Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Glass Company Site (Beausejour)
The Manitoba Glass Works in Beausejour is the site of the first glass container factory in Western Canada. Construction began in June 1906 by Joseph Keilbach and his partners Gustav Boehm, Edward Keilbach, and Carl Keilbach. The facility became operational in October 1906 and it was incorporated by January 1907. Glass-blowers from Poland and the United States, aided by local labour, used silica sand to produce bottles for breweries and soft drink companies in Winnipeg, serving the prairie market. By 1907, the plant produced 15,000 to 20,000 bottles per week. Between 1909 and 1911 new semi-automated equipment was installed to enable the production of jars, medicine and ink bottles. At its peak, the firm employed 350 workers.
The factory could not compete with larger manufacturers in Eastern Canada who held the exclusive licence for fully automatic machines. The Manitoba Glass Company was purchased by a Montreal company which then relocated its operations to Redcliff, Alberta in response to an offer of free natural gas and land. The Beausejour works were closed by 1914. No buildings remain at the site but the concrete foundations can still be seen. It is a provincially-designated historic site with a Manitoba Heritage Council commemorative plaque from 1989.
“Beausejour and its glass factory,” Manitoba Free Press, 16 February 1907, page 29.
Companies Office corporation documents, Manitoba Glass Manufacturing Company Limited, Archives of Manitoba.
Manitoba Glass Company Site, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.
We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer, Gordon Goldsborough, George Penner, and S. Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 June 2021