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MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Dominion City Brick Company

A directory of brick-making in Manitoba

A directory of block-making in Manitoba

People involved in brick and block-making in Manitoba

A glossary of terms relating to bricks and blocks

On 26 July 1882, the Dominion City Brick Company (DCBC) Limited received its charter of incorporation via Letters Patent under the Manitoba Joint Stock Companies Act. The venture was founded by the Halifax-based partnership of contractor Samuel Manners Brookfield, merchant Thomas Edward Kearny, merchant John Smith McClean, merchant John Doull, merchant Jeremiah Francis Kearny, and banker William Levi Lowell along with two Winnipeg-based merchants: Charles Grishue? and Aubrey Timothy Smith. Brookfield was making a name for himself at this time in Winnipeg alongside his associate, James G. McDonald, who was otherwise known as “The King of Contractors.”

The DCBC established a base of operations at Dominion City and held an initial capital stock of $40,000. The firm acquired a ten-acre site on the north bank of the Roseau River in NE20-2-3E and employed 75 workers to clear the site. The buildings erected on the property included an office, stables, and a large boarding house. It was said that the yard site looked like a small village and had the potential to employ 300 men. The yard site was operating by late June 1882, using a 65-horsepower engine and two Penfold brick machines. The brick they produced was light-red in colour and was formed using a dry-press method.

The clay was graded as first-class material when sent away to England, which allowed the firm to increase its capitalization from $100,000 to $150,000 by December 1882. In 1883, they installed five new brick-making machines and Canadian Pacific Railway ran two spur tracks into the yard site to allow for easy transport. Bricks from the company were used in the construction of the Winnipeg City Hall (1883-1886).

The DCBC operated into 1884, employing around 150 workers per season, but was not as profitable as hoped. With losses mounting, operations were suspended. By September 1885, its assets and remaining stock (including some 300,000 bricks) were being sold by a bank-appointed agent. A lawsuit was filed against the company by a Mr. Waddell, claiming breach of agreement, on the grounds that the property on which the company operated was to be granted only if the venture operated for three full years. The legal proceedings were concluded in the late 1880s.

The company's charter was cancelled in July 1911.


“City and Provincial [Dominion City],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 21 June 1882, page 3.

“City and Province [Emerson],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 11 April 1883, page 2.

“Manitoba Brick,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 8 August 1883, page 5.

“City and Province [Emerson],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 25 December 1882, page 2.

“Bricks, lumber etc. [ad],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 24 September 1885, page 4.

“Legal intelligence,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 13 July 1887, page 13.

“Legal intelligence,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 7 October 1887, page 4.

“The full court,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 29 November 1887, page 3.

Legal Judicial History Collection, A1107 - Waddell v. Dominion City Brick Company, Archives of Manitoba.

Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 5D - Dominion City Brick Company Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.

Manitoba Brick Yards by Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch Report, May 2010.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2020

Leary Brickworks

Manitoba Bricks and Blocks

A history of the manufacture of bricks and concrete blocks in Manitoba, based on research by Randy Rostecki for the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch and supplemented by information compiled by Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society. .

Bricks | Blocks | People | Glossary

We thank Hugh Arklie, Gordon McDiarmid, and Heather Bertnick for their help in the development of this online guide. Financial support of the Thomas Sill Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. Additional information was provided by Ina Bramadat, David Butterfield, Neil Christoffersen, Frank Korvemaker, Ed Ledohowski, Ken Storie, Lynette Stow, and Tracey Winthrop-Meyers.

© 2010-2020
Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, Gordon Goldsborough, and Manitoba Historical Society.
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