Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Benjamin Billingsley Smith (1881-1975)


Born at New Carlisle, Quebec in December 1881, he came to Winnipeg in 1902. After working in various offices for a few years, he convinced his brother Wilson Smith (1880-1955) to quit a job commanding the Atlantic steamship Empress of Ireland and join him in an insurance agency. They founded the Smith Agency Limited in 1910. They gradually began to take on property management, which eventually became the dominant part of their business.

On 23 September 1914, he married Eva Mae McCutcheon (1889-1967) at Winnipeg. They had two daughters: Corine Smith (wife of Ali H. Hansen) and Donna Smith (1917-1997, wife of Ian W. G. Plant and Ronald George Palmer). He served on the Winnipeg School Board for six years, representing Ward One. In 1935, he organized the Winnipeg Sinking Fund, Trustees School District Number One and served as its Chairman for 34 years, retiring in December 1968. He was a founder of the River Heights Community Club, in 1917, and served on the Greater Winnipeg Election Committee. He was a member of the Masons (Northern Light Lodge), Eskimo and Indian Residential School Committee, Manitoba Historical Society, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and Lake George Fishing Club.

He died at Winnipeg on 28 March 1975 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Smith House (227 Oxford Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Saxon Apartments (190 Balmoral Street, Winnipeg)


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 1975, page 42.

Obituary [Donna Gwendoline Palmer], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1997, page 58.

Raleigh Apartments (340 Vaughan Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, January 1997.

We thank Ron Smith for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 March 2022

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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