Memorable Manitobans: John Frederick Bligh Livesay (1876-1944)
He started his newspaper career in Winnipeg in 1902 as a telegraph editor with the Winnipeg Tribune. Three years later he joined the Winnipeg Telegram. When Western Associated Press (WAP) was established in September 1907 he became the agency’s General Manager. On 14 October 1915, he was appointed the Dominion’s Press Censor for the West and remained part of Canada’s national censorship staff for almost five years. With the approval of the Borden government in July 1918, CP selected Livesay to go overseas for several months as the news service’s war correspondent. Livesay returned to Winnipeg in early 1919 and on 1 March 1919 once again became Press Censor of the West. However, he remained in this position for only two months, until 30 April 1919, two weeks prior to the outbreak of the Winnipeg General Strike.
Livesay continued as WAP’s manager until September 1917, when the western association merged with the Central Provinces and the Eastern Press Association to become the national news gathering service of Canadian Press Limited. After the merger, CP’s national headquarters was established in Toronto and Livesay was appointed CP’s Assistant General Manager and placed in charge of the Winnipeg bureau and western Canadian operations. In 1920 he left Winnipeg for Toronto to become CP’s General Manager. He retired in June 1939. He wrote two books: Canada’s Hundred Days in 1919 (on his war correspondent experience in late 1918) and The Making of a Canadian (1947).
He died at Clarkson, Ontario on 15 June 1944.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Livesay of Canadian Press dies in country home,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 June 1944, page 1.
Daddy’s Girl: Dorothy Livesay’s Correspondence with her Father by Pamela Banting, University of Western Ontario.
We thank James Arnett and Alix Arnett for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 25 December 2021