Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Russell “Russ” Leslie (1891-1985)


Born at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on 26 March 1891, son of James and Margaret Leslie, he was educated at the Manitoba Agricultural College. Following five years of postgraduate work, in 1921 he was appointed Superintendent of the Morden Experimental Farm where he gained renown as a horticulturalist. He was active in the establishment of the International Peace Gardens and served as President of the Manitoba Horticultural Association (1927-1928).

After retirement in 1956, he moved to Winnipeg and wrote the “Over the Garden Wall” column on gardening for the Winnipeg Free Press. He served as Chair of the International Peace Garden (1957-1969). He was a founding member of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and the Manitoba Centennial Corporation. In recognition of his community service, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba (1952), a good citizenship award (1960), and the MHS Centennial Medal (1970).

He and wife Gertrude Josephine Bruce (1896-1981) had four daughters: Jean Leslie (1921-1981, wife of Leon Mitchell), Maureen G. Leslie (wife of Stuart McLean), Shirley A. Leslie (wife of John R. Stratton), and Gwen E. Lewlie (?-1985).

In 1971, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia where he died on 30 December 1985.

See also:

The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 2)
Manitoba History, Number 38, Autumn / Winter 1999-2000

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Morden Experimental Farm (First Street, Morden)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Darlingford Memorial Park (Darlingford, RM of Pembina)


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“These Manitobans will help plan centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 9.

“Notice of application to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 February 1965, page 72.

Obituary [Gwen E. Leslie], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 December 1985, page 64.

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 January 1986

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 March 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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