955).

John Henry Lefroy, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XI, 508-10.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Page revised: 24 March 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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