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Memorable Manitobans: James Elder Steen (1846-1909)


Born in Ireland and taken by his parents to Scotland during his childhood, where he was educated, he later served in the British navy before coming to America in 1871. With W. D. Boyce, he came to Winnipeg in 1882 as senior partner in the firm of Steen and Boyce, which published The Commercial, a trade newspaper. The partnership lasted until 1892, and five years later Steen moved to Montreal where he engaged in the commission business. In 1902, he returned to Winnipeg to become the first Secretary of the Real Estate Exchange. Steen wrote several pamphlets descriptive of Winnipeg and other towns in the Canadian North-West. In 1903, he wrote the introduction to An Illustrated Souvenir of Winnipeg, a richly-illustrated book of photographs of the city at that time. He was one of the charter members and was for many years Secretary of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, as well as serving as President for a term. He was also a Secretary of the St. Andrew’s Society. Steen died at his Winnipeg home, 925 William Avenue, on 7 May 1909 and was buried in the Kildonan Cemetery. He was survived by two children.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Death has called James E. Steen,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 May 1909, page 10.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 March 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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