Memorable Manitobans: Andrew Taylor (1907-1993)
Born at Edinburgh, Scotland in 1907, he received a degree in engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1931. Two years later, he moved to Flin Flon to become the town engineer. It was here that Taylor met his future wife, Martha Jane Porter (?-1963), whom he married on 12 September 1939. After her death, he married Pauline Hanson (?-1979).
With the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Canadian Army and travelled to the United Kingdom. However, in 1943 he was transferred from the Canadian Army to the British Navy as part of a secret mission. He sailed to the Antarctic, where he remained for two years. Recruited because of his cold weather surveying experience, Taylor later became leader of the expedition. In 1946, on his return from the Antarctic, he received a promotion to Major and an Ottawa posting in the Canadian Army.
In 1950, he enrolled at the Institute of Geography at the University of Montreal. There, he undertook and completed the required course work for MA and PhD degrees. Following the year in Montreal, he returned to the Directorate of Engineer Development in Ottawa, where he worked on cold weather testing of military equipment in close cooperation with the US Corp of Engineers. In conjunction with this work, Taylor developed an expertise in the compaction of snow for employment in roads, airstrips, and other high pressure uses. He retired from the Army in October 1952 and struck out as a private research contractor, receiving contracts from the US Navy to produce what ultimately developed into his PhD dissertation. In 1956 he was awarded a second contract, this time from the US Air Force as an assistant project engineer, working out of Churchill. He was responsible for the preparation of DEW Line station layouts.
With the completion of his American contracts, Taylor found himself preparing feasibility reports for mining companies. From here, he opened his own engineering consulting firm, based in Ottawa and Winnipeg. His final professional endeavour was that of joint proprietor of Winnipeg’s Antiquarian Book and Art Gallery. He was inducted into the Order of Canada (1986) and he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba (1991).
He died at Winnipeg on 8 October 1993 and was buried at Ottawa, Ontario. His papers are in the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Marriage registration [Martha Jane Porter, Andrew Taylor], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 October 1993, page 34.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 November 2022