Warden Irvine was born in Quebec in 1837, and followed a very distinguished military career. He obtained a commission as Lieutenant in the Militia in 1864.
He served as Major with the Quebec Rifles during the Red River Expedition to the West in 1870. In 1871 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Provisional Battalion of Rifles in Manitoba. He retired from the military as Lieutenant-Colonel in 1873.
In 1875, he was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.), becoming Commissioner of the Force in 1880. He commanded the N.W.M.P. during the North West Rebellion (Riel Rebellion) of 1885. He resigned from the N.W.M.P. in March, 1886 and became an Indian Agent on the Blood Reserve. He was appointed Warden of Stony Mountain Penitentiary (a.k.a. Manitoba Penitentiary) on October 13, 1892. He was awarded the Imperial Service Order in 1902.
In April 1913, at age 75, he was appointed Warden of Kingston Penitentiary, but appears to have not actually arrived in Kingston until August. Later in 1913, he was elected Vice-President of the American Corrections Association for a one-year term. He served as Warden for one year and four months, retiring from the public service in August of 1914. Warden Irvine died in Quebec on January 9, 1916.