Member Biography

Samuel Ebenezer McColl

(1886.07.17 – 1940.01.26)
Commission #068


Samuel E. McColl, director of provincial surveys since 1930, died at 4 a.m. today at the 'Winnipeg General Hospital after a long illness. He had been in ailing health the last two years and about mid-November was forced to give up his work. He was taken to the hospital Nov.26.1939.

Mr.McColl was 53 years of age. He came from a family whose members spent their lives on the Western Plains, either exploring or charting its unsettled areas. He himself spent most of hie days in the surveying business and in recent years had directed the work of special, original, end retracement surveys undertaken by the department of natural resources.

One of his special tasks was the retracement surveys of the old parish lots along the Red and Assiniboine rivers, a work started 17 years ago and in the last six years carried on under Mr. McColl's supervision. Last year his department completed this work, in the parishes of St. Francois Xavier and Baie St.Paul. Previously it had been done in the parishes of St. Agathe, St. Norbert, St.Vital, Headingly, and Kildonan.

Mr.McColl vas born in Winnipeg, July 17,1886. His father, Ebenezer McColl, was inspector of Indian Agencies in Manitoba during early days of the province. He attended public school in Winnipeg and later the old Central Collegiate on William Ave. Entering Manitoba University in 1803 he graduated in Arts in 1907 and was medalist in physics and mathematics..

In 1908 and 1909 he took post-graduate course in engineering and then obtained hie commission as a Manitoba land surveyor. He was commissioned a Dominion land surveyor in 1911, and in Saskatchewan in 1920.

For 18 years, from 1912 until his appointment as director of provincial surveys, Mr. McColl was in private practice, most of the time in partnership with his brother, G.B. McColl, also a Dominion and Manitoba land surveyor. One of his special jobs was the survey of the Greater Winnipeg Water District line.

He surveyed various road, railway and Drainage lines, and a number of the transmission line routes of the Winnipeg Electric Co. and its subsidiaries.

When he was appointed in the government service his first responsibility was to organize his department. He proceeded to more accurately locate the old base lines and determine new ones, a work which has been a great help in promoting the province's mining development. One of the most recent projects of this type was the start in locating the 23rd base line from the tip of the principal meridian, west to the Saskatchewan boundary. The principal meridian survey, started in 1869, was never extended beyond a point about 500 miles north of Winnipeg. A survey party left in early January to run the base through uncharted country west to the Saskatchewan boundary.

He enlisted for war service in 1917 as a lieutenant in the Canadian engineers. He served in England for two years and was released from military service in 1919, returning to Winnipeg and continuing his business.

As director of surveys Mr. McColl was boundary commissioner for Manitoba. During his service with the government he directed surveys to determine provincial boundaries both on the Ontario and Saskatchewan sides in those northern districts which ware opened up by mining developments.

As new defined areas were added to the province new maps were necessary. One of the most complete maps of the province was published by his department and last year there was a special revised edition.

Mr. McColl was a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba and an associate member of the Engineering Institute of Canada. He was president of the Manitoba Land Surveyors' association in 1928,1929 and 1930.

In his last year of office the association celebrating its 50th.anniversary. For many years he was secretary of the Old Timers' association. He was an active member of the Kinsmen club, and of the Winnipeg Swimming club.

He was a member of the provincial land board, the mining board, and since 1935 a member of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Mr.McColl was unmarried. One brother G.B.McColl, and five sisters survive. Two sisters are Mary and Flora McColl, with whom he lived at 178 Langside St. The others are Mrs. John Crichton, St.Vital, Mrs. James Black, and Mrs. R.Simister, both of Winnipeg.

The funeral will be at 3.45 p.m. Saturday from Gardiner's undertaking parlors. Dr. A.B. Baird, an old friend of the family, will conduct the service. Burial will be in Brookside cemetery. The pallbearers will be members of the provincial civil service: C.H. Attwood, A.G. Cunningham , George E.Cole, R.F. Gyles, R.E. Bereeford and. Col. H.I. Stevenson.

There was also a good portrait of Mr.McColl, and under it the caption:

DIES: Director of provincial surveys since 1430, SAMUEL E. McCOLL, 53, died early today in the General hospital. The funeral service will be held Saturday at 3.45 in Gardiner's chapel.

From “The Winnipeg Tribune” January 26, 1940