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McNab, Archibald Peter (1864–1945)

Archibald Peter McNab.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B3697

Saskatchewan’s most affable Lieutenant-Governor, Archibald Peter McNab preferred the name “Archie” to more formal vice-regal titles. Born May 29, 1864, in Glengarry, Ontario, McNab and his twin brother Neil moved west to Winnipeg in 1882 before homesteading at Virden, Manitoba. Successive years of Drought forced Archie McNab to give up Farming by 1887, after which he became a grain buyer for Ogilvie Flour Mills. In 1902, he was transferred to Rosthern where he invested in two Grain Elevators. McNab later sold his interest and moved to Saskatoon with his wife and three children. There he established the Dominion Elevator Company and helped found the Saskatchewan Central Railway Company and the Saskatchewan Power Company.

McNab’s political career began in 1908 with his election as Liberal MLA for Saskatoon City. Shortly after, he was named commissioner of Municipal Affairs and, in 1912, minister of Public Works. In addition to overseeing the construction of some of the province’s most notable public buildings, McNab played an instrumental role in acquiring the University of Saskatchewan for Saskatoon. In 1926, he secured a position on the local government board until accusations of impropriety forced his resignation four years later. Although he had been comfortably retired for six years, McNab accepted the vice-regal appointment on September 10, 1936.

During McNab’s two terms as Lieutenant-Governor, the frugal character of Government House reflected the prevailing mood of a province suffering through drought and war. Nevertheless, an appropriate welcome was extended to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their visit to Government House in 1939. McNab also welcomed children to play on the grounds of the vice-regal residence before the CCF government announced the home’s closure in September 1944. The last Lieutenant-Governor to live in Government House, Archibald McNab resigned on February 26, 1945, due to failing health. He died of pneumonia on April 29 of that year.

Holden Stoffel

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Further Reading

Cotcher, Maryanne. 2004. “McNab, Archibald Peter.” P. 163 in Saskatchewan Politicians: Lives Past and Present. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center; Hryniuk, Margaret and Garth Pugh. 1991. “A Tower of Attraction”: An Illustrated History of Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan. Regina: Government House Historical Society/Canadian Plains Research Center.
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