Historic Sites of Manitoba: Robert Atkinson Davis Plaque (Winnipeg)
R. A. Davis, Premier of Manitoba from 1874 to 1878, arrived in the Red River Settlement from Quebec in 1870. He bought the Emmerling Hotel and saloon formerly located on this site. Renaming it the Davis House, he expanded it to include a barber shop, billiard hall, and store. A founding member of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, he served as a trustee for the Protestant School Board and on local citizens’ committees.
Elected to the Manitoba Legislature in April 1874, Davis engineered the resignation of the administration of Henry Joseph Clarke. The formation of the new Cabinet under Marc-Amable Girard resulted in the introduction of responsible government in Manitoba. Davis became Premier in December 1874, following Girard’s resignation. He provided moderate and stable government, achieved economic development, obtained better financial terms from Ottawa, and eliminated the provincial debt. Davis resisted Anglo-Canadian agitation for the elimination of the rights accorded French-speaking and Métis residents by the Manitoba Act.
Davis retired from politics in 1878, sold his hotel and moved to Chicago, where he became a prosperous real estate developer. The Davis House was demolished in 1890. It was replaced by the Bank of British North America Building, later known as the Newmac Building. A plaque commemorating Davis was installed in front of the building, in 1997, by the Manitoba Heritage Council.
Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 March 2012
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