Memorable Manitobans: Andrew Robert McNichol (1861-1931)
Insurance executive, philanthropist.
Born at Beverley, Ontario, on his father’s farm, son of Ezekiel and Mary Wallace McNichol, he was educated at Beverley and Hamilton Schools. Finishing his education at the age of 16, he established himself as a general merchant at Clyde, only a few miles from his birthplace. He sold this business after a few years and moved to Winnipeg, where he entered the real estate and insurance business. A few years later was made Manager and Treasurer for Western Canada of the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association of New York (later Mutual Reserve Life). A few years later the Company formed a North Western Department, with head office in Minneapolis and branch offices in St. Paul and Winnipeg. The North-Western Department included Western Canada, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
McNichol was promoted to the position of General Manager and Treasurer of this Department. A few years later he was again promoted to the position of Director of Agencies at the home office at New York, with a staff of over 6,000 agents. This position he held until the Company decided a few years later to change its policy from a natural premium plan of furnishing pure life insurance (for which purpose it was originally formed), to the level premium or investment plan of insurance. This change Mr. McNichol strongly opposed, and as a result he resigned and devoted his time for a number of years to travelling and looking after his personal business as a financier. The firm of A. R. McNichol Limited was established on 1 January 1924. All the assets of Mr. A. R. McNichol were taken into the firm for the purpose of consolidating his interests. He owned extensive real estate throughout Winnipeg.
In 1910 he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires. He was an ardent advocate of prohibition and a non-smoker. Among his philanthropical gifts were donations to the Winnipeg General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Children’s Home, Margaret Scott Nursing Mission, Knowles School for Boys, Old Folk’s Home, Jewish Orphanage, Convalescent Hospital, St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Great War Veterans, and Victorian Order of Nurses. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Canadian Club of Winnipeg, St. Charles Country Club, Winnipeg Winter Club, St. Andrew’s Country Club, AF & AM, and St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg. His recreations included walking and golf.
He suffered a heart seizure while walking on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg and died, unmarried, on 1 December 1931. He was buried at Westover, Ontario. He is commemorated by McNichol Street in Winnipeg.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“A. R. M’Nichol suffers fatal heart seizure,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 December 1931.
We thank Joe Martin for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 March 2023