Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Stirton Thornton (1863-1936)

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Robert Stirton Thornton
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Physician, MLA (1908-1910), MLA (1914-1915), MLA (1916-1920), MLA (1921-1922).

Born at Edinburgh, Scotland on 8 May 1863, son of David Thornton and Mary Gavin, he was educated at Heriot’s Hospital School from 7 to 15 years of age. He graduated with a medical degree from Edinburgh University in 1884 and came to Canada later that year, establishing a medical practice at Deloraine which he maintained until retirement in 1931. He also served as health officer for the Rural Municipality of Winchester. He served as President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (1895-1896) and President of the Medical Council of Canada.

On 30 April 1889, he married Mary Johnston, a daughter of Irish immigrants Robert Johnston and Ann Frazer. He was a member of the IOOF and the Masons, having been Grand Master of the Manitoba Grand Lodge from 1900 to 1902. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1907, defeated in 1910, and elected again in 1914, 1915, and 1920, serving until 1922 when he was defeated. He was Minister of Education in the Norris government (1915-1922). He was given an honorary degree by Queen’s University (Kingston).

In 1931, he retired to Vancouver, British Columbia where he died on 17 September 1936.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Grove School No. 455 (Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester)


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 Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Noted doctor of Manitoba dies at coast,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 September 1936. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 September 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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