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Benjamin Massey was born in 1896. At 22 years old he enlisted in the Canadian Army during World War I. He was a solider in the 34th Fort Garry Horse regiment and spent 15 months overseas. At some point in his early life, he was employed on the C.G.S. Bradbury, however, the exact dates of his employment are unknown.

Black and white portrait of Ben Massey in 1918
Ben Massey, c1918, Massey Family

Following the war, in 1920 he married Catherine Slater in Winnipeg and found work in 1921 at the Selkirk Hospital for Mental Diseases (now Selkirk Mental Health Centre). He worked as the farm manager at the hospital for forty years until he retired in 1961.

Black and white picture of Ben Massey drives for the Selkirk hospital in 1920
Ben Massey, Farm Foreman Drives in the Selkirk Hospital For Mental Diseases Entry in the Selkirk Parade, 1920, Selkirk Mental Health Centre Archives

Mayor Massey

His career in politics began as a councillor from 1938-1944. In 1958, he became the mayor, a position he maintained until 1965. During his time in office, he opened Rotary Lake along with Rotary President, George Sigurdson in 1958. Additionally, he officially opened Selkirk Lanes in 1961. At his 50th wedding anniversary celebration he was presented with prestigious award naming him as an “Honorary Mayor and Citizen.”

newspaper article titled rotary give artificial lake to town of Selkirk
Rotary Give Artificial Lake To Town of Selkirk, 1958, Selkirk Enterprise

Massey was very active in community affairs, as he was President of the Agricultural Society, acting Chairman of the first Selkirk Fair Board, President the Selkirk Co-op Elevator Association, and the Holstein Friesian Association. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he was the Chairman of the Selkirk 75th Anniversary Committee.

Benjamin Massey Collection


Red River Ancestry – Massey John Edward

Selkirk Enterprise 1958, 1961, 1962, 1970