Memorable Manitobans: Ralph Harrison Van Kirk (c1890-1978)
Born at Canton, Ohio around 1890, he and his wife came to Winnipeg in 1918 where he operated the Van Kirk Decorating Company for many years. In 1950, he established Van Kirk Gardens, an elaborate site featuring miniature medieval castles and other buildings next to his business at the corner of Broadway and Carlton Street. It was a popular public attraction until 1964 when the gardens were relocated to Kildonan Park. He and wife Merina B. Van Kirk (?-1986) had one daughter, Dorothy Montana Van Kirk (?-2005, wife of Herbert Walter Pollard). He was a member of the Masons (Sturgeon Creek Lodge No. 145) and Khartum Shriners, being one of the founders of the Oriental Band in the Shrine. He died at the Misericordia Hospital on 1 March 1978.
Marriage registration [Dorothy Montana VanKirk, Herbert Walter Pollard], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Moss I gather,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 August 1952, page 13.
“Gardens move to new site,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 September 1964, page 3.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 March 1978, page 121.
Obituary [Merina B. Van Kirk], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1986, page 12.
Obituary [Dorothy Montana Pollard], Regina Leader-Post, 17 February 2005.
We thank Rob McInnes for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 16 October 2022