Stephen Juba

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Stephen Juba
Mayor of Winnipeg
In office
Preceded by George Sharpe
Succeeded by Robert Steen
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
In office
Personal details
Born (1914-07-01)July 1, 1914
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Died May 2, 1993(1993-05-02) (aged 78)
Petersfield, Manitoba

Stephen Juba, OC (July 1, 1914 – May 2, 1993) was a Canadian politician. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1953 to 1959,[1] and served as the 37th Mayor of Winnipeg from 1957 to 1977.[2] He was the first Ukrainian Canadian to hold high political office in the city.

Born in Winnipeg[2] to Gregory Juba (1885-1958) and Sophie Nasedyk (1888-1970) who were both born in Ukraine. He married Jennie Brow on April 14, 1946 at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brooklands, Manitoba.[3] They divorced in 1948 on the grounds of adultery on Stephen's part with a woman named Laura Ramsay.[3] There were no children by this marriage.[3] His brother Daniel Harry Juba (1909-1986) was mayor of Brooklands, Manitoba,[4] Juba Street in Brooklands was named after his brother.[4]

Juba left school at age fifteen, when his family could no longer pay for his education. His father, a building contractor, saw his practice decline after the stock market crash of 1929. Juba worked in odd jobs for several years, and also started two small businesses before he was twenty-one: Weston Builders Ltd. and S.N. Juba & Co. These names reflected Juba's gift for self-promotion. Weston Builders Ltd. was not actually an incorporated company; Juba had simply added "Ltd." to its name to make it "look official". In the case of S.N. Juba & Co., he added a fictitious middle initial because he thought it "sounded good". He was largely unsuccessful as a businessman until 1945, when he started a wholesale distributing firm called Keystone Supply Ltd, which would make him wealthy.

Juba's first forays into electoral politics were unsuccessful. He ran as an independent candidate in Winnipeg North Centre in the Canadian federal election of June 1949, against rising CCF star Stanley Knowles.[5] He later acknowledged that had no chance of winning, but entered the race "to gain experience" and "to be educated by an expert". He received only 694 votes, finishing a very distant fourth. In the provincial election of November 1949, Juba ran in the riding of Winnipeg Centre as an Independent Liberal, supporting the coalition government of Douglas L. Campbell. The City of Winnipeg was divided into three provincial constituencies at the time, each of which elected four members by preferential balloting. Juba finished eighth with 1015 votes on the first ballot, and was eliminated on the fourth count.

He ran for the Winnipeg City Council in 1950 and 1952,[2] and came surprisingly close to winning on the second occasion. He challenged Winnipeg mayor Garnet Coulter later in 1952, and received 28,000 votes to Coulter's 38,000 (CCF candidate Donovan Swailes finished third with 22,000). Juba called for reform of the province's liquor laws during this campaign.

With an increased civic profile, Juba ran again as an independent in the 1953 provincial election.[1] He finished second in Winnipeg Centre, and secured election on the eighth count. During this election, Juba called supported racetrack gambling to fund the provincial hospital system.

During his time as an MLA, Juba remained independent of party politics and was not committed to any particular ideology. His primary accomplishment was securing reform for the province's outdated liquor laws.

Juba ran for the mayor's office again in 1954, this time placing second to alderman George Sharpe. He was finally successful in 1956,[2] after a campaign in which he referred to Sharpe as Premier Campbell's "trained seal", and promised to fight harder for the city's fair share of provincial revenues. On election day, Juba received 46,197 votes to Sharpe's 44,266. Most of his support came from the city's ethnically diverse north-end, and his election was seen as a major victory for the city's non-Anglo-Saxon communities. One local newspaper described the result as a "big upset", and provincial CCF leader Lloyd Stinson later called it "a pretty shocking experience for South Winnipeg".

Juba was also re-elected as an MLA in the provincial election of 1958,[1] this time defeating CCF candidate Art Coulter in the redistributed, single-member riding of Logan. He did not seek re-election again in 1959, choosing to concentrate on his responsibilities at city hall. The first city in North America to use a central emergency number (in 1959) was the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, which instituted the change at the urging of Stephen Juba, mayor of Winnipeg at the time. (In 1966, Juba considered running in the provincial riding of Inkster against New Democrat Len Stevens, but withdrew after Sidney Green replaced Stevens as the NDP candidate.)

Juba was an extremely flamboyant mayor, and was highly skilled at using the media to win support for his causes. He was a strong promoter of Winnipeg on the world stage: in 1967, he oversaw the Pan-American Games in the city. Though he presented himself as a spokesman for marginalized groups in the city's north end, he was not a social democrat, and often had a difficult relationship with the provincial CCF and its successor, the NDP. Some have referred to him as a "pro-business populist".

Juba supported the amalgamation of Winnipeg during the late 1960s, and convinced the government of Edward Schreyer to grant direct mayoral elections in the unified city (Schreyer had initially favoured a parliamentary model of government, in which the elected councillors would choose a mayor from among themselves.) Not surprisingly, Juba himself became the first mayor of the unified city in 1971. He was opposed by the city's right-wing Independent Citizens' Election Committee during the 1970s, and frequently clashed with ICEC leader and Deputy Mayor Bernie Wolfe. Notwithstanding this, he also endorsed a variety of urban development projects that were promoted by ICEC leaders.

While Juba was usually an ally of NDP Premier Edward Schreyer in the 1970s, he also frequently clashed with ministers such as Russell Doern over the allocation of provincial resources. In 1977, he campaigned against NDP candidates in the number of Winnipeg ridings.

He was initially a candidate for re-election in the mayoral election of 1977, but unexpectedly withdrew at the last moment. Most suspect that he timed his departure to prevent Wolfe from succeeding him in 1980. ICEC opponent Robert Steen was able to win a narrow victory in the election which followed, primarily with support from Juba's north-end base.

Juba made another unexpected foray into electoral politics in the provincial election of 1981, running as an independent candidate in his old riding of Logan. He was resoundingly defeated by NDP candidate Maureen Hemphill, and did not attempt any further comebacks after this.

The Stephen Juba Park was opened in Winnipeg in 1984. In 1986, Michael Czuboka published Juba, a biography of the former mayor.[2]

In 1970, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[2]

Juba died at home in Petersfield at the age of 78.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "MLA Biographies - Deceased". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Stephen Juba (1914-1993)". Memorable Manitobans. Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b c Archives of Manitoba divorce ATG0009/GR113/E-11-6-19 FILE 296 OF 1948
  4. ^ a b Goldsborough, Gordon. "Memorable Manitobans: Daniel Harry Juba (1909-1986)". Retrieved 2015-09-25. 
  5. ^ "Winnipeg North Centre, Manitoba (1924 - 1996)". History of Federal Ridings since 1867. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 

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