Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Charles Albert Tanner (1887-1970)

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Charles Albert Tanner
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Streetcar operator, municipal official, MLA (1921-1922), MLA (1923-1927), editor.

Born at Winchester, England on 29 January 1887, the second child in a family of ten children of Charles Francis and Elizabeth Tanner, he immigrated to Canada in 1908, finding work on a farm north-west of Winnipeg. On 23 May 1913, he married Laura Hyndman from Crandall. They moved to the West Kildonan area of Winnipeg where he was employed as a streetcar operator and was Secretary of the International Street Rail local (1918-1919). In late 1919, he was elected Reeve of West Kildonan and served until 1923.

He was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in the provincial election of 1920. He ran as an Independent Labour candidate, defeating the Liberal and Farmer representatives in the constituency of Kildonan and St. Andrews. He was re-elected in the 1922 provincial election with a greater margin of victory. He was unsuccessful running for a third time in 1927. He ran unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in the 1930 federal election in the Winnipeg South constituency.

In 1925, he was hired by the Manitoba Hotel Association and later became its Managing Director. He was the Editor for the Hotel News. He was made a Life Member of the Canadian Hotel Association at his retirement in 1957.

The Tanners had three children: John (Jack) Charles, Dorothy Irene and Lawrence Allan. His oldest son Jack, a pilot with the RCAF, was killed in action in 1944 while on Coastal Patrol out of Goose Bay, Labrador. Tanner was an avid reader of history and world affairs and remained active in politics throughout his life. While he continued to champion for the rights of the “common” man, his political allegiance became tied to the Conservative Party. He was a friend to such party leaders as Duff Roblin and John Diefenbaker. At one point when he was unable to attend a Winnipeg function, Diefenbaker came to his home for a visit and to talk politics. Tanner served as President of the Winnipeg South Conservative Association, was a Life Member of Fort Garry Lodge No. 130 AF and AM, a Lifetime Member of Conaught Chapter 9, Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons and a Life Member of Khartoum Temple of the Shrine. He was President and Secretary-Treasurer (1926-1942) of the Elks Club and a member of the Fellowship Club and the St. Andrews Society.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 142 Garfield Street, on 12 February 1970 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 February 1970, page 29.

Times of Trouble: Labour Quiescence in Winnipeg 1920-1929 by David Edward Hall, MA thesis, University of Manitoba, 1983, page 66.

We thank Charlotte Root, a granddaughter of C. A. Tanner, for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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