MHS Centennial Organization: Manitoba Beekeepers’ Association

On 28 January 1903, a notice was made that:

"At a recent meeting of gentlemen interested in Bee-keeping it was decided to organize a "Manitoba Bee-Keepers' Association," and a meeting will accordingly be held at Winnipeg on the 24th of February for that purpose.

The committee in charge of the arrangements is as follows:

S. A. Bedford, Supt. Experimental Farm, Brandon; J. J. Gunn, Gonor, Man.; James Duncan, Roseau, Man., and the undersigned.

The organization meeting will be held in the office of the Live Stock Associations, Room 48 Merchants Bank Building, Winnipeg, at 3 p.m. Tuesdsay, February 24th, 1903.

Arrangements have been made for reduced railway rates for the occasion. Persons attending the meeting will purchase ordinary tikets to Winnipeg, and secure Standard Certificates from the ticket agent at starting point. These will be signed by the Secretary of the Association, and will entitle those who become members to free return ticket from Winnipeg.

With the object of securing the co-operation of every one interested in Bees and Bee-keeping, the Committee invite your consideration of their proposal. They will esteem it a favor if you will fill up and return the enclosed circular. An addressed envelope is enclosed for the purpose.

Yours respectfully,
Melvin Bartlett."

The meeting was subsequently held with participants from the towns of Chater, Dominion City, Dugald, Gonor, MacGregor, Rathwell, St. Charles, St. James, Suthwyn, Treesbank, and Winnipeg. After a lengthy discussion of the relative merits of such an Association, and consideration of the by-laws of the Ontario Bee-keepers' Association, a constitution was approved unanimously. The annual membership fee was set at $1.00, and 17 persons were immediately enrolled.

Prominent members of the Manitoba Beekeepers' Association (MBA) have included Spencer A. Bedford and James D. McGregor, both of whom are inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in Brandon (though neither of their Hall citations mention their involvement with the bee industry or the MBA). Bedford had been instrumental in the development of beekeeping in Manitoba, bringing bees to the Brandon Experimental Farm in 1889. Of all the Experimental Farms across Canada, Brandon was the first to have bee colonies to pollinate blooming crops and fruit trees. Bedford was instrumental in the formation of the MBA in 1903. McGregor, who was MBA Vice-President in 1929 when he became the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, would hold the title of Honourary President from 1930 until his death in 1935. He retailed honey into the United States in his own private-label containers. His love for both is Angus cattle and his bees is well known.

Still thriving in 2004, the mission of the Manitoba Beekeepers' Association is:

To represent and promote the welfare of the entire Manitoba honey bee industry through: presentations to the federal and provincial governments as required; participation on the Canadian Honey Council and other organizations with similar goals and interests, and to promote a better understanding of beekeeping and honey to the general public.

An MHS Centennial Organization Award was presented by Gordon Goldsborough on 28 January 2004.

See also:

Manitoba Beekeepers' Association

Page revised: 15 May 2011