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Memorable Manitobans: William Pearce (1848-1930)


Born at Elgin County, Ontario on 1 February 1848, he was educated at the St. Thomas High School and the University of Toronto. He learned land surveying in the Toronto office of Wadsworth and Ulwin then worked for them. In 1874 he came to Manitoba to do survey work for the government, and also acted on behalf of the Department of Public Works in the expropriation of land for the Pembina branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway from Emerson to St. Boniface. From the spring of 1874 to the fall of 1881, he was involved in survey work ranging from Rat Portage (now Kenora, Ontario) to the third principal meridian, as well as work throughout Ontario. In February 1882, he was appointed Inspector of Dominion Land Agencies then, in March 1885, he became Superintendent of Mines for Manitoba and the North West Territories. He was a member of the Royal Commission to inquire into freight rates in the West. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. He died at his home in Calgary, Alberta on 3 March 1930.


A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

“William Pearce, pioneer, succumbs in Calgary Monday”, Manitoba Free Press, 4 March 1930, page 6.

“William Pearce dies at home in Calgary”, Manitoba Free Press, 5 March 1930, page 1.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 July 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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