Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Walter Henderson Shillinglaw (1864-1957)

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Walter Henderson Shillinglaw
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Engineer, architect.

Born at Staffa, Ontario on 29 September 1864, son of James Shillinglaw (1832-1910) and Elizabeth Deans (1837-1897), he was educated at Albany, Missouri before moving with his family to Portage la Prairie in 1880 then to Brandon in March 1882. His father was a builder, and together they erected the family home in the east end of Brandon where he lived most of his life.

He attended the School of Science in Toronto for three years, after which he returned to Brandon in 1888 and began designing buildings, ranking as the city’s most important early architect as well as its longest-lived practitioner. From 1896 to 1909, he was civic engineer for the City of Brandon, being responsible for installation of bridges, sewers, and water works.

Returning to private practice in 1909 following a scandal arising from construction of the First Street Bridge, he joined David Marshall in the architectural firm of Shillinglaw and Marshall, which was responsible for the design of many important buildings in Brandon, including the Exhibition Building for the 1913 Dominion Fair. After military service in the First World War from 1916 to 1918, in which he rose to the rank of Major, he returned to his architectural practice.

On 19 September 1899, he married nurse Elizabeth Monteith (1865-1950) at Virden. They had no children. He was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Brandon Curling Club, and Presbyterian church. His recreations included golf, curling, and rifle shooting.

He died at Brandon on 20 November 1957 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.

Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:





Fleming House / Villa Louise

707 Louise Avenue, Brandon



East Ward School

Fourth Street, Brandon



West Ward School

Fifteenth Street, Brandon



Brandon Land Titles Building

705 Princess Avenue, Brandon



Central School

Lorne Avenue, Brandon



McDonald Block

841 Rosser Avenue, Brandon



Melita School No. 440

41 Ash Street, Melita



Oakwood School No. 439

Oak Lake, RM of Sifton



Souris School No. 285




Carberry School No. 125




Brandon Hills Union Church

RM of Cornwallis



Griswold School No. 425

Griswold, RM of Sifton



Cartwright School No. 174




Crystal City School No. 107

Crystal City



Altona School No. 333




Pipestone School No. 737

Pipestone, RM of Pipestone



St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

321 Eighth Street, Brandon


Destroyed by fire (1986)

Beresford Village School No. 1130

Beresford, RM of Whitehead



Zink Block

825-829 Rosser Avenue, Brandon



Rathwell School No. 578

Rathwell, RM of South Norfolk



Graham House

706 Lorne Avenue, Brandon



Administration Building, Ninette Sanatorium

Ninette, RM of Strathcona



Brandon Fire Hall No. 2

603 Eleventh Street, Brandon



Oakwood School No. 439 (expansion)

Oak Lake, RM of Sifton



Alexander School No. 338

Alexander, RM of Whitehead



Maley House

1605 Victoria Avenue, Brandon



McCreary Automotive Building

1133 Princess Avenue, Brandon



Dominion Exhibition Display Building II

Brandon Fair Grounds



Fleming School

2320 Louise Avenue, Brandon



First Presbyterian Church

339 Twelfth Street, Brandon



Earl Haig School

First Street, Brandon


Demolished (1988)

Earl Oxford School

540 Eighteenth Street, Brandon



Dominion Post Office Building

1039 Princess Avenue, Brandon



See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Shillinglaw House (302 Russell Street, Brandon)


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

“Plaintiff awarded one dollar damages,” Brandon Sun, 25 March 1909, page 10.

“Old timer dead,” Brandon Sun, 8 September 1910, page 2.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Who's Who and Why, Volumes 6 and 7, 1915-1916, pages 732-733.

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

Obituary [Mrs. W. H. Shillinglaw], Brandon Sun, 13 February 1950, page 9.

“Pioneer architect dies at 93,” Brandon Sun, 21 November 1957, page 2.

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

Holy Ground: The Story of the Manitoba Sanatorium at Ninette by David B. Stewart, J. A. Victor David Museum, 1999.

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 November 2021

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