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Memorable Manitobans: John Bruce Walker (1861-1939)

Immigration agent.

Born at Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland on 13 December 1861, son of Andrew Walker and Jeannie Crosbie Bruce, he was educated at Ayr Academy. He was a member of the Scottish football team that defeated England in 1882, the year he came to Canada as editor of the Brantford Expositor. In 1903 he entered the federal service, working for several years as government agent in Glasgow. There he publicized Canada in all ways possible, distributing handbills at football matches and employing the cinemas in the larger towns. He himself lectured with stereopticon slides. He disguised himself as an immigrant on one occasion to expose a steamship agent who was luring people with false promises. Canadian immigration from Scotland increased substantially while he was in Glasgow. He was subsequently sent to London, and he was recalled to Winnipeg in 1908 to become commissioner of immigration. He was a Presbyterian, and a member of the Greenock Burns Club and Manitoba Club. His daughter Marjorie married businessman David Cooper. He died at Winnipeg on 17 May 1939 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


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

“Former official, J. Walker dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 May 1939. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]

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

We thank Pam Cooper for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 August 2015

Memorable Manitobans

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

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