Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Mayne Daly (1852-1911)
Lawyer, Mayor of Brandon (1882, 1884), MP (1887-1891), MP (1891-1896), judge.
Born in Stratford, Canada West (now Ontario) on 16 August 1852, the second son of Thomas Mayne Daly and Helen, daughter of Peter Ferguson. He was educated at Upper Canada College and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1876. He came to Brandon in 1881 and established a law practice with George R. Caldwell. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba and was a member of the founding Governors for the Brandon General Hospital, in 1882. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1890.
Daly was Brandon’s first Mayor, elected in 1882 and was re-elected in 1884. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1887, as Conservative member for Selkirk constituency, and was re-elected in the 1891 general election and an 1892 by-election. He served as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Indian Affairs from 1892 to 1896. He strongly supported western settlement, and introduced in 1893 the North West Immigration Act. A supporter of Mackenzie Bowell, he was left out of the cabinet in the reshuffle that accompanied Charles Tupper’s assumption of the prime minister’s position in 1896. In 1896 he went to England and France to make arrangements for re-organization of government policy on immigration. While in England he served as a delegate to the Third Commercial Congress held in London.
Rather than run in the 1896 election, he removed briefly to Rossland, British Columbia. He soon returned to Manitoba, came to Winnipeg in 1902, and in 1903 formed a law partnership with J. M. Crichton, later the firm of Daly, Crichton, McClure and Cohen. He was appointed a Police Magistrate in 1904. He contested the Brandon seat in 1908 and was defeated by Clifford Sifton and the Liberals by 69 votes. When the Juvenile Court was organized in 1909 he became its first Judge.
In 1879, he married Margaret Annabella [Arabella?] Jarvis (?-?), daughter of P. R. Jarvis of Stratford. They had two children. He was a founding member of the St. Charles Country Club, in 1905. He wrote The Canadian Spirit of the Northwest (1907), Canadian Criminal Procedure (1911), and The Magistrate’s Manual (1911).
He died at his Winnipeg residence, 901 Dorchester Avenue, on 24 June 1911 and was buried at Stratford, Ontario. At the time of his death it was said—“a fitting memorial is the new Children’s Hospital for whose existence the late [Judge] Daly was largely responsible.” He is commemorated by Daly Street in Winnipeg, Daly Crescent in Brandon, and the Rural Municipality of Daly in Manitoba. His Brandon home is operated as Daly House Museum.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
“Public funeral will be given late Hon. T. M. Daly; body in state in city hall,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 June 1911, page 1.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 26 February 2022