Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James W. Smith (1843-1917)

Building contractor.

Born at Shaftesbury, Dorsetshire, England on 18 October 1843, he left England in 1869 and worked in the plastering and contracting business at Chicago, Illinois until 1873 when he moved to Upper Fort Garry. He later partnered with his half-brother Charles W. Sharp, under the name of Smith & Sharp, in a contracting business. It was responsible for the construction of many early buildings in Winnipeg. In 1907, he retired from business and moved to Victoria, British Columbia, later going to Wiltshire, England where he died on 20 January 1917. Predeceased by his wife Elizabeth, he was survived by a daughter (wife of Hugh McIntyre).

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:





Stony Mountain Penitentiary (interior work)




Winnipeg City Hall #1




Winnipeg City Hall #2




Merchants Bank Building




Dominion Bank Building




Bank of British North America Building




Union Bank Building




Old Court House




Masonic Temple




Winnipeg Police Station




Old Queen's Hotel




Leland Hotel




Fortune Building




Old Confederal Life Building




Imperial Bank Building




Grand Pacific Hotel

Main Street, Winnipeg



First St. Mary’s Church




Carnegie Library

380 William Avenue, Winnipeg



See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Charles Wallace Sharp (1852-1924)


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Old timer dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 February 1917, page 5.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 April 2020

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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