May 22, 2015


Bill Norrie: Mayor 1979-1992

  • Born in St. Boniface in 1929
  • Received his bachelor of arts degree from United College in 1950 and graduated from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law in 1955 and went on to become a Rhodes Scholar
  • Arguably the city’s most popular mayor, Winnipeg voters returned Norrie to office five times and only stopped when he stepped down as mayor after his last term in 1992. His political career culminated in the mayor’s chair but his work started years before that and continued afterward with community service
  • He served as a school trustee and a city councillor before being elected mayor, chalking up 27 years in public office. For that accomplishment and others, he was named to the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba

Some highlights as reviewed in his Citizen’s Hall of Fame and University of Manitoba biographies:

  • 2001: Chancellor University of Manitoba
  • 1995: Inducted into Citizen’s Hall of Fame, with bust by sculptor Leo Mol in Assiniboine Park
  • 1993: Chaired the Jimmy Carter Work Camp blitz that saw 18 homes built in Winnipeg by Habitat for Humanity
  • 1983: Won largest number of votes ever in a mayor’s race in the city of Winnipeg
  • 1980: Honorary L.L.D. degree University of Winnipeg
  • 1977: Appointed as Queen’s Counsel

Some awards included:

In this photo from 1998, Former mayor Bill Norrie stands beside his bronze double, dedicated at the Citizens' Hall of Fame at Assiniboine Park.


In this photo from 1998, Former mayor Bill Norrie stands beside his bronze double, dedicated at the Citizens' Hall of Fame at Assiniboine Park. Photo Store

  • Honorary member of the Carpenter’s Union
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International
  • Named to the Legion of Honour Degree by the Canadian Order of DeMolay
  • Recipient of the Phillippine-Cnaada Friendship Medal of Honour, the Taras Shevchenko Medal of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee and the B’Nai Brith Canadian Humanitarian Award
  • Served 24 years on the University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents
  • Served on numerous boards including the Winnipeg Foundation and the Winnipeg Arts Advisory Council. The University of Manitoba’s building at 485 Selkirk was named in his honour in 2005: the William Norrie Centre

His own family life was marked by tragedy. First in 1992, his son Duncan Norrie was killed at age 34 in a plane crash over Nepal. Then in 2001, his other son Mark died in Bali, age 36.


"Mr. Norrie's dedication to the City of Winnipeg is without question and he has certainly left an indelible mark on several areas of our city including the Exchange District, Chinatown, North Portage and The Forks, to name a few."

-- Citizen’s Hall of Fame


Source: Citizen’s Hall of Fame, website news services, Winnipeg Free Press archives


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