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Ashdown Family Leaves Unique Legacy for UWinnipeg Employees

The University of Winnipeg Foundation


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The Honourable Judge Philip Langlois Ashdown

In September 2018, The University of Winnipeg received the first disbursement from the Allison and Philip Ashdown Fund held at the Winnipeg Foundation.  The unique and forward thinking gift assists UWinnipeg employees with disabilities.  It provides resources on an annual basis to purchase office and/or equipment modifications, to create an accommodating and accessible environment.

The fund was established by the Honourable Judge Philip Langlois Ashdown and his wife Allison.  Since Judge Ashdown’s passing on June 28, 2018, the fund has been thoughtfully stewarded by daughter Barbara Myers.  Barbara and her father’s personal connection to those with disabilities drove their decision making.  As an Urban Planner, Barbara’s professional insight into the challenges facing employers wishing to do better and employees with disabilities, offered further motivation for the gift. Their intention was to further position UWinnipeg as a leader in the community and provide the means to make a tangible difference to employees with disabilities.

“This fund allows the University to demonstrate to employees its commitment to providing thoughtful and accommodating work environments where all employees can thrive” says Barbara.

The Ashdown family has a rich history in Manitoba, including a long time connection to UWinnipeg.  Ashdown Hall, which was constructed as part of the expansion of the former United College, was named to honour the family and their generous commitment of time, talent and financial support.

Barbara Myers
Barbara Myers

James Henry Ashdown, an entrepreneur and former Mayor of Winnipeg, who established J.H. Ashdown Hardware Co. Ltd., was chairman of the board of Wesley College from 1907 to 1924.  He also made a substantial gift to Wesley College in 1909.  His son Harry C. Ashdown was a long-time board member and in 1950 laid the cornerstone for Ashdown Hall. Grace Langlois Ashdown, wife of Harry C. Ashdown, was a long time donor to United College and The Collegiate funding entrance scholarships for many years.

The familial relationship with the institution continued into the next generation with grandson Judge Philip Langlois Ashdown studying at United College.  In 1999, Judge Ashdown made a significant donation to the University’s library, specifically to support and extend the Ashdown Collection of Canadiana.

Daughter Barbara is a graduate of Collegiate and was the winner of the Grace Langlois Memorial Entrance Scholarship in 1973.  Her husband John and daughter Norah Myers attended UWinnipeg.  Barbara and John’s son David is also a graduate of the Collegiate.