Former Premier Duff Roblin, who served as Manitoba premier from 1958 to 1967, was instrumental in the construction of the Red River Floodway, or Duff’s Ditch as it is affectionately known. He had also been appointed to the Upper House in 1978 by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
The $63-million Red River Floodway, completed in 1961, was designed to prevent major flooding in the city, which had been a problem in past years, and was typified by the historic 1950 flood. Since its inception, the floodway has saved taxpayers millions of dollars in potential damages.
Roblin was born and raised in Winnipeg. He received his political motivation by being the grandson of former Manitoba Premier Sir Redmond Roblin (1900 – 1915).
After returning from the Second World War, where he had served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Roblin joined the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party and won a seat in the Manitoba Legislature in 1949.
He became leader of the Tories in 1954, and set out to change the political and economic paralysis that had plagued the province after years of coalition governments.
He rebuilt the Conservative Party and along the way gained a reputation for political integrity and leadership.
As premier, he increased the spending on education and health facilities, provided funding for road construction and harnessed the Nelson River for hydro-electric power.
He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1978.