Memorable Manitobans: William Grassie (1872-1935)
Real estate agent.
Born at Dumfrieshire, Scotland on 27 July 1872, son of William Grassie and Agnes McKerlie, he was educated at Wallace Hall Academy (Dumfrieshire, Scotland). He farmed for some years in Scotland then came to Canada in 1894 and farmed in Ontario, then ranched in Western Canada from 1895 to 1900. He came to Winnipeg in 1900 and founded a real estate business. By 1911, he was Managing Director of the British American Investment Company, located at 221 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg.
In December 1914, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 43rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada. He was mentioned in dispatches for gallant and distinguished conduct on the field, 13 November 1916: London Gazette, 29890; awarded D.S.O., 14 July 1917; London Gazette, 30111. Mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig, General Officer Commanding British Armies in the field. He was brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable service rendered in connection with military operations in the field, 28 December 1917.
On 3 November 1902, he married Margaret Greig (?-1948). They had no children. He served as President of the St. Andrew’s Society (1922-1923), Past Chief of Clan Stewart, Order of Scottish Clans. He was a member of the Carleton Club and United Service Club. Presbyterian. He was President of the Industrial Bureau and Winnipeg Real Estate Exchange (1906). His Winnipeg residence at 53 Harvard Avenue was designed by architect J. H. G. Russell.
He retired to Vancouver, British Columbia around 1925 and he died there on 15 July 1935. He is commemorated by Grassie Boulevard in Winnipeg.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Col. Wm. Grassie, former active Winnipegger, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 July 1935.
“Mrs. William Grassie dies in England,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 January 1948.
We thank Stuart Fisher for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 January 2023