Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Ernest McGaw (1877-1950)


Born at Goderich, Ontario on 28 February 1877, son of Samuel A. McGaw and Mary Allan Miller (c1844-1907), he came to Manitoba as a boy and was educated in local public schools. From 1892 to 1894, he was employed with the Canadian Pacific Railway then, from 1894 to 1894, was involved with grain elevator construction with Lake of the Woods Milling Company. He then worked successively as cashier for the Mutual Life Insurance Company (1896-1900), salesman for the Lake Huron and Manitoba Milling Company at Goderich (1900-1905), and its Ontario manager (1905-1906). In 1906, he took part in consolidation of the firm with the A. Kelly Milling Company that produced the Western Canada Flour Mills Company, of which he became Western Manager.

In 1905, he married Jean Blanche McLaren (1879-1965) at Goderich, Ontario. They had three children: William Alexander Riggs McGaw (1906-1983), Donald Ernest McGaw (1910-1984), and Mary Jane Patricia McGaw (1916-?). In 1911, the family lived at 109 Betourney Street, Winnipeg. He was a member of the Carleton Club, AF & AM, and Anglican church. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1920 where he was involved in grain transportation. He was also President of the Alberta Wheat Pool. He retired in August 1949.

He died at Vancouver on 1 January 1950 and was buried in the Masonic cemetery at Burnaby.


“S. A. M’Gaw bereaved,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 February 1907, page 9.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver.

1916 Canada census, Ancestry.

“Wheat Pool official dies at Vancouver,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 1950, page 21.

Death registrations, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

We thank Maria Vallance for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 June 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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