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Archives Awards Announced

On 11 May 2011, the Association for Manitoba Archives announced the nine recipients of its Fifth Annual Manitoba Day Awards, recognizing users of archives who have completed an original work of excellence which contributes to the understanding and celebration of Manitoba history. Recipients were presented at a ceremony at the City of Winnipeg Archives (380 William Avenue).




Harold Jantz


Leaders Who Shaped Us: Canadian Mennonite Brethen 1910-2010

Ronald Friesen


Pioneers of Cheese: A Social and Economic History of the Cheese Industry in Southern Manitoba 1880-1960

Alison R. Marshall


The Way of the Bachelor

Chris Charney


Musical Ghost

Pauline Greenhill


Make the Night Hideous: Four English-Canadian Charivaris, 1881-1940

Kevin Nikkel


In the Shadow of the Company: Films of the Hudson’s Bay Company

Jim Blanchard


Winnipeg’s Great War: A City Comes of Age

Richard Stringer


The Bishop Who Ate His Boots

Reinhold Kramer &
Tom Mitchell


When the State Trembled: How A. J. Andrews and the Citizen’s Committee Broke the Winnipeg General Strike

Posted: 11 May 2011

Facebook Group for History of North East Winnipeg

The North East Winnipeg Historical Society works to collect and preserve the history of East Kildonan, North Kildonan, and Elmwood. It has a Facebook Group to exchange information, view old photographs, and connect with other people interested in this area.

North East Winnipeg Historical Society (Facebook Group)

Posted: 1 May 2011

Manitoba Writer Highlights Interesting Heritage Houses and Churches

Writer Reid Dickie has visited an interesting collection of heritage houses and churches around Manitoba, and provides short descriptions with photos on his blog, ReadReidRead. See them here:

Manitoba Heritage Buildings

This growing list includes, as of today, Fairbanks Mansion at Emerson, Pioneer house at Glenhope, American Foursquare house at Baldur, and Burchill House at Brandon.

12 Houses

12 Churches

Posted: 1 May 2011

Jefferson Highway Association Founded

With the completion of the Provincial Trunk Highway No. 75 in Manitoba, a continuous roadway was created between Winnipeg and New Orleans, Louisiana, known as the Pine to Palm Highway, or the Jefferson Highway in the United States. Since that time, two motorcades from Winnipeg have travelled the entire route, stopping in all major cities and towns along the way to publicize the existence of the highway. The first cavalcade, led by Lt. Col. Ralph Webb and officials of the Winnipeg Tribune, left Winnipeg on 23 January 1926. The second cavalcade of volunteer Winnipeg citizens, led by Mayor Stephen Juba, departed from near this spot on 3 April 1957. During this second trip, municipal officials along the route were inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. A monument along Pembina Highway in Winnipeg commemorates the starting point of those motorcades on the Pine to Palm Highway.

A new association has been established to promote greater awareness of the Jefferson Highway / Pine to Palm Highway. In the first year of operation, anyone becoming a member in the association, for a fee of US$20, can lay claim to being a “founding member”.

For more information or to join the association:

Jefferson Highway Association
c/o Scott V. Berka, Treasurer
P.O. Box 294
Colo, Iowa 50056

A membership form is available here in PDF format.

Posted: 30 April 2011

New Book for Teachers and Students on Life in the Red River Settlement

A richly-illustrated new book, aimed at students in grades 4, 5 and 6, and their teachers, describes life in the Red River Settlement during the 19th century. Entitled A Visit With The People of Red River - A Young Person’s Guide and Resource Book, this 175-page book examines all aspects of pioneer life, including farming, natural disasters, fishing, home activities, occupations, the people of the settlement, weapons, maps, travel, games, and more. It also includes a comprehensive glossary of terms, a list of additional reading, and suggested web sites.

The book was researched and written by Judy and Barry McPherson, active members of the Manitoba Living History Society, who also wrote The People of Red River - A Costume Guide on historically authentic clothing from this period.

Copies of A Visit With The People of Red River - A Young Person’s Guide and Resource Book are available for $20 each (plus GST) from:

Judy and Barry McPherson
Telephone: 204-256-6869

Postscript: Judy McPherson reports that some copies of their earlier book The People of Red River - A Costume Guide are still available at $35 each (plus GST).

Posted: 24 April 2011, updated 25 April 2011

Tour Historic University Building Before Demolition

As part of “Project Domino” building renovations at the University of Manitoba, the historic Taché Hall, one of the oldest buildings at the Fort Garry campus, will be extensively modified. The two gymnasiums -- site of an encounter in the movie “Shall We Dance?” and two of the back wings -- will be torn down in late May to make way for a new music practice and performance space. Drop in Friday, 6 May or Saturday, 7 May from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and see this wonderful old building while it is still intact.

For more information, see:

Posted: 13 April 2011

Participants Needed for History Project on Manitoba’s Chinese Community

The Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre has joined a $1.2 million Chinese Canadian Historical Recognition project led by the University of British Columbia. Dr. Alison Marshall (Brandon University) and Dr. Tina Chen (University of Manitoba) will be the project managers for the Centre and the Chinese Canadian Manitoba research program to document Winnipeg’s Chinese history and make it accessible in a Canada-wide collection. Chen and Marshall hope to document Head Tax and other immigration experiences and the important history of the Winnipeg Chinese Community.

Male and female English-, Cantonese-, Toisanese- and Mandarin-speaking research participants who came to Canada before 1965 are required. The researchers aim to gather life stories, photographs and documents about Head Tax and other immigration experiences of Chinese Canadians who made Manitoba home. Descendants of Chinese immigrants who had direct experience of the Head Tax who have relevant materials are also welcome to contact the researchers. Material collected will be placed on a national bilingual web site hosted at the University of British Columbia ( Research participants will be paid $25 once all consent and copyright forms have been signed and the material has been uploaded to the UBC site.

For more information, please contact:

Posted: 10 April 2011

New Book on History of Winnipeg Beach

During the first half of the twentieth century, Winnipeg Beach proudly marketed itself as the Coney Island of the West. Located just north of Manitoba’s bustling capital, it drew 40,000 visitors a day and served as an important intersection point between classes, ethnic communities, and perhaps most importantly, between genders. In Winnipeg Beach, Dale Barbour takes us into the heart of this turn of the century resort area and introduces us to some of the people who worked, played and lived in the resort. Through photographs, interviews, and newspaper clippings he presents a lively history of this resort area and its surprising role in the evolution of local courtship and dating practices, from the commoditization of the courting experience by the CP Railway through their “Moonlight Specials,” through the development of an elaborate amusement area that encouraged public dating, and to its eventual demise amid the moral panic over sexual behavior during the 1950s and ’60s.

See also:

Winnipeg Beach: Leisure and Courtship in a Resort Town, 1900-1967 by Dale Barbour
University of Manitoba Press
ISBN: 9780887557224

Posted: 10 April 2011

Former Manitoba Premier Publishes Memoirs

Howard Pawley, Premier of Manitoba from 1981 to 1988, has published a volume of his memoirs entitled Keep True: A Life in Politics, with the University of Manitoba Press. Among the topics Pawley discusses are his government’s involvement in the debate over French language rights in Manitoba, negotiations over the maintenance contract for the CF-18 fighter jet, implementation of the Canada-US free trade agreement, and the Meech Lake constitutional crisis, along with a look at the inner workings of government.

See also:

Keep True: A Life in Politics by Howard Pawley
University of Manitoba Press
ISBN: 9780887557248

Posted: 3 April 2011

Historical Bus Tour to Southeast Manitoba

The St. Francois Xavier Historical Society is organizing an historical bus tour to southeast Manitoba on Thursday, 23 June. Led by John Lehr of the University of Winnipeg, the tour will include visits to the Ukrainian settlements at Rosa, Tolstoi, Gardenton, Vita, Sirko, and Sundown. The cost is $90 per person, including morning refreshments, ethnic lunch, and supper in Steinbach. It will depart Winnipeg at 7:15 AM and St. Francois Xavier at 7:45 AM. To reserve a seat, call Ed Owchar at 204-864-2304.

Posted: 2 April 2011

Tartan Day 2011

Wednesday, 6 April marks the 17th anniversary of Manitoba’s Tartan Day and Canada’s first annual National Tartan Day. This date also marks an important event in Scotland’s history, the 691st anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. Manitobans of Scottish birth or descent and those interested in Manitoba’s Scottish culture and heritage are invited to attend a public celebration in the Rotunda and Grand Staircase Foyer of the Manitoba Legislative Building at 5:00 PM.

The celebration will begin with a parade through the halls of the legislature led by the Pipes and Drums of Manitoba and including Scottish country and highland dancers and Scots cultural organizations all in bright tartans of many hues and colors. This will be followed by greetings presented by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and other dignitaries. Guest Speaker will be the Honorable Bill Blaikie. Entertainment will include displays of dancing, pipe and fiddle music and singing.

Hosted by The Scottish Heritage Council of Manitoba, Inc., comprised of representatives from many Manitoba Scottish cultural, heritage, and related organizations, this event will celebrate the role that Manitobans of Scottish descent have played and continue to play in Manitoba’s cultural heritage.


Tartan Day was first established in Nova Scotia in 1986 and has since spread across Canada, the United States and internationally, even to the mother country. Tartan Day was officially adopted by the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1994. In 2010 the Government of Canada officially recognized 6 April in each year as National Tartan Day.

A Manitoba provincial tartan, designed by Manitoban Hugh Kirkwood Rancine, was adopted in 1962. The Manitoba Tartan, approved by the Lord Lyon King at Arms, guardian of Scottish heraldry, is registered in Scotland as the official tartan of the province. The designed received royal assent on 1 May 1962. Each colour has its own significance: Dark Red Squares – natural resources of the province; Azure Blue Lines – Lord Selkirk, ,founder of the Red River Settlement (Winnipeg); Dark Green Lines – the men and women of many races who have enriched the life of the province; and Golden Lines – grain and other agricultural products. The Government of Canada has just recently designated the Maple Leaf Tartan as the official national tartan of Canada.

6 April 2011 is the 691st anniversary of the signing in 1320 of the Declaration of Arbroath, at Arbroath Abbey, Scotland. Considered to be a Scottish Declaration of Independence, it is also thought by many to have been an inspiration for the US Declaration of Independence of 1776.

For more information contact:

John Perrin
Office: 204-229-9387
Residence: 204-489-9235

Posted: 1 April 2011

Noted Aboriginal Historian Dies

Olive Dickason, noted author of Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from the Earliest Times, died at Ottawa on 12 March 2011. Born at Winnipeg, Dickason grew up in the Interlake area of Manitoba and later worked as a journalist for 24 years before taking MA and PhD degrees in History from the University of Ottawa. She taught at the University of Alberta from 1975 to 1992, when she lost a challenge against mandatory retirement.

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Olive Patricia Dickason (1920-2011)

Posted: 27 March 2011

Lord Roberts School Centenary - Help Wanted

Lord Roberts School is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Monday, 2 May and Tuesday, 3 May 2011. The organizing committee is asking for school alumni to share photos, historical information and personal recollections. The committee is also looking for help in locating photographs, documents, and other information about Lord Roberts School through the years. Please contact Bobbi Jo Panciera at 204-453-6639 or email for more information.

Postcard of Lord Roberts School (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2011-0022.

See also:

Lord Roberts School

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lord Roberts School (Daly Street South, Winnipeg)

Posted: 26 March 2011

Manitoba Genealogists Celebrate 35 Years

The Manitoba Genealogical Society is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2011. To mark this milestone, they are planning many learning opportunities through the year. If you are in the Winnipeg region, several workshops will be held:

April 9 – Family History Basics
April 16 – Sit ‘n Scan

For details visit their website, - go to the Southeast & Winnipeg branch page – scroll to the bottom for event details.

On 14 May from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, they will observe Manitoba Day with an Open House at their Library & Resource Centre in Winnipeg. During the last weekend in September will be their annual Seminar – It’s All Relative. You can also join them on Facebook or Twitter or call 204-783-9139 to find out more.

Posted: 20 March 2011

Short Lists for 2010 McWilliams Awards Announced

Margaret McWilliamsToday, the Manitoba Historical Society announces the short lists for the 2010 Margaret McWilliams Awards. The purpose of the McWilliams Awards, one of the oldest literary prizes in Canada, is to encourage the study and interpretation of the history of Manitoba. They were instituted in 1955 by the Manitoba Historical Society as a memorial to Margaret S. McWilliams. For 2010, awards will be made in the categories of Scholarly History Book, Popular History Book, and Local History Book.

Readings from short-listed books will be given on Monday, 25 April 2011, at 7:00 PM, at McNally-Robinson Booksellers (Winnipeg Location, Grant Park, Atrium). All are invited to attend this free event. Winners will be presented on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 1:00 PM, at a ceremony at the Dalnavert Museum Visitors Centre.

See also:

2010 Short Lists

Past Award Winners

Posted: 18 March 2011

New Book on the History of Canadian Department Stores

The experience of walking down a store aisle -- replete with displays, advertisements, salespeople, consumer goods, and infinite choice -- is now so common that we often forget mass retail barely existed a century ago.

Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada by historian Donica Belisle traces Canada’s transformation into a modern consumer nation back to an era when Eaton’s, Simpson’s, and the Hudson’s Bay Company fostered and came to rule the country’s shopping scene. Between 1890 and 1940, department stores revolutionized selling and shopping by parlaying cheap raw materials, business-friendly government policies, and growing demand for low-priced goods into retail empires that promised to meet citizens’ needs and strengthen the nation. Some Canadians found happiness and fulfillment in their aisles; others experienced nothing more than a cold shoulder and a closed door. The stores’ advertising and public relations campaigns often disguised a darker, more complicated reality that included strikes, union drives, customer complaints, government inquiries, and public criticism.

This vivid account of Canadian department stores in their heyday showcases them as powerful agents of nationalism and modernization. But the nation that their catalogues and shopping experience helped to define -- white, consumerist, middle-class -- was more limited than nostalgic portraits of the early department store suggest.

For more information and to order:

Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada (2011)
by Donica Belisle
ISBN 9780774819473
University of British Columbia Press
$85 (hardcover)

Posted: 13 March 2011

“Billy” Wins Film Award

The local feature film “Billy”, written and produced by Ernesto Griffith and Winston Moxam, won the Best Narrative Feature Film at the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival last night. The film stars Ernesto Griffith as Billy Beal, a Black pioneer who moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Swan River, Manitoba in 1906. It has played at several festivals in San Francisco, Montreal, and Minneapolis. It was recently accepted in the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Texas Black Film Festival at Dallas, Texas.

Posted: 7 March 2011

New Issue of Manitoba History Available Online

The latest issue of Manitoba History (Number 65, Winter 2011) is now available for download from the MHS Members Area. Printed copies will be mailed to members and delivered to bookstores around mid-March. This is the first issue of the journal that is available online before the corresponding print edition.

Articles in this issue:

“Something Dead Under the House”: Management Conflict in the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1930s by Elliot Hanowski

Welcoming Immigrants at the Gateway to Canada’s West: Immigration Halls in Winnipeg, 1872-1975 by Robert Vineberg

The Building of Starbuck Consolidated School No. 1150 by Brian Gouriluk

Maud’s Diary: Ireland and Manitoba, 1798-1874 by Phil Giffin

The Story of Elzéar Goulet by Jérôme Marchildon

Book Review: J. R. Miller, Compact, Contract, Covenant: Aboriginal Treaty-Making in Canada by Denise Fuchs

Book Review: Esyllt W. Jones and Gerald Friesen (editors), Prairie Metropolis: New Essays on Winnipeg Social History by Greg Thomas

Book Review: Ian McKay, Reasoning Otherwise: Leftists and the People’s Enlightenment in Canada by Henry Trachtenberg

Book Review: Sandra Rollings-Magnusson, Heavy Burdens on Small Shoulders: The Labour of Pioneer Children on the Canadian Prairies and Roy Parker, Uprooted: The Shipment of Poor Children to Canada, 1867-1917 by Sharon Reilly

Cool Things in the Collection: Sessional Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, 1870 by Kathleen Epp and Joan Sinclair

Posted: 27 February 2011

Sessional Journal of the 1870 Legislative Council of Assiniboia Now Online

In March 1870, a group of Francophone and Anglophone residents of the Red River Settlement met, with Louis Riel as President, to discuss the needs of the community. Called the Legislative Council of Assiniboia, the group appointed William Coldwell to keep a journal of its proceedings, which ran from 9 March to 24 June. With the arrival of the Wolseley Expedition in mid-1870, Riel and his provisional government dispersed, and another government was eventually established under Lieutenant Governor A. G. Archibald.

In 1939, the Sessional Journal of the short-lived Legislative Council of Assiniboia was purchased by the Legislative Library of Manitoba, along with copies of The New Nation newspaper, from one of Coldwell’s relatives. The Archives of Manitoba has transcribed its contents and is now making them available on their web site. A feature on the journal is also contained in the Winter 2011 issue of Manitoba History journal.

Sessional Journal of the Legislative Council of Assiniboia
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Red River Disturbance Collection MG3 A1-15.

Posted: 27 February 2011

Heritage Winnipeg Announced 26th Annual Preservation Awards

Today, Heritage Winnipeg announced their 26th Annual Preservation Awards in a ceremony at the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre:

Institutional Conservation Award: Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre, 119 Sutherland Avenue

The award was presented to Dennis Daniels, Executive Director of the MICEC, and Wins Bridgman and Marcela Poirier of Bridgman Collaborative Architecture, for the rehabilitation work of the former All Peoples Mission Building at the intersection of Sutherland Avenue and Euclid Street.

Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre (2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

View Larger Map

Wins Bridgman shows before and after photos during a tour of the facility after the award ceremony.
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Residential Conservation Award: The Parish Lofts, 181 Church Avenue

The award was presented to Cameron Dobie of the DPL Group (Dobie Properties) for their sensitive conversion of the former St. John’s Anglican Parish Hall to residential space.

View Larger Map

Commercial Conservation Award: Kelly House, 88 Adelaide Street

The award was presented to Jeff Palmer of the CentreVenture Development Corporation, and Dudley Thompson of Prairie Architects Inc., for their rehabilitation of the former Thomas Kelly residence as office space for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.

View Larger Map

Posted: 21 February 2011

Manitoba History Comes to the iPad - UPDATED

The Manitoba Historical Society announced today that its journal, Manitoba History, has become the first major Canadian history magazine to be available in a version for the Apple iPad and other tablet devices, as well as for desktop and notebook computers. This online version is available to all MHS members at no additional charge. The digital version of the journal is fully text-searchable and most recent issues will be in colour.

“More and more people are using tablets as a way to read books and magazines, check email, and surf the web”, notes MHS webmaster Gordon Goldsborough, “so making Manitoba History available for tablets makes sense. We are making the most recent five issues available online now, and will release digital versions of other back issues as time permits”.

MHS members will require a login account, obtained using a login request form, to access this digital version of Manitoba History. At this time, there are no plans to make the digital issues available to non-members although university students and staff may have access to them via institutional subscriptions to the EBSCO online databases.

Update: The most recent 10 issues of Manitoba History are now available for download from the MHS Members Area.

Posted: 7 February 2011, updated 12 March 2011

Lieutenant Governor Announces New Historical Award

Lt.-Gov. Philip S. Lee today announced a new award program, in consultation with the Manitoba Historical Society, to recognize Manitobans who have provided prolonged, meritorious service in the preservation and promotion of the province’s rich history and heritage.

“I am pleased to acknowledge Manitobans who have worked tirelessly on behalf of Manitoba’s history, whether by operating community museums and archives, publishing books and other documents, raising public awareness through advocacy and education, preserving historic sites, or in many other ways,” said Lee.

Founded in 1879, the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS) is the oldest historical organization in Western Canada. It offers awards commemorating businesses, farms and organizations that have operated for over 100 years, recognizes important historical books with its Margaret McWilliams Awards and encourages school children to learn about Manitoba’s past through its Young Historians Awards. MHS president Harry Duckworth notes, “It is appropriate for the lieutenant-governor, as the MHS’s patron, to work with us in recognizing those who are helping to preserve and promote the history of Manitoba.”

The MHS will receive nominations from the public for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion and will recommend up to five people to receive the awards each year. Nominations to be considered for 2011 must be received by 31 March. The first group of award recipients will be honoured at Government House on 17 May.

Further details of the award program, along with a nomination form, are available on the Manitoba Historical Society website and can also be accessed through the website of the Lieutenant Governor at

Posted: 7 February 2011

Screenings of “Billy” Film for Black History Month

In commemoration of Black History Month, Winesto Films Inc. will be having two presentations of the feature film “Billy”, written and produced by Ernesto Griffith and Winston Moxam. The film stars Ernesto Griffith as Billy Beal, a Black pioneer who moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Swan River, Manitoba in 1906. The film has played at several festivals in San Francisco, Montreal, and Minneapolis. It was recently accepted in the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Texas Black Film Festival at Dallas, Texas.

Date: Saturday, 26 February 2011
Times: 5:00 and 7:00 PM
Where: Berney Theatre, 123 Doncaster (Asper Campus)

Admission is $10 per ticket. Advance tickets are available by contacting Ernesto Griffith at 204-918-9300 or by sending email to

Posted: 6 February 2011

“Songs of Old Manitoba” Now Online

In 1960, Manitoba historian Margaret Arnett MacLeod wrote Songs of Old Manitoba, after 17 years of research, to save for posterity old Métis folk songs, such as “The Battle of Seven Oaks or The Frog Plain Song” by Pierre Falcon, “Capture of Fort Garry, or Riel’s Retreat” by Alexander Hunter Murray and “The Homesteader” by Jonathan Hughes Arnett.

Now, the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research in Saskatoon has digitized this important book and is making it freely available on its web site.

Download the book here.

Posted: 5 February 2011

Heritage Winnipeg Announces 26th Annual Preservation Awards

Heritage Winnipeg will announce the recipients of its Annual Preservation Awards at a ceremony on Monday, 21 February at 2:00 PM, in celebration of National Heritage Day and Louis Riel Day. This free public event will take place at the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre, 119 Sutherland Avenue. A reception will follow.

Posted: 4 February 2011

New Edition of Canadian Women’s History Book

This substantially revised and updated third edition of Canadian Women: A History continues to be the only comprehensive survey of the contributions, struggles and achievements of Canadian women. Drawing on the latest historical research, as well as government documents and other archival material, the authors provide new insights into the diverse experiences of women in Canada from the sixteenth century to the present. The text explores the themes of migration, marriage, family life, work, education, politics, and culture in the lives of Canadian women by means of an accessible narrative enhanced by graphics and photos.

A companion website ( is being developed. It will feature documents and links enabling readers to engage online with a range of primary sources related to Canadian women’s history.

To order a copy for $69.95:

Canadian Women: A History, 3rd edition (2011)
by Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Naomi Black, Paula Bourne, Magda Farhni
ISBN 978-0-17-650096-2

Posted: 3 February 2011

HistoryPin superimposes Manitoba historical images on Google Streetview

Brett Lougheed, digital archivist/curator at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, has superimposed some Manitoba historical photos on Google Streetview using the HistoryPin web site (, creating a very cool juxtaposition of the past with the present. Most of the photos are from the university’s Fort Garry campus but he has also added photos of the spooky Hamilton House on Henderson Highway and the St. Boniface Cathedral before it was devastated by fire. He notes that this website is still in a beta stage and can be technically glitchy at times.

Check out Brett’s collection of Manitoba historical photos at:

Posted: 3 February 2011

Human Ecology Turns 100

In 1910, a Faculty of Home Economics was established at the University of Manitoba. One hundred years later, and now known as the Faculty of Human Ecology, the Faculty celebrated its centenary with a book. Entitled More Than Memories: Stories from our past: The University of Manitoba Faculty of Human Ecology Centennial 1910-2010, the book by Glenda Parsons and Michael Eskin will be profiled at McNally Robinson Booksellers on 2 February 2011.

Copies are available for $25 each at McNally Robinson or from Glenda Parsons at 204-474-7045 or More information on the book and centennial celebration is available here.

Posted: 30 January 2011

Manitoba Human Rights Pioneer and Historian Dies

Abraham Arnold, human rights pioneer and historian, died of cancer on Friday, 28 January 2011. He was 88.

Born in Montreal, Arnold came to Winnipeg in 1965 as the Western Regional Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He was pivotal in creating the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties (MARL) and served as its first Executive Director. He was later Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada. An authority on Jewish settlement in Western Canada, he wrote The Jewish Contribution to the Opening and Development of the West for the Manitoba Historical Society. He had received the MHS’s Margaret McWilliams award twice for his writings on the history of Manitoba. He wrote several books, including Judaism: Myth, Legend, History and Custom, From the Religious to the Secular (1995) and Jewish Life in Canada (1976).

In 2001, he received an honorary degree from the University of Winnipeg and, in 2003, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

Posted: 29 January 2011

Black History Month in Manitoba

Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Flor Marcelino today encouraged Manitobans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the province by remembering the progress, richness and diversity of the achievements and contributions of people of African descent in Manitoba and around the world.

“Black History Month provides a focal point for the celebration of black experiences, perspectives and history throughout the world,” said Marcelino. “Manitobans embrace and celebrate our province's diversity because it is one of our greatest strengths. It makes us unique in the world today and it makes Manitoba a destination of choice for immigrants to Canada.”

The Black History Month planning team, in collaboration with the Jamaican Association of Manitoba, the Council of Caribbean Organizations of Manitoba, the Congress of Black Women, and the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba, has planned various events for this year’s celebration. This year’s theme is ‘Transition ... Learning from the past to make a brighter future’.

Educators, students, parents and the general public are invited to attend and participate in a number of events that are celebrating Black History Month. Some of the events include:

  • the official launch of Black History Month, Sunday, 30 January at 4:00 p.m. at the Jamaican Cultural Centre, 1098 Winnipeg Avenue
  • a history lesson and workshop on cooking, music, arts and crafts, 12 Febuary, 10:00 a.m.,1098 Winnipeg Avenue
  • a job fair hosted by the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba, 9 February, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Elmwood High School senior gym, 505 Chalmers Avenue
  • a Black History Month fashion show, 20 February, 4:00 p.m., Jamaican Cultural Centre, 1098 Winnipeg Avenue
  • a Congress of Black Women cultural awareness workshop, 22 February, Viscount Gort Hotel, 1670 Portage Avenue, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. and a registration fee of $60
  • the Black History Month Community Awards Banquet, 26 February, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. at the Jamaican Cultural Centre, 1098 Winnipeg Avenue, with tickets priced at $25 for adults and $12.50 for children 12 and under

“Our province is composed of people from diverse linguistic and cultural origins,” said Marcelino. “It is important that all Manitobans have some basic knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the richness of our human diversity, our roots and our peoples’ stories.”

According to the 2006 Census, 7,660 people of African descent reside in Manitoba and 15,660 people self-identify as being black. In December 2009, the United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent.

For more information on Black History Month, visit the Multiculturalism Secretariat website at

Posted: 28 January 2011

New Book on the Tornado at Grand Forks, 16 June 1887

When a devastating tornado hit Grand Forks and East Grand Forks on 16 June 1887, nobody saw it coming. Even the United States Signal Service believed there was a northern limit for tornadoes in the United States. The frontier towns of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks were located about seventy-five miles north of Fargo, which was thought to be at the northern tip of the “Tornado Belt”. Leaders of each town proudly claimed that their communities did not have to worry about the destructive power of tornadoes.

The tornado of 1887 changed everything. Reshaping the Tornado Belt discusses: how Grand Forks and East Grand Forks evolved; what happened when country schoolhouses were blown across the prairie with teachers and students trapped inside; what the two shattered towns had to do in the aftermath of the tornado to rebuild their communities; eyewitness accounts of the tornado as it traveled twenty miles.

Full of maps and figures and painstakingly researched by three weather professionals, Reshaping the Tornado Belt tells an important story about how a horrific tornado challenged and reshaped two communities and changed how the world looks at tornadoes.

See also:

Reshaping the Tornado Belt (Amazon)
by Vincent Godon, Nancy Godon & Kelly Kramlich

Reshaping the Tornado Belt (information web site)

Posted: 23 January 2011

New Book on the History of the Winnipeg Heather-Belle Ladies’ Pipe Band

The Heather-Belle Ladies’ Pipe Band, established in 1951, was a unique all-women’s pipe band that -- for over fifty years -- brought Scottish music and entertainment to Manitoba and beyond. It disbanded in December 2007. The story of its birth, rise and demise presents an interesting picture of Winnipeg and its social structure in the last half of the twentieth century.

A richly-illustrated 131-page history of the Band has just been published and copies are available for $20 each from:

Ethel Hook
202 Oakdean Blvd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3J 3N9
Telephone: 204-837-2428

Posted: 23 January 2011

Northern Great Plains History Conference - Call for Papers

The 46th Annual Northern Great Plains History Conference will be held at Mankato, Minnesota on 21-24 September 2011.

Papers and panels in all areas of history are welcome. Graduate students are especially encouraged to send proposals. The deadline for proposals is 30 March 2011. Please send proposals for individual papers or for panels to:

Northern Great Plains History Conference
Department of History
Minnesota State University, Mankato
110 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, Minnesota 56001


Conference web site:

Include your name, institution, address, phone, and email address, and a short vita with each proposal. A prize will be awarded to the best graduate student paper presented at the conference.

Posted: 22 January 2011

New Book on the History of Chinese Immigration to Manitoba

The lives of early Japanese and Chinese settlers in British Columbia have come to define the Asian experience in Canada. Yet many Chinese men did not seek their destiny in British Columbia, but followed the railway east, settling in small Prairie towns and cities.

The Way of the Bachelor by Brandon University professor Alison Marshall documents the religious beliefs and cultural practices that sustained and leant meaning to Chinese bachelors in Manitoba. In the absence of women and family, these men opened the region’s first laundries and, by the turn of the twentieth century, developed a new kind of restaurant -- the Chinese cafe. They maintained their ties to the Old World and negotiated a place for themselves in the new through a process called Dao -- the way of the bachelor. At cafes and restaurants, churches and Christians associations, and the offices of the Chinese Nationalist Party, bachelors fostered a vibrant homosocial culture based on friendship, everyday religious practices, the example of Sun Yat-sen, and the sharing of food.

This fascinating exploration of the intersection of gender, migration, and religion in small Prairie towns and cities broadens our understanding of the Chinese quest for identity in North America. The book includes a Foreword by the Honourable Inky Mark, former Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.

The book will be launched on 22 March 2011, at an event to be held at the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre (2nd Floor, 180 King Street) at 7:30 PM.

See also:

The Way of the Bachelor
University of British Columbia Press
ISBN 9780774819152

Posted: 17 January 2011, updated 7 March 2011

Canadiana Discovery Portal Provides Access to 60 Million Pages of Canadian History

An ambitious new search engine has been launched by an alliance of digital heritage advocates designed to allow one-stop searching for centuries of Canadian history. The Canadiana Discovery Portal combs through more than 60 million pages of information from 30 different library, museum and archive collections across the country. From old Saskatchewan postcards to sheet music, the search engine brings together access to 14 different institutional collections from coast to coast and in both French and English.

The collections are varied. Quick searches on perennial topics in Canadian conversations yield a surprising diversity of results. On health care, the search engine turns up everything from political speeches in the 1950s to an 1894 book entitled Search lights on health, light on dark corners: a complete sexual science and a guide to purity and physical manhood, advice to maiden, wife and mother, love, courtship and marriage. On hockey, there are photographs of Lester B. Pearson on the ice in Switzerland, as well as an 1856 account of Captain F. W. Beechey’s travels through the Northwest Passage and his observation of First Nations playing a game that looked like hockey.

Canadiana Discovery Portal:

Posted: 16 January 2011

Nominations for Prize in Women’s History

Hilda Neatby Prize
2011 Call for Submissions

The purpose of the Hilda Neatby Prize in Women's History, awarded since 1982 by the CCWH at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, is to encourage the publication of scholarly articles on women's history in Canadian journals and books. Two prizes are awarded, one for the best article in English, the other for the best article in French. Any academic article published in Canada and deemed to make an original and scholarly contribution to the field of women’s history is eligible.

Any English-language academic article published in Canada during 2010 and deemed to make an original and scholarly contribution to the field of women’s and gender history as it relates to women is eligible for nomination for the 2011 Neatby Prize. Any French-language academic article published in a Canadian or International journal or book during the period 2008-2010 and deemed to make an original and scholarly contribution to the field of women’s and gender history as it relates to women is eligible for nomination for the 2011 Neatby Prize.

Send nominations, with three (3) copies of the nominated article, before 15 February 2011 to the Chair of the Hilda Neatby Prize Committee, Dr. Lynne Marks, Department of History, University of Victoria, PO Box 3045, Victoria, B.C., V8V 2W6,

Posted: 16 January 2011

New Book on Selkirk History

In commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the City of Selkirk, historian Ken Howard has just published Stories of Selkirk’s Pioneers and Their Heritage. This 500-page local history book contains illustrated profiles of families who have lived at Selkirk through the years.

Copies are available for $75 each (plus GST) from:

Pioneer Publications
582 Henderson Highway
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R2K 2H8
(204) 669-5360

The book is also available in Winnipeg from the Dalnavert Gift Shop, and in Selkirk from Blaine’s Books and the Selkirk Community Arts Centre.

Posted: 14 January 2011, updated 18 February 2011

Province Introduces New Heritage Farm Program

In celebration of farm families that have maintained continuous production for 125 or more years, the province launched (on 4 November 2010) the new Heritage Farms designation as Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers presented official signage here today to Betty and Walter Heaman who farm northwest of Virden.

“Families like the Heamans that have successfully maintained their farms from generation to generation have contributed significantly to the stability of rural life, rural communities and economic growth in the province,” said Struthers. “These families have witnessed and experienced first-hand the evolution of farming in our province, surviving the tough times and celebrating the good times.”

Betty’s great-grandparents homesteaded the original property in 1882 starting with a quarter-section of land. A second quarter-section was added under her father’s ownership. Since her marriage to Walter, the farm has grown to include 6,500 acres, where the family grows wheat, oats, barley, canola, flax and peas. They also have a few feeder yearlings and operate a pedigreed seed-cleaning business. The family has also grown to include three sons: Doug, Bob and Ken and their families. Doug’s children Jason, Brittany and Quinton; Bob’s children Krystle and Aidan; and Ken’s son Brett also help on the farm.

“Farming is all we’ve ever done. We kept the farm because we like the lifestyle and when you are your own boss you get to make your own choices,” said Betty. “As our children and grandchildren have come to appreciate the land, we are confident that this next generation will continue on the tradition of farming.”

Approximately 500 families in Manitoba qualify for the Heritage Farm designation as they have maintained a farm within their family for at least 125 consecutive years. To date, more than 1,500 farms have already been recognized for reaching a century of operations. Application forms for the Heritage Farm designation will be available online at or from any Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) GO Centre or GO office.

See also:

Centennial Farm Program, Manitoba Historical Society
(Note: this is NOT the same program as the Century Farm Program of the Province of Manitoba)

Posted: 12 December 2010

New Book on Charivaris

The charivari is a loud, late-night surprise house-visiting custom from members of a community, usually to a newlywed couple, accompanied by a quête (a request for a treat or money in exchange for the noisy performance) and/or pranks. Up to the first decades of the twentieth century, charivaris were for the most part enacted to express disapproval of the relationship that was their focus, such as those between individuals of different ages, races, or religions. While later charivaris maintained the same rituals, their meaning changed to a welcoming of the marriage.

Make the Night Hideous, by University of Winnipeg professor Pauline Greenhill, explores this mysterious transformation using four detailed case studies from different time periods and locations across English Canada, as well as first-person accounts of more recent charivari participants. Pauline Greenhill’s unique and fascinating work explores the malleability of a tradition, its continuing value, and its contestation in a variety of discourses.

University of Toronto Press, 2010
ISBN 978-1-4426-4077-1 (bound) 978-1-4426-1015-6 (paper)

See also:

Make the Night Hideous: Four English-Canadian Charivaris, 1881-1940, University of Toronto Press

Posted: 10 December 2010

Another Building in Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange District Threatened

In July, Winnipegger Ken Zaifman was ordered by the City of Winnipeg to repair the windows and doors of his vacant building on Notre Dame Avenue, formerly the St. Charles Hotel, or obtain a permit to board it up. The building was originally planned to be renovated into a boutique hotel. Zaifman is appealing the city’s decision.

View Larger Map

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Charles Hotel (235 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg)

Boutique Hotel Boarded Up, Winnipeg Free Press

Posted: 4 December 2010, updated 31 July 2011

Historical Film Wins Human Rights Award

Ernesto Griffith and Winston Moxam of Winesto Films Incorporated received a 2010 Manitoba Human Rights Award from the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties for their film, Billy, a story about William Sylvester Alpheus “Billy” Beal (1874-1968), an early African-American resident of western Manitoba. The award will be presented at a ceremony on 7 December 2010. A reception will be held in the Manitoba Legislative Dining Room between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20 and are available by contacting Patricia Knipe (Communications Director for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission) at 204-945-5112 or

Billy Trailer on YouTube:

Posted: 3 December 2010

Historic Building in Downtown Winnipeg Under Threat - UPDATED

The 128-year-old Shanghai Restaurant building on King Street, between Pacific and Alexander avenues in downtown Winnipeg, is under threat of demolition. As reported in the Winnipeg Free Press on 3 December, owners of the building want to close the restaurant and sell the building to Chinatown Development Corporation which, in turn, would demolish it to make way for a parking lot, and eventually a housing development for Asian senior citizens.

Built in 1882 during the city’s real estate boom, and owned by merchant John Higgins, the building was the site of council chambers and the mayor’s office during construction of the first City Hall, from 1883 to 1886. The stone and brick building was given a Grade III heritage ranking by the City following an assessment in 2009. The demolition is opposed by Heritage Winnipeg.

On 6 December, the city council’s Property and Development Committee voted unanimously to allow demolition of the building when its owner provides a development plan for the site, despite the absence of an engineer’s report in the city’s recommendation that would confirm the building was not worth repairing. On 15 December, the City Council approved the committee recommendation, subject to the submission of a site plan by the Chinatown Development Corporation. The move was opposed by councillors Jenny Gerbasi, Harvey Smith, John Orlikow, and Ross Eadie, who believed that a decision should await a report on the structural integrity of the building.

No demolition will occur until a site plan is submitted and a building permit is issued. The city will not allow the site to be used as a parking lot in the interim between demolition and erection of a new building.

View Larger Map

See also:

Shanghai Restaurant demo plan OK'ed by council, Winnipeg Free Press, 15 December 2010

City hall OK’s plan to demolish historic building, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 December 2010

Housing eyed for restaurant site, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 December 2010

Robert (Coronation) Block, City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Inventory (PDF)

Posted: 3 December 2010, updated 16 December 2010

New Biography of Richardson Family Patriarch

Local author Tim Higgins and publisher Heartland Associates has just published a new book about George Richardson, patriarch of the powerful Richardson family of Winnipeg. Entitled Just Common Sense: The Life and Times of George Taylor Richardson, the richly illustrated book will be launched on Monday, 13 December at McNally-Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg). Copies may also be purchased at the MHS’s Dalnavert Gift Shop.

Higgins was given unprecedented access to the corporate archives of James Richardson & Sons Limited, and recorded hours of interviews with Richardson family members (including George himself), friends and business associates, which enabled him to compile an inside look at this normally quite private family.

Posted: 3 December 2010

Legislation Would Enhance Protection of Historic Properties in Winnipeg: Lemieux

New legislation is being proposed that would enhance the City of Winnipeg’s ability to preserve and protect historic properties, Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux announced today.

“It is important to preserve, protect and develop our heritage,” said Lemieux. “Historic buildings and sites provide us with a sense of identity and teach us about the people and events that make up our shared past.”

Currently, the City of Winnipeg only has the authority to designate buildings as historic properties. Through this legislation, that authority would be expanded to also allow sites such as parks and cemeteries to be designated as historic.

The legislation would also require the city to register historic designations of buildings and sites on property titles. The minister noted the city requested changes to the legislation to ensure that property owners and others with an interest in the property are aware of potential development restrictions of a property with an historic designation.

“We are pleased to work with the city to safeguard buildings and properties that hold special significance from the past to preserve them for future generations,” said Lemieux.

The proposed legislation would give the city the same power as all other municipalities, which already have authority to designate sites and are required to register historic designations on property titles.

Posted: 26 November 2010

Silver Screens on the Prairie: An Illustrated History of Motion Picture Theatres in Manitoba

Historian Russ Gourluck in the process of doing research for a book titled Silver Screens on the Prairie: An Illustrated History of Motion Picture Theatres in Manitoba, and he is looking for people to share their memories of movie houses across Manitoba from the early 1900s until now. The book will celebrate the stories of palatial picture palaces, exotic atmospheric theatres, now-legendary drive-ins, and the dozens of small-town and neighbourhood theatres that thrilled kids at Saturday matinees, were the inevitable destinations of countless teenage dates, and brought drama and excitement to the lives of Manitobans of all ages.

Russ would like to chat with people who owned theatres, worked in them, or simply enjoyed attending them. He is also interested in obtaining photos, particularly of theatres that no longer exist. The interviews will be by phone and interviewees will be able to preview passages that include their comments before the book is finalized. If written permission is given, recordings of the interviews, along with most of the other research material for this project, will be donated to the University of Manitoba’s Archives and Special Collections.

Russ can be reached by email at or by phone (weekdays 9:00 to 4:00) at (204) 339-2493.

Silver Screens will be published in Winnipeg by Great Plains Publications, who also published Russ’ previous books A Store Like No Other: Eaton’s of Winnipeg; Going Downtown: A History of Winnipeg’s Portage Avenue; Picturing Manitoba: Legacies of The Winnipeg Tribune; and The Mosaic Village: An Illustrated History of Winnipeg’s North End.

Posted: 23 November 2010

Spooky Halloween Art Show at Dalnavert Museum

A seven-piece art show called Phantasmagoria has been installed in seven rooms of the 1895 mansion that once belonged to Sir Hugh John Macdonald and his family. It runs until 7 November. The theme is Victorian-era image projection. Most of the artists -- all in their 20s and 30s -- have created eerie installations, echoing a time when photography and cinema were emerging artforms that often astounded and frightened viewers.

See also:

Haunted house Historic mansion goes ghostly with so-cool-it’s-chilling exhibit of eerie Victorian-era image projection, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 October 2010

Posted: 23 October 2010

Victorian Garden Develops at Dalnavert

by Jennifer Bisch, Chief Program Officer and Curator, Dalnavert Museum

Dalnavert, the 1895 home of Sir Hugh John Macdonald (son of Canada’s first prime minister, John Alexander MacDonald) was restored in the early 1970s to represent the home life of a wealthy family living in Winnipeg at the turn of the 20th century.

While the home’s interior is beautifully decorated in late-Victorian splendour, the exterior too retains an important part of the home’s history.

Framed with curvilinear gardens filled with heirloom plants, the home grounds of Dalnavert not only please the eye, but also express the significance that gardening had at that time. The landscaping practice of framing the home with flora reflects late Victorian horticultural aesthetics, which sought to unite garden and home into one cohesive structure.

Although not enough information remains available about the original garden, Dalnavert’s garden committee has painstakingly developed the green space to reflect early gardening practices in Winnipeg and to incorporate the grounds into visitors’ experience of the historic site.

While we do not know exactly what plants graced the gardens at Dalnavert, we do know that Lady Macdonald was a vibrant socialite who frequently entertained guests in her home. The home grounds would have played an essential role by creating atmosphere for guests relaxing on the wraparound verandah or by providing cutting flowers that might be placed in the dining room and parlour to freshen the interior.

Dalnavert’s garden now contains a large variety of cutting flowers, perennials, and native species -- all of which would have been available for purchase through seed distributors.

There is a wealth of genetic history available in the plants of the past, many of which are at risk of being lost without continued cultivation. Dalnavert’s garden is designed to preserve the history of these traditional floral varieties. Examples of plants in the garden include blue cornflowers (which at one time may have decorated a dining room table laid with blue and white china) and fragrant sweet peas, which filled the garden air with perfume. In early spring, lily of the valley lined the garden walkway, their sprays of nodding bells cut and gathered into delicate scented bouquets to decorate the entry hall.

Winnipeg gardeners in 1905 had their choice of eight different cultivars of Chinese peony, available in the Steele Briggs bulb catalogue. In 1922, an attempt was even made to establish the peony as our civic flower.

To embrace the beauty and historic importance of this plant, the Garden Committee has begun to develop an heirloom peony border along the frame of the museum’s entrance, featuring seven different varieties. Three-flowered Avens (Geum urbanum) edge the flower bed, complementing the emerging red peony shoots. In early summer, the rosy tones of peony blossoms are echoed in the Sweet William planted nearby.

Future plans for Dalnavert’s home grounds include a four-square vegetable garden on the south side and a secret garden tucked away between the house and visitors’ centre.

Gardeners wishing to add a vintage touch to their plantings can find heritage seeds in Dalnavert’s gift shop. Varieties available are Miss Willmott Sweet Pea, Nigra Hollyhock, Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory, and crego mix Asters, as well as a bridal mix (bachelor’s buttons, everlasting strawflower, forget-me-not, love in a mist and none so pretty) and a floral mix (calendula, cornflower, cosmos, larkspur, and poppy). Proceeds from the sale of these seeds support the ongoing development of Dalnavert’s historic garden.

Like Lady Macdonald’s guests of long ago, visitors to Dalnavert are invited to stroll through the gardens or take in the beauty of the grounds from the vantage point of the elegant verandah.

See also:

Growing a piece of history Dalnavert’s committee develops green space to reflect early gardening practices, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 August 2010

Posted: 21 August 2010

Volunteers Enjoy Local History at Dalnavert Museum

Volunteers are welcome to learn while helping at Dalnavert Museum (61 Carlton Street). Mary Steinhoff and Calla Lofvendahl are among the long-serving volunteers who enjoy dressing in period costume, helping to expand the museum’s educational programming, greeting visitors, and leading tours.

See also:

Step Back in Time at Museum: Dalnavert Serves Up Slice of Local History, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 August 2010

Posted: 3 August 2010

BBC News: Sir John A. Macdonald Honoured

Life of Sir John A. Macdonald honoured in Dalnavert, BBC News, 12 May 2010

Posted: 12 May 2010

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