Memorable Manitobans: Richard McKenzie (1858-1931)
Born at Langside, Ontario, son of John McKenzie who emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1851, he worked on his father’s farm until eighteen years of age when he moved to Leamington, Essex County. Here he learned the blacksmithing and carriage business. He came to Winnipeg in 1880 and followed this trade for a time then, in 1882, he went to Rat Portage (now Kenora, Ontario) where he worked in lumber camps forty miles inland from Rat Portage. In 1883 he went to Medicine Hat, Alberta at the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway then walked from there to Calgary, a distance of 180 miles. Reaching Calgary, he went with two others to Red Deer, a distance of some 100 miles, driving oxen and Red River carts, taking seven days on the trip. He then returned to Calgary and spent some time in that district and in the foothills. He finally returned to Manitoba in 1884.
He bought a blacksmith business at Manitou, and started selling buggies manufactured by the McLaughlin Carriage Company of Oshawa, Ontario. He served as Mayor of Manitou from 1898 to 1899. In 1899, he opened a branch of the company at Winnipeg which, in 1907, became the McLaughlin Motor Car Company. In 1915, the business became a unit of General Motors of Canada Limited with McKenzie as its Western Canadian Manager. He retired a few months before his death.
On 8 May 1897, he married Lydia Pauline Hicks. They had three children: Marjorie McKenzie (b 1899, wife of David S. Robertson), John Richard McKenzie (b 1902), and Mabel Hicks McKenzie (b 1909). He was a member of the Motor Country Club.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 125 Maryland Street, on 19 March 1931.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Richard M’Kenzie dies, aged 72 years”, Manitoba Free Press, 21 March 1931, page 4.
We thank Jean McCollum for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 March 2017