Memorable Manitobans: Donald Aynsley Ross (1877-1956)
Civil engineer, architect.
Born at Winnipeg on 26 September 1877, son of lawyer Arthur Wellington Ross and Jessie Florence Cattanach (?-?), he attended Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto from which he graduated with a BA in 1898. He received his engineering degree from the School of Practical Science in Toronto and then became a mining engineer in British Columbia.
He worked as rodman with the Canadian Pacific Railway in an 1897 survey of the Crow’s Nest Pass. From 1900 to 1906, he was a locating engineer for the Canadian Northern Railway. It was at this position that Ross oversaw the construction of the Pinawa Channel Dam on the Winnipeg River.
In 1906, he formed a partnership with Ralph Benjamin Pratt. Together they were responsible for the design of numerous buildings around Winnipeg. He supervised several stations for the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. In 1906, he married Maude Elizabeth Dwight (?-?) of Toronto. They had one son. He was a member of the AF & AM and Presbyterian church. In 1912, he built a large, brick home on Wellington Crescent.
He died at Winnipeg on 1 April 1956 and was buried in Old Kildonan Cemetery. He was commemorated by Aynsley Street in Winnipeg.
Some of his sole architectural works in Manitoba included:
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.
“Winnipeg architect dies at 78,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 April 1956, page 5.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 September 2022