Memorable Manitobans: Edward Bruce Pitblado (1896-1977)
Born at Winnipeg on 23 February 1896, son of Isaac Pitblado and Almyra Campbell (1873-?), he attended Alexandra School and Winnipeg Collegiate Institute then graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1920 and articled in his father’s law firm under Alfred Erskine Hoskin. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar for Manitoba in 1922, and he went to Oxford in the spring of 1922. While there, he met a number of Canadians who would later reach prominence: Richard Bonnycastle, Kenneth E. Taylor, Mike Pearson, Roland Michener, and Jack Farthing. He competed in the 1924 Winter Olympics as a member of the British ice hockey team.
On return to Canada, Pitblado graduated in 1926 from the Manitoba Law School on the strength of his Oxford record. He received his degree at convocation at the same time as his father, who had served as Chair of the University Board of Governors (1917-1924), received an honourary Doctor of Laws. He practiced law and, in 1951, was made a King's Counsel.
On 23 May 1928, he married Esther Jonsson (1900-1987), daughter of Reverend B. B. Jonsson. They had two children: James Pitblado and Janice Pitblado. He served as President of the Alumni Association of the University (1929-1931) and the Law Society of Manitoba (1965-1966). In 1935, he was President of the Manitoba Game and Fish Association and, two years later, he was instrumental in the founding of Ducks Unlimited Canada. He was a founding board member of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation (1963). In 1973 he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt in recognition of his contribution to wildlife conservation in Manitoba.
He died at Winnipeg on 2 December 1977 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. There is a collection of Pitblado family papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Many active in city’s life today attended Alexandra” by Claire Tisdale, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 1949.
“Eight Manitoba King’s Counsel announced in New Year’s list,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1951, page 1.
“These Manitobans will help plan centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 9.
Learned Friends, Reiminiscences - Pitblado & Hoskin 1882-1974 by Anna Tillenius.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 December 1977, page 32.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 24 April 2022