Major Villiers Sankey was born at Brookeboro, County Fermanagh, Ireland, October 3, 1854. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, and in 1872 passed his examinations for the India Civil Service.
On coming to Canada he entered the firm of Wadsworth, Unwin & Brown, afterwards becoming a partner. Major Sankey, who laid out the new rifle ranges in Toronto, was an authority on military matters, and supplied the Government with special maps, particularly of the Toronto and Niagara districts.
On December 24th, 1888 Sankey received the appointment of City Surveyor for Toronto. In 1890-91 he served as the President of the Association of Provincial Land Surveyors of Ontario. He resigned as City Surveyor on January 20, 1905. On July 10 of that year, he drowned while engaged in engineering work near Kenora.
Villiers Street, just north of Commissioners Street in the Portlands area of Toronto, was named after him.
Sankey had 5 daughters and 2 sons [1891 Census]. During the First World War, his son Nisbett served in the 32nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Captain. His youngest son, Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. Sankey would command the 3rd Battalion (CASF) , Queen’s Own Rifles during the Second World War (May 21, 1942 to Aug 15th 1943.)
- 26 December 1879 – 2nd Lieutenant (Provisional)
- 28 January 1880 – Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant
- 26 November 1880 – Lieutenant
- 1881 – Organized the new regimental Signal Corps
- 22 December 1882 – Captain
- 27 September 1889 – Major
- 13 April 1895 – Retired