Dr. Frank Leith Skinner (M.B.E., L.L.D.) came from Scotland as a boy and settled with his parents on a homestead near Dropmore, Manitoba.
In 1900, Frank filed on a homestead of his own and while raising grain and cattle, he soon responded to his favourite hobby, horticulture, and in 1910 he established what became widely known as Skinners Nursery, Dropmore, Manitoba. Even though he went no further than Grade 8 in school, he became a renowned, self-educated botanist and horticulturist. At his own expense, he traveled almost worldwide in search of hardy trees, shrubs and flowers. These, when crossed with native Prairie species gave Western Canada in particular 12 new species of trees, 88 species of shrubs and over 130 species of herbaceous perennials. One outstanding introduction was Dropmore Elm which he developed from seed collected in Siberia.
In 1923, he was awarded the Cory Cup at the Royal Agricultural Show, London, England for a new hybrid lily judged to be the best hardy plant introduction of the year.
In 1943, the Minnesota Horticultural Society awarded him their highest honour, the Bronze Medal. A citation that same year from the North American Horticultural Council applauded him as the Luther Burbank of Canada.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to horticulture, he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1943 and an honorary L.L.D. from the University of Manitoba in 1947. And in 1971, the Skinner Memorial Library at the University of Manitoba was dedicated in his honour.