Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Ogilvie Swinton “Bill” Meredith (1911-2006)

Research scientist, community activist.

Born at Fife, Scotland in 1911, he attended secondary school at Stirling after which he apprenticed as an electrical engineer. He came to Canada on an agricultural scholarship at the age of 18, attended Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph and graduated with a BSA from the University of Toronto in 1934. He first worked as a research chemist with the National Research Council in Ottawa. In 1937 he moved to Winnipeg, still with NRC. He completed an MSc in Organic Chemistry and Statistics from the University of Manitoba (1939). During the Second World war he was carried out research on food storage and alternative energy sources from oil seeds. He spent a year at the University of Minnesota (1948) on an NRC Fellowship, and completed a PhD in Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Manitoba (1949). From 1946 to 1974 he was a Research Scientist with the Canadian Grain Commission at Winnipeg, as Head of Barley and Malt Research and consultant in statistics and biometrics. He travelled extensively as Canadian liaison to the European Brewery Convention. In 1967 he was awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal for his contributions to Canadian barley research and development. He was also a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada and a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing (UK).

He was active in the Boy Scouts organization most of his life, as a leader with the 45th Winnipeg Boy Scouts at St. Paul’s Church in Fort Garry from 1951 to 1973. He also served many years as Provincial Training Commissioner, was Manitoba contingent leader for International Jamborees in 1955 and 1957, and was a sub-camp chief for the Arctic Jamboree in 1970. The National Council of the Boy Scouts of Canada awarded him its Medal of Merit (1956), Silver Acorn (1967), and 65-year Long Service Medal (2005). He was an active member of the Fort Garry Historical Society and helped to save three early Franco-Manitoban houses from destruction that subsequently were moved to the St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park. For this work he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.

He died at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on 15 October 2006.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 October 2006.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 July 2012

Memorable Manitobans

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