Manitoba Photographers: Frederick W. Steele (1860-?)
Born at Keokuk, Iowa on 23 February 1860, youngest son of Canadians William B. and Lavinia Steele, the family returned to Canada shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War, taking up residence at Toronto, Ontario. He was educated at Toronto public schools, leaving at the age of 10 to work in a confectionary. In 1876 he took a job in the Toronto photography studio of Notman & Fraser. He apprenticed as a photographer for five years then opened his own studio at Strathroy, Ontario. He spent a year there, returned to Toronto to work in the studio of Gagen & Fraser, then worked in a studio at Peterborough.
He came to Winnipeg in June 1886 and worked in the studio of Hall & Lowe until March 1887 when, in partnership with William Edward Wing, he purchased the Hudson’s Bay Photo Parlors. The firm of Steele & Wing operated premises on Main Street, near St. Mary’s Street, in a building owned by A. W. Austin for about a year, after which they moved to the southwest corner of Main Street and Bannatyne Avenue, in the former studio of Simon Duffin. Steele travelled extensively in Western Canada, taking photographs of scenery in the Rocky Mountains on behalf of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Wing left the firm in 1892, which became known as Steele & Company, with Steele as President. He later served as President of Steele-Mitchell Limited, with sold photographic supplies in the Steele Block that he built in 1903 at the corner of Portage Avenue and Carlton Street.
On 26 December 1905, he married Margaret Beveridge, daughter of Thomas Beveridge, at Manitou, Manitoba. Steele was a member of the AF & AM (Ancient Landmark Lodge), IOOF, and Canadian Order of Foresters.
By 1929, he was living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Birthday congratulations to,” Manitoba Free Press, 23 February 1929, page 13.
“Builder and owner of Steele Block revisits city,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 August 1929, page 29.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 October 2017
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