Memorable Manitobans: Thomas William Taylor (1852-1924)
Born in Portsmouth, England on 6 September 1852, son of James Taylor and Abigal Peel, he was educated in London, Ontario. He came to Winnipeg in 1877 and set up a bookbinding business two years later.
He served as a Winnipeg alderman in 1892, was elected mayor 1893, and was re-elected without opposition in 1894. He was chair of the Winnipeg Public Parks Board in 1904-5. In religion, he was a member of the Church of England.
Taylor first ran for the Manitoba legislature in the 1896 provincial election, but lost. He was first elected to the legislature in a by-election held on 1 November 1900. He servedas a backbench supporter of Rodmond Palen Roblin’s government. He was re-electedin the1903 and 1907 elections. In the 1910 election, he was again returned to the legislature, under controversial circumstances. Taylor defeated Fred Dixon, a Labour candidate supported by the Liberal Party, by a margin of seventy-three votes. The Socialist Party also ran a candidate, who received ninety-nine votes. Some believe the Conservatives encouraged the Socialist campaign to ensure their own victory.
On 17 May 1877, he married Gertrude Seaton of London, Ontario with whom he had twelve children: Arthur Robert Taylor, Abigail Taylor (wife of William Chandler Birt), Claratina Taylor (wife of Victor W. Horwood), Thomas William Taylor, Gertrude Taylor, Minnie Taylor, Edna Taylor (wife of A. T. Warrington), Chester Roy Taylor, Harold Taylor, Marguerite Taylor, James Sinclair Taylor, and Hugh John Taylor. He was the President of the Manitoba Rifle Association, and of the St. Andrew’s Society. He was a member of the Masons (Master, St. John’s Lodge), Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Thistle Curling Club, and Old Timers’ Association of Manitoba (President).
Taylor did not seek re-election in 1914, and died ten years later. His son-in-law, W. C. Birt, took over the family’s bookbinding business after Taylor’s death on 24 February 1924. The T. W. Taylor printing plant and book bindery remained open in Winnipeg until 1968.
He is commemorated by Taylor Avenue in Winnipeg.
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.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 30 April 2011
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