The history of Brandon is full of interesting people who have helped to shape the city as we know it today. Use the links below to explore the names from Brandon's past.
Daly, Thomas Mayne
Thomas Mayne Daly was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1852, and arrived in Brandon in 1881, setting up practice as Brandon’s first lawyer. In 1882, he was elected as Brandon’s first mayor. He was elected again in 1884. During these terms, Daly actively promoted the development of the young city. Daly became a member of the Manitoba Legislature in 1887, representing Selkirk. In 1892, Daly became the first federal Cabinet Minister from Manitoba when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs. As a firm advocate of western settlement, Daly introduced the North West Immigration Act in 1893. He retired from federal politics in 1896. In 1908, he ran for Brandon MP as a member of the Conservative party, but was defeated by Liberal candidate Clifford Sifton. Daly was appointed Canada’s first juvenile court judge in 1909. He died in Winnipeg in 1911.
Darrach, Sarah Persis Johnson
Sarah Persis Johnson was born in Ireland in 1886 and arrived in Manitoba with her family in 1898. In 1908, she entered the nursing program at the Brandon General Hospital. She completed her postgraduate training in Chicago before returning to Brandon to become the hospital’s Assistant Matron. When WWI broke out in 1914, Sarah travelled overseas where she worked in field hospitals in France and war hospitals in England. She was recognized for her service when she received both the First and Second Classes of the Royal Red Cross. The former was bestowed upon her by the Prince of Wales in 1919.
Upon returning to Brandon, she resumed work at the Brandon General Hospital, this time as Fourth Superintendent. In 1920, she married Robert Darrach. Together, the couple operated a camp for disadvantaged children at Lake Clementi for more than ten years. Sarah received the Order of the British Empire in 1934 for her outstanding community service work.
From 1939 to 1953, Darrach served as Dean of Women at Brandon College. She is now commemorated by Darrach Hall at the university.
In 1967, Darrach was awarded the Centennial Medal. She passed away in 1974. The city’s Darrach Avenue was named in her honour.
George Dinsdale’s first political experience came in 1918 when he was voted in as city councilor. In 1920, he was elected Mayor. During his mayoral term, Dinsdale advocated high cost additions to City Hall. Dinsdale won the 1932 provincial election for Brandon as a member of the Conservative party. He was nominated in the federal election of 1938, but was ineligible due to a contract that his company held, and then due to poor health. His death on September 21, 1943 caused a provincial by-election.
Doig, George F.
Originally from Toronto, George F. Doig, along with John M. Robertson, purchased the mercantile holdings of Isaiah R. Strome in 1906. On January 17, 1916, with the company now referred to as Doig, Rankin & Robertson, it was burned to the ground in a fire that claimed the lives of four employees. The firm subsequently relocated to Tenth Street, and was renamed Doig and Robertson. In 1926, this partnership finally ended, and it simply became known as “The Doig Store”.
Donaldson, J. "Cam"
J. Donaldson was born in Brandon in 1891, a member of what was considered an early pioneering family. He spent his younger years working across Canada for companies such as Burns and the Hudson Bay Company. He returned to Brandon in 1936 and reopened the failed family meat business. In 1937 he purchased the Brandon Creamery Ltd. packing plant, which became the Brandon Packers warehouse in 1940. By 1949, it was one of Brandon’s largest businesses, employing 165+ people, and contributing $4 million annually to the local economy. During his time in Brandon Donaldson served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, the Brandon General Hospital Board of Directors, and was President of the Provincial Exhibition Board. In 1949 he ran in the provincial election as the Progressive Conservative candidate, winning easily. He retired two years later, saying that he was personally unrewarded by politics.
William Dorsey moved to Manitoba from Tecumseh County, Ontario in 1883. He was a successful
farmer in the Methven area for nearly twenty-five years before moving to Brandon as director of the Wawanesa Insurance Co.’s Brandon branch. Previously, Dorsey had been selected as the
company’s first president. William Dorsey passed away in 1911.