Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Donald Ian MacDonald (1913-2001)

Civil servant.

Born in the Elmwood area of Winnipeg on 4 October 1913, only son of Daniel Brown MacDonald and Mary Elizabeth Johnston. He attended Lord Selkirk School and St. Johns Technical High School, then he received a BA (Honours) degree in Economics from the University of Manitoba in 1935 and an MA from the University of Toronto in 1938. In 1939, he was appointed to a Royal Commission investigating the finances and administration of the City of Winnipeg. He then began a long and distinguished career in civil service, starting at the Winnipeg Electric Company.

His business career was interrupted by service in the Canadian Navy from 1944 to 1945. In 1955 he was named General Manager of the Greater Winnipeg Transit Commission. He was President of the Canadian Urban Transit Association in 1963, and was appointed Director of Streets and Transit for the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg in 1961. In 1969 he became Executive Director of Metro, then, with the formation of Unicity, he was appointed the first Chief Commissioner of the City of Winnipeg in 1971. He served in the position of Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Winnipeg from 1971 to his retirement in 1978.

He remained active in retirement, continuing in his support of Rossbrook House, becoming Executive Director of the Manitoba Golf Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Ducks Unlimited (later a Director Emeritus), and of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. He also served on the 1986 Cherniak Committee reviewing the City of Winnipeg Act. He was a frequent guest writer to the Winnipeg Free Press on civic affairs.

He died on 13 October 2001 after a lengthy illness. In 2002, he was inducted posthumously in the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 October 2001.

“We will not forget them,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2001, page B3.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 June 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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