Memorable Manitobans: William Hicks Gardner (1875-1951)
Born at Exeter, Devonshire, England on 16 January 1875, he came to Canada at the age of 17 and went directly to Portage la Prairie where he worked at several jobs before moving to Winnipeg in the 1890s, joining Llewelyn Arthur Nares in the real estate firm of Nares and Gardner. In 1899, he left the firm to partner with John Henry Oldfield in forming Oldfield and Gardner (later Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner). During the First World War, he joined the YMCA to deliver news and parcels to military personnel at the front. He was reportedly the only civilian in the trenches. Returning from overseas, he rejoined Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner, rising to becoming its President. He retired from active involvement in the company in 1935.
On 20 June 1895, he married Mary Emma Robertson (1865-1936), a widow with four children (Louise, Steven, Harry, and Victor) who he adopted. They had one additional son, Edward Robertson Gardner (1905-?). He was a founder of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board and was Honorary President of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. He served as President of the Winnipeg Community Chest in the 1930s, and was a member of the Advisory Board for The Winnipeg Foundation. The Salvation Army gave him a medal for meritorious service, and he raised funds for the Grace Hospital Baby’s Day. He was a member of the Masons (Prince Rupert Lodge), Union Club (Victoria, BC), Manitoba Club, Empire Club, Canadian Club, and Blue Bombers Quarterback Club.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 21 Roslyn Road, on 9 January 1951 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Head of real estate firm, William H. Gardner, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 January 1951, page 10.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 October 2020