Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Victor Wentworth Odlum (1880-1971)

Journalist, insurance broker, diplomat.

Born at Cobourg, Ontario on 21 October 1880, son of Mary and Prof. Edward Odlum MA BSc. He lived in Japan from 1886 to 1889 with his father who was engaged in educational work at Tokyo. He was educated in the public and high schools at Cobourg, Columbian College (New Westminster, BC), and the University of Toronto. In 1898, he moved to British Columbia where he became a reporter with the Vancouver Daily World in 1902, rising to Editor-in-Chief in 1905. He came to Winnipeg in 1908 as inspector for the fire insurance and engineering firm of Burnett, Ormsby & Clapp and was appointed its Western manager in 1910.

During the South African War, he served as a private with the 2nd special service Battalion, R.C.R. (First Canadian Contingent) from 1899 to 1900 (medal and three clasps) and Lieutenant of the 3rd Mounted Rifles in 1902. He was commissioned in the 48th Highlanders at Toronto on his return from South Africa and transferred as Lieutenant to the 6th D.C.O.R. at Vancouver in 1902, and Captain of the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers in 1910. He also served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War and returned to Vancouver after its completion, where he was a newspaper publisher, MLA (1924-1928), and one of the first directors for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. During and after the Second World War, he worked as a Canadian diplomat, serving in postings in Australia and China.

In 1904, he married Eugenia Tressa Rogerson of Victoria, BC. They had two sons and a daughter. He served as a School Trustee at Vancouver (1904) and President of the Vancouver Liberal Association (1904). In Winnipeg, he was a member of the Military Institute and the I.O.F. He lived at 688 Jessie Avenue, Winnipeg.

He died at Vancouver on 4 April 1971.


Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 January 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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