Memorable Manitobans: Victor Magar [Victor Mager] (1849-1930)
Born in Lorraine, then part of France, on 8 March 1849 he came to Red River in 1859 with his family via Minnesota. In 1860 he enrolled in the Collége de Saint-Boniface, and then entered into business with his father, acquiring a sawmill and gristmill on the Red River on the present site of the St. Boniface Hospital. In 1870 he was present at the execution of Thomas Scott, and he served in the Métis corps in the Fenian troubles of 1871. He later claimed that the band with Colonel Wolseley had played “God save the Queen” upon first raising the British flag at Upper Fort Garry in 1870.
He was married twice, first in 1870 to Elizabeth Emmerling (?-?), daughter of John Emmerling and a niece of George Emmerling. They had nine children, four of whom lived to adulthood: Georgine Magar (1871-?, wife of Edouard Guilbault), Gustave Magar (?-?), Ferdinand George Magar (1882-1958), and Jules Henry Magar. On 4 September 1907, he married Ernestine Thomas (1863-1947, daughter of Celestin Thomas).
In 1872 he purchased land and began a business as a market gardener. He was elected Reeve of the Municipality of St. Vital in 1882, serving for twelve years. He was a candidate in the November 1900 provincial by-election for the St. Boniface constituency but was defeated by Joseph Bernier. In 1905 he attended the founding meeting of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, in Brandon. He was a prominent member of the Catholic parish of St. Boniface.
He died at St. Boniface on 27 June 1930 and was buried in the Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Mager Drive and Victor Mager School in Winnipeg.
Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Victor Mager, resident here 71 years, dead,” Winnipeg Tribune. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
“Victor Mager, early settler, succumbs,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 June 1930, page 9.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Obituary [Mrs. Victor Mager], Winnipeg Tribune, 19 August 1947, page 18.
Obituary [Ferdinand George Mager], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 November 1958, page 30.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 August 2020