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Memorable Manitobans: Leonard Towne Sterndale Norris-Elye (1884-1958)

Lawyer, educator, museum director.

Born in England in 1884, he came to Winnipeg in 1912. A graduate of Cambridge University, he was a lawyer by profession and for some time was employed by the Standard Trust Company. Following the death of his wife in 1925 he devoted himself to many other interests and activities including music and astronomy, spending at one time two years grinding a 6-inch mirror for an astronomical telescope which he installed on the roof of Bannatyne Castle (‘The Monk House’—134 Westgate). In 1929 he was appointed science master at Ravenscourt School and in 1938 he became Director of the Manitoba Museum, retiring in 1952. During this period he served as President of the Natural History Society of Manitoba (1938-1940) and the Winnipeg Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and a founding member of the Historic Sites Advisory Board of Manitoba (1946-?). He became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1950. He died in 1958 after a long illness and is buried at St John’s Cathedral.

He was a man of exceptionally wide-ranging accomplishment and expertise. He authored numerous publications on ornithology and palaeontology, and for some years, he presented a program on CKY radio, ‘Manitoba Calling’, he also presented on the CBC. He was a musical prodigy, playing the piano and composing from the age of 4; some compositions by him survive. During his early years in Winnipeg he acted as accompanist to the Elgar Ladies’ Choir, and from 1925 to 1929 he was organist at St. George’s Anglican Church.


This page was prepared by Keith Jones and Jim Burns.

Page revised: 1 December 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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