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.
Billie Saunders was a dentist in Brandon in the 1900s. He and his family lived in the house at 1234 Lorne Ave for many years.
A.J. Sheather built, as well as owned and occupied, the house at 129 15th street. According to early property descriptions, he kept a cow in a stable located on the northeast corner of the lot.
Shillinglaw, Walter Henderson
Walter Henderson Shillinglaw was born near Stratford, Ontario in 1864. In 1882, he moved to Brandon with his parents. Shillinglaw quickly established himself as one of Brandon’s most prominent architects, designing such buildings as the Brandon Central School, the Louise Avenue residence of Dr. Alexander Fleming, and the Nation & Shewan Block. Later in his career, he would design the Federal Building, First Presbyterian Church, Exhibition Display Building II, and Fleming School. In 1906, Shillinglaw was appointed as Brandon’s civic engineer. He served this role until 1910, when he returned to private practice, this time with business partner David Marshall. Shillinglaw also served in the First World War, and was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Throughout his life, he maintained an active position in the community, serving as city alderman for a number of years and playing a major role in the city’s development. Shillinglaw passed away in 1957.
Sifton, Sir Clifford
Clifford Sifton was born in Middlesex County, Ontario in 1861. In 1882, he moved to Brandon to establish his law practice. Sifton was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1888 as Attorney General and Minister of Education. In 1896, he was appointed to the House of Commons as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs. During his time in the federal cabinet, Sifton was instrumental in the promotion of immigration to Western Canada. He resigned from the cabinet in 1905. Sifton was recognized for his achievements in 1915, when he was granted knighthood.
Thomas Sinclair apprenticed as an architect in Scotland before moving to Brandon in 1905. His architectural work in the city included the A.E. McKenzie Building, Fraser Block, Winter Fair Arena, and St. Mary’s Anglican Church. He died in 1913 at only 36 years of age.
Smale, William Isaac
William Isaac Smale moved to Brandon from Carberry in 1910 after he was appointed manager of the Western Agricultural Arts Association. Smale’s duties included organizing Brandon’s summer and winter fairs. He also played a major role in the organization of the 1913 Dominion Fair. Smale resided at 642 14 th Street with his wife, Mary, and their ten children. He died in Brandon in 1924.
Smart, James A.
James Allan Smart was born in Brockville, Ontario in 1858. He arrived in Brandon in 1881 and established a hardware business, which he operated until 1886. In 1882, Smart was elected to serve as alderman on Brandon’s first city council. He was elected mayor in 1885, and would serve a second term in 1895. In 1892, Smart purchased four lots on the north side of 17th St. and Princess Avenue and proceeded to have a large house built on the property. The property also offered a separate servants’ house, a stable, and a wading pool for his children. In 1886, Smart was elected to the Manitoba Legislature as the Minister of Public Works. He was re-elected in 1888, this time serving as Minister of the Interior. James A. Smart died at Montreal in 1942.
E.R. Smiley built the house at 322 14th Street for $2,000. It is one of the few examples of Second Empire style architecture to be found in Brandon.
Smith, John E.
John E. Smith was a well known horse breeder. He had the house at 1036 Louise Ave built in 1906. Family tradition holds that the house was a copy of a relative's home in Brussels, Ontario.
Albert Edward Smith was a political activist on both a local and national scale. From 1913 to 1919, he served as the minister of First Methodist Church. At one time he also served as president of the Manitoba Methodist Conference. Smith’s views were very left-wing and he was a great supporter of the labour movement during the postwar labour crisis. In 1919, his socialist views became too radical for the Methodist congregation, so Smith left to organize the Peoples’ Church, modeled after a labour church in Winnipeg. In 1920 he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature. Two years later, Smith moved to Toronto, where he became president of the Canadian Labour Party in 1924. In 1926 Smith became head of the Canadian Leabour Defence League. He later joined the Communist Party and, in 1934, was charged with sedition but was ultimately acquitted. Smith died in Toronto in 1947.
Dr. Richmond Spencer was a physician, surgeon, and coroner who established his practice in Brandon in 1882. Spencer’s office was located on the corner of 9 th St. and Rosser Avenue. He died of heart disease in 1898 and is buried in the Brandon Cemetery. Richmond Avenue was named in his memory. Spencer’s son, E.A. Spencer, was also a doctor.
Thomas Sullivan designed the house at 318 11th Street for John A. MacDonald.