A City Builder and Philanthropist
Edward Lancaster Drewry was chosen in the historic category (major contributions made up until 1950). He was a prominent individual inextricably linked to the progress and growth of Winnipeg in its formative years. The Bishop of Rupert’s Land, His Grace M.T.M. Harding when reflecting on Edward Drewry’s life said, “He was a part of the life of the community. No philanthropy, no education institution, no cause that benefited the people of Winnipeg ever lacked his support.” Another great tribute came from a Winnipeg Tribune editorial. It spoke of Drewry’s unwavering commitment to Winnipeg’s future prosperity and his keen interest in supporting the community.
Drewry’s active involvement in commercial activity and public affairs would benefit citizens for years to come. He took over the operation of Redwood Brewery in 1877. It soon become Drewry Ltd. and was a large employer recognized throughout Western Canada for its lagers and ales. Drewry was a director of the Union Bank for 22 years, an active member of the Grain Exchange and President of the Board of Trade in 1899.
His public service included serving on City Council from 1883 to 1884, being an MLA from North Winnipeg from 1886 to 1889 and chairing Winnipeg’s Public Parks Board from 1894 to 1899. During this time as Chair of the Public Parks Board, a number of parks were established. This included a decision to build a large suburban park that eventually came to be Assiniboine Park. There was also commitment made to plant elm trees throughout the city.
While on City Council, the first public street lighting was initiated as well as block pavement on city streets. Drewry was active in charitable organizations and amateur athletics. He served as member of the board of the Winnipeg General Hospital for more than 40 years and was honorary president at his death.