1874-1956

Nominated in: 1993
Nominated by: Dr. M. McCallister on behalf of the Portage la Prairie Exhibition Association

Andrew (Andy) Forsythe, born in Peterborough, Ontario, was twenty-one when he moved to High Bluff and started a lumber and grain business. He and Maude (nee Clarke) raised a family of five children.

His concerns on building and running 14 grain elevators were the centre of many new innovations. He was the first owner to put in up-to-date cleaning equipment in an elevator west of Winnipeg, and in 1902 he installed the first dryer west of the Lakehead. He introduced a new and fairer procedure to determine and allow for dockage. Even his action of paying farmers “spot” prices for wheat rather than “street” prices forced other elevators to follow this more just practice and added millions of dollars to the well being of the western farmer.

Mr. Forsythe was determined not to allow “big business” or “government” dictate to him or his friends. Andy retaliated against the CPR for blocking the “right-of-way” for long intervals of time. He blocked the passage of the train. Despite being threatened with a lawsuit, he had enough information about the situation that the Railway Company did not press the case. The change brought about on crossings is still in effect today. On another occasion, he and his lawyer friend, Arthur Meighen, won a case against the government. More money was demanded for a car license that he had bought earlier in the year. All people who had paid the additional premium were reimbursed.

Locally, he played a very important role. Although he did not regularly attend church, he was well known and respected by the clergy as an intelligent, well read, interesting host. As a sport enthusiast, he contributed to the local teams’ expenses. The players appreciated his support. By driving local councillors in his car through the swamp countryside, he proved that a road to Delta Beach could and should be built. During the 30s, he donated coal to heat the financially strapped Portage General Hospital.

Although Andy has been gone for some years, he is still remembered as a strong supporter of the improvement of the community, province, and the situation of his friends.

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