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Manitoba Communities: Brooklands (Unincorporated Town)

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In the early 1900s Brooklands was a working-class enclave centred around Notre Dame Avenue and Keewatin Street, part of the Municipality of Rosser. Most of the residents were employed by the CPR’s Weston yards and shop. Between 1906 and 1911, Brooklands grew from 250 people to 800 and took on many of the trappings of an independent village. There was a constantly expanding school, it made up its own district on the Rosser municipal council and it had an active Ratepayers Association. Brooklands also fielded successful teams in various municipal and provincial sports leagues. In 1909 the district’s relationship with Rosser grew tense over the lack of basic services such as sewer and water hookup to its approximately 250 homes. The Ratepayers Association threatened to seek independence or amalgamate with neighbouring Winnipeg, but nothing came of it.

In the spring of 1921 the Brooklands Ratepayers Association and the Brooklands and District Labour Party led another campaign for independence. A formal request was made to the province and the first village election was held in July. George R. Brown became the first Mayor. During the 1920s and 1930s, offices for the municipality were located in Cressey School.

The area was hit hard during disease epidemics and economic downturns. In 1915 a relief camp operated in the Brooklands area for its 120 or so unemployed. During the Depression, 75% of its men were out of work. In 1932 the village went bankrupt and the province had to appoint a third party manager to run its affairs until 1944. Brooklands struggled to provide basic services like sewer and water and its council was regularly embroiled in political turmoil and infighting. The once-promising community ended up an underfunded, industrial enclave on the edge of two growing cities.

Present Status

City of Winnipeg (1 January 1972)

Incorporation History

Town of Brooklands (1961)
Amalgamation of Brooklands and St. James (1967)
Amalgamation of Assiniboia, Brooklands, Charleswood, East Kildonan, Fort Garry, North Kildonan, Old Kildonan, St. Boniface, St. James, St. Vital, Transcona, Tuxedo, West Kildonan, and Winnipeg (1 January 1972)

Land Area (square km)

?

Population

Year

Total

1931

2462

1936

2246

1941

2240

1946

2728

1951

2915

1956

3941

1961

4369

1966

4181

Mayors

Term

Mayor

1922-1923

George Raymond Alexander Brown (1897-1968)

1924-1925

John Haddow (1855-1932)

1926-1930

John McLean (c1886-1953)

1931

William Leask (1910-1999)

1931-1944

John Reeves (1887-1964) [Manager]

1944-1950

Crispin Oddy (1881-1972)

1951

Nicholas Solilak (1915-1991)

1952-1953

Stanley V. Bowers (1906-1997)

1954-1955

Daniel Harry Juba (1909-1986)

1956-1957

Walter Bannister (1920-1996)

1958-1959

Harry Stiller

1960-1966

Walter Bannister (1920-1996)

1967

Merged into St. James

Sources:

“Brooklands seeks union,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 December 1909, page 3.

“Town develops on western limit,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 November 1910, page 32.

“Brooklands relief camp,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 February 1915, page 14.

“Brooklands ratepayers to let labor party represent them,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 March 1921, page 3.

“Planned merger stirs St. James,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 April 1966, page 29.

“Mayor explains proposed merger of St. James and Brooklands,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 March 1966, page 13.

“The end of the year is the end of Brooklands,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1966, page 7.

“Identity won’t be lost in St. James-Assiniboia,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1971, page 19.

A Short History of Brooklands Elementary Schools including Woodsworth, Cressey, Krawchyk, Butterworth, St. James Assiniboia School Division.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Christian Cassidy.

Page revised: 4 July 2017

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