The life and career of W. Sanford Evans, 1869-1949

Thumbnail Image
Milne, Brad
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
W. Sanford Evans was born on December 18, 1869, at Spencerville, Ontario. A graduate of Columbia University, his early years were marked by success as a philanthropist, journalist, platform performer and lecturer for the Society of Ethical Culture in New York. Beginning in 1892, at the age of 23, he was a leading force behind the creation and growth of the Canadian Club movement. Years later he was one of the first to advocate publicly the need for an independent Canadian navy and a Department of External Affairs. After moving to Winnipeg in 1901, Evans quickly established himself as a member of the city's business and social elite. In addition to success as managing editor/owner of the Winnipeg Telegram, the Canadian Club pioneer branched out in 1905 and started his own brokerage and investment concern. Throughout his business career, Evans served on more than 40 sub-groups and committees of several boosting organizations and he sat on the executive board of numerous prominent corporations including the Bank of Montreal and the Sovereign Life Assurance Company. After a one year term on the Winnipeg Board of Control in 1908, Evans was elected to three consecutive terms as mayor between 1909 and 1911. From the civic field, he turned his attention towards provincial politics, representing Winnipeg as a Conservative in the Manitoba Legislature from 1922 to 1936. As the party's chief financial critic for fourteen years and leader of the opposition between 1933 and 1936, Evans earned a reputation as a Tory heavy-weight. Through his efforts on four royal commissions and the work of his successful and innovative statistical service, established in 1921, Evans became recognized as western Canada's leading statistician and an expert on the grain trade. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)