Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Quinton McKay (1886-1957)

Antique dealer.

Born at Montreal, Quebec on 26 March 1886, son of George Donald McKay and Prudentia Eleanor McClay (1857-1945), he was active in the Winnipeg antique business from 1919 until his retirement in 1955.

While his first job was with a wholesale china and glassware firm, he opened his own shop in the old Board of Trade Building in 1919. His store was later located in the Kensington Building, Smith Street. Included in his personal collection were such valuable items as a silver snuffbox made for King George IV and a solid gold watch from imperial Russia given by a czar to John Hyley, then Postmaster Royal at Windsor Castle. A veteran of the First World War, he enlisted in Winnipeg and served overseas with the Fort Garry Horse and the Medical Corps. He gained valuable information about antiques during his time in Europe and traveled regularly to Britain and the continent as an antique dealer later in life.

In 1918, he married Martha Franziska “Fern” Rhodé (1888-1947) in Buckinghamshire, England. They had no children. He was a member of Northern Light Masonic Lodge of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Khartum Temple, Royal Canadian Legion, and Winnipeg Rotary Club. A cribbage player, he boasted at having been dealt four perfect hands.

He died at Victoria, British Columbia on 7 August 1957 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


“Antiques and cribbage,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 April 1949. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 90]

“Former antique merchant here dies in B.C.,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 August 1957, page 8.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 18 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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