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Memorable Manitobans: Hugh McKay Sutherland (1845-1926)

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Hugh McKay Sutherland
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Lumberman, MP (1882-1887), railwayman.

Born at New London, Prince Edward Island on 22 February 1845, a descendant of Scottish Highlanders from Sutherlandshire, he attended school at Oxford County, Ontario. He commenced business lumbering and contracting. He came to Manitoba in 1874, and was appointed Dominion superintendent of public works in Manitoba and Northwest, 1874-1879. He established the first saw mill at Winnipeg, in 1878, and obtained the first charter of the Hudson’s Bay Railway, now Canadian Northern Railway.

He became Liberal MP for Selkirk in 1882, being defeated in a bitter fight in the 1887 campaign by W. B. Scarth. He then entered the mining business in British Columbia, then became the Canadian Northern’s chief executive agent in 1901. He again promoted a railway to Hudson Bay in 1908 and was always remembered as being the strongest advocate that the railway ever had. He was President of the Winnipeg and Hudson’s Bay Railway Company, Rainy Lake Lumber Company, Canadian Northern Coal and Ore Dock Company, Canadian Northern Prairie Lands Company, and Lake Winnipeg Shipping and Supply Company (1911-1915).

He was married three times: first to Mary Dickie (?-1875) of Brant, Ontario on 10 February 1864, second to May Banks (1850-1920) daughter of Hon. R. D. Banks of Baltimore, Maryland) on 10 December 1878, and third to Constance Margaret Denholm (1880-1925) on 3 September 1921. He had at least three children: Percy Sutherland (1870-1888), Helen Euphemia Sutherland (wife of Victor A. S. Williams), and Janet Sutherland (wife of Walter P. Helliwell). He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Carleton Club, Adanac Club, and St. Charles Country Club.

He died at Croydon, England on 14 August 1926, and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.


Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

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

We thank Susan Bracken and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 October 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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