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St. Andrews-on-the-Red Memorial Project

The quiet rural cemetery at St. Andrews Anglican Church in St. Andrews is the site of many graves belonging to Manitoba’s historical figures. Sadly, there are also more than 2400 unmarked graves in both the old and new sections of the cemetery. As part of 160th anniversary celebrations in 2009, the church congregation held a special prayer service to remember those in these unmarked graves. As a continuing effort, they are now undertaking a project of erecting a permanent memorial for these unmarked graves. If anyone has relatives they believe may be in one of these graves, they are asking them to get in touch with Barbara Gessner at 204-338-7483. She will look through their records to ascertain if your relative is indeed in the cemetery.

Donations for the project may be made by cheque payable to “Parish of St. Andrews”, c/o Barbara Gessner, 5491 Highway 9, St. Andrews, Manitoba R1A 2W8. All donations over $10 will receive an income tax receipt. It is hoped this memorial will be finished by Spring 2012, and everyone who donates will receive a notice about the special service which will be held to bless it.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Andrew's-on-the-Red Anglican Church and Cemetery (RM of St. Andrews)

Posted: 29 October 2011

New Book on Morden’s Memories of 1930s and ‘40s

On 30 October 2011, at a ceremony at the Morden 55+ Activity Centre, the Morden Historical Society will launch their book Life As They Knew It: Memories of the Great Depression and World War 2. The book was the result of asking 14 Morden residents the question: “what as life like in Morden during the 1930s and 1940s?”, and compiling their memories with articles from the Morden Times newspaper and other sources. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the ceremony.

For more information, contact:

Morden Historical Society
Box 5017
Morden, Manitoba
R6M 1Y9

Posted: 29 October 2011

New Exhibit at Daly House Museum Commemorates War Veterans

In the month of November, the Daly House Museum in Brandon will be presenting a new original exhibit, Every Citizen a Soldier. This exhibit will examine the home front experience for Brandon and prairie citizens during the First and Second World Wars. This exhibit is important as few people today realize how completely the Brandon community was transformed during wartime, and how every aspect of daily life on the prairies was affected by the war.

The exhibit will include a section on the First World War including information about Red Cross Nurses, internment camps, and the statistical impact of the war on the local economy. Many Manitobans fought overseas in the war and even more contributed to the war effort at home. The First World War is very under-represented in Manitoba museums and through its exhibit the museum hopes to raise awareness of the incredible impact this full-scale international conflict had on Manitoba.

Daly House will also be including an exhibit on the Second World War with the aim of providing a different perspective from other local military museums. This portion of the exhibit will focus on aspects of the home front experience including rations and war stamps, victory bonds and propaganda, and women and the wartime economy. The Second World War changed the way in which women were viewed in society as well as prairie and national pride.

Every Citizen a Soldier will run from 1 to 30 November 2011.

Posted: 28 October 2011

Parent Council Association Seeks Your Help for 100th Anniversary

In 2012, the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils (MAPC) will be celebrating 100 years of parental involvement in Manitoba’s education system. To do this, they are collecting 100 stories from parents of children attending (or who have attended) school in Manitoba—representing the history and diversity of parents throughout the province. They are looking for stories about parents who brought about change to their school communities; parents who witnessed history being made in Manitoba schools; parents and parent groups celebrating the successes, failures and lessons learned, joys and heartbreaks, surprising, comical and outrageous moments of working and volunteering in a school environment; and others.

If you or someone you know has a story to share which represents parental involvement in a school community in Manitoba, you can make a difference to the success of this project. Contact MAPC to register as a contributor (include your name, address, phone, and email address) before 16 December 2011. Submit your story of 250 to 500 words about the role you—or someone you know—played in the growth of parental involvement in Manitoba schools no later than 31 March 2012.

All submissions will be considered the property of MAPC and will not be returned to the submitting body. Photos may be included with your submission for consideration of inclusion and will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. MAPC reserves the right to edit for spelling and grammatical errors, and will refuse any submissions which may be personally harmful or disrespectful in tone.

MAPC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and enhancing meaningful involvement and participation of parents in order to improve the education and well being of children in Manitoba. Currently, they represent over 300 school-based parent groups throughout Manitoba.

For more information:

Manitoba Association of Parent Councils
1005 - 401 York Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0P8
Phone: 204-956-1770 or 877-290-4702 (toll-free)
Fax: 204-956-7780

Posted: 27 October 2011

New Exhibit on King James Bible at University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections is launching a new exhibit entitled ‘This Booke of Starres’: 400 Years of the King James Bible which celebrates the first edition, first printing of the King James Bible and some of its predecessors from the rare book room. Drs Paul Dyck and David Watt will be speaking. The exhibition will run until 30 April 2012.

The exhibit will launch on Thursday, 27 October 2011, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM, in the Archives & Special Collections, in the Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the University’s Fort Garry Campus. All are welcome to this free event.

Posted: 27 October 2011

PBS Documentary and Website on Red River Steamboats

Click to enlarge

The steamboat Assiniboine
in Emerson
Click to enlarge

Prairie Public, a PBS affiliate based in Fargo, North Dakota, has created a 30-minute video documentary and companion website entitled Steamboats on the Red: A Story of Buccaneers and Robber Barons. They examine the history of steamboat transportation on the Red River, from 1859 to 1909, and the impact this important trade route had on development of the region. The documentary includes interviews with MHS members Ed Ledohowski, Gordon Goldsborough, and Wayne Arseny.

The premiere broadcast of the Steamboats on the Red will occur on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 at 7:00 PM, and will rebroadcast on Monday, 21 November 2011 at 9:30 PM.

Funding for the project was provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, North Dakota Humanities Council, The Winnipeg Foundation, and the members of Prairie Public.

See also:

Steamboats on the Red

Prairie Public

Posted: 25 October 2011, updated 28 October 2011

Ralph Connor House Designated a National Historic Site

At a ceremony on 13 October 2011, Ralph Connor House, the former Winnipeg residence of writer and cleric C. W. Gordon, now the home of the University Women’s Club (UWC) of Winnipeg, was designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

A plaque commemorating the historic residence was unveiled by Joyce Bateman (Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South-Centre), Sylvia Marsh (President, University Women’s Club of Winnipeg), Dr. John Lennox (University Professor Emeritus of English, York University), Robert Darling (Chair, Friends of Ralph Connor House), John Gordon (great-grandson of C. W. Gordon), and Dr. Robert O’Kell (Manitoba representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada).

Click to enlarge

UWC members (L-R) Dianne Jackman, Diane DeGraves, Muriel Aboul-Atta, Sylvia Marsh, Irene Legg, and Lorraine Cook pose with the historic site plaque at Ralph Connor House.
Source: University Women’s Club of Winnipeg

In related news, the Ukrainian Labour Temple at 591 Pritchard Avenue in Winnipeg will be designated as a National Historic Site of Canada at a ceremony tentatively scheduled for Saturday, 19 November 2011 at 3:00 PM. UPDATE (17 November 2011): This announcement has been cancelled indefinitely.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ralph Connor House (54 West Gate, Winnipeg)

Memorable Manitobans: Charles William Gordon [Ralph Connor] (1860-1937)

University Women’s Club of Winnipeg

Posted: 22 October 2011, updated 17 November 2011

Cairn Unveiled for Greenridge School No. 211

On Sunday, 16 October, a cairn was unveiled in commemoration of Greenridge School No. 211. Established in 1884, in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood, Miss Bessie Harcourt was the first teacher, for a class of 13 students. Some 240 students had attended by the time the school was disbanded in December 1914. The former school building was painted red and, for years, was used as a local landmark and bus stop.

The cairn was unveiled by Ralph Eichler (MLA for Lakeside), Terry Hartle (ward councillor in the RM of Rockwood), Ross Metcalfe (Interlake School Division Superintendent), and Catherine Thexton. The cairn and a bench listing students who attended the school was prepared by Larsen’s Memorials of Winnipeg. The ceremony was attended by over 65 people.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Greenridge School No. 211 (1884-1914)

Posted: 18 October 2011

New Book on Courtroom Battles Over Aboriginal Land Claims

In 1973, the Supreme Court of Canada’s historic Calder decision on the Nisga’a community’s title suit in British Columbia launched the Native rights litigation era in Canada. Legal claims have raised questions with significant historical implications, such as, “What treaty rights have survived in various parts of Canada? What is the scope of Aboriginal title? Who are the Metis, where do they live, and what is the nature of their culture and their rights?”

Telling it to the Judge, Taking Native History to Court, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, is based on Arthur J. Ray’s 25 years of experience as an expert witness in a series of native rights cases. Ray recalls lengthy courtroom battles over lines of evidence, historical interpretation, and philosophies of history, reflecting on the problems inherent in teaching history in the adversarial courtroom setting. This book launch is sponsored locally by the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives where considerable amounts of Ray’s research was done.

More information:

Telling it to the Judge, Taking Native History to Court
by Arthur J. Ray
McGill-Queen’s University Press
ISBN 9780773539525

Posted: 18 October 2011

113 Year Old Building Faces Demolition in Morden

The Arlington Hotel on Morden’s historic Stephen Street is facing demolition, after efforts by local heritage advocates to find an alternative use of the building appear to have failed. Built in 1898 by entrepreneur and Manitoba MLA John H. Kennedy, the building has been vacant since the 1990s. Recent structural damage has led the Morden town council to issue a demolition permit. Failing a last-minute reprieve, this three-storey brick structure will be razed later this month.

Updated: No satisfactory alternative having been found, the Arlington Hotel was demolished in mid-November 2011. A brief video of the demolition was posted on YouTube:

See also:

Historic Sites of Morden

Posted: 13 October 2011, updated 18 December 2011

New Book on Ukrainian Settlement in Southeastern Manitoba

The University of Manitoba Press is launching a book entitled Community and Frontier: A Ukrainian Settlement in the Canadian Parkland by University of Winnipeg geographer John C. Lehr.

Established in 1896, the Stuartburn colony in southeastern Manitoba was one of the earliest Ukrainian settlements in western Canada. Based on an analysis of government records, pioneer memoirs, and the Ukrainian and English language press, Community and Frontier is a detailed examination of the challenges faced by this unique ethnic community.

The launch will be held at McNally Robinson Booksellers (Grant Park, Travel Alcove) on Monday, 7 November at 7:30 PM. Please RSVP to

More information:

Community and Frontier: A Ukrainian Settlement in the Canadian Parkland
by John C. Lehr
University of Manitoba Press
ISBN 978-0-88755-725-5

Posted: 13 October 2011

Save Winnipeg Airport Terminal From Demolition

Heritage Winnipeg and the Manitoba Historical Society join concerned heritage advocates from across Canada in calling on the Winnipeg Airport Authority (WAA) to preserve the old airport terminal after the new Winnipeg Airport Terminal is opened later this month. Considered one of the finest examples of mid-century Modernist architecture in Canada, the WAA has refused to meet with heritage representatives to discuss possible alternative uses for the building.

An creative re-use of the building could follow the lead, for example, of the Silent Wings Museum at Lubbock International Airport in Texas where a 1950s airport terminal was developed into a museum documenting the history of gliders in warfare. Otherwise, the stately Winnipeg Airport Terminal may share the fate of Aeroquay One, built at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in 1964, and demolished in 2004.

Heritage Winnipeg and the Manitoba Historical Society believe strongly that the building is too important to conclude that it cannot be redeveloped. Contact your local Member of Parliament if you wish to express your support for re-use of the historic terminal. It is now time for Winnipeggers, Manitobans, and Canadians to appreciate the value and contribution of modernist architecture. Harold Kalman, PhD, architectural historian and Canada’s first heritage consultant, believes it provides an excellent opportunity for rehabilitation and re-use. The 1964 terminal is, he says, “a stellar half-century-old building that is an asset and not a liability. All it takes is the will and creativity to find the best new use for the structure.”

Posted: 11 October 2011

Glee Club Memorabilia at University of Manitoba

Just in time to accompany new episodes of the television show Glee, the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has launched an online exhibit of Glee memoribilia from the University of Manitoba’s Glee Club, which was most active from the 1920s to the 1970s.

You can view the exhibit at

Posted: 23 September 2011

MacGregor & RM of North Norfolk History Books for Sale

Copies of the local history book Through Fields and Dreams: A History of Life in the RM of North Norfolk and MacGregor are available for sale at $45 plus shipping for a two-volume hardcover set. To purchase, contact the North Norfolk - MacGregor Archives at 204-466-2775 (Sandra) or 204-466-2708 (Doris) or

See also:

Manitoba Municipalities: Rural Municipality of North Norfolk

Manitoba Municipalities: Town of Macgregor

Posted: 16 September 2011

Manitoba Teacher and Historian Dies at Wawanesa

Alice E. Brown, teacher, librarian, and historian, died at Wawanesa, Manitoba on 14 September 2011, just a week short of her 95th birthday. Born in 1916, daughter of early pioneering families of the Souris and Glenwood districts, her interest in local history was stimulated at an early age when she joined her father and his friends searching the banks of the Souris River in a southwesterly direction for traces of the remains of old fur trading posts. Moving to Winnipeg after the Second World War, she taught at several schools in St. James and became active with the Manitoba Historical Society, serving as its President from 1965 to 1967, and writing numerous articles for its publications. After retirement from teaching in 1982, she moved back to the Treesbank area with her husband.

Her funeral will be at Treesbank Community Church on Friday, 23 September at 2:00 PM with burial in Wawanesa Cemetery.

Posted: 15 September 2011

New Book on Historical Land Drainage in Manitoba

The Canadian prairies are often envisioned as dry, windswept fields. However, much of southern Manitoba is not arid plain but wet prairie, poorly drained land subject to frequent flooding.

Wet Prairie, by former Manitoban Shannon Stunden Bower, brings to light the problems and complexities of surface water management in Manitoba, from early efforts to drain the landscape to late-twentieth-century attempts to establish watershed management.

More information:

Wet Prairie People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba
by Shannon Stunden Bower
UBC Press
ISBN 9780774818520

Posted: 10 September 2011

Winnipeg History Book Nominated for On The Same Page

Jim Blanchard’s award-winning book Winnipeg 1912 has been short-listed for the 2011-2012 edition of the On the Same Page book club. A project of The Winnipeg Foundation and Winnipeg Public Library, On the Same Page “encourages all Manitobans to read, and talk about, the same book at the same time.” A reading featuring Blanchard and the other OTSP nominees will be held on Wednesday, 7 September at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Readers can vote for Winnipeg 1912, either online ( or via a ballot box at Winnipeg Public Library branches, until 10 September.

Jim Blanchard is the Head of Reference Services at Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the University of Manitoba. He is a former president of the Manitoba Historical Society and is the editor of A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada. Both Winnipeg 1912 and Blanchard’s latest University of Manitoba Press title, Winnipeg’s Great War: A City Comes of Age, won the Manitoba Historical Society’s Margaret McWilliams Award for Popular History.

Posted: 16 August 2011

Family History Seminars in Winnipeg

The Manitoba Genealogical Society will hold its Fall Seminar and 35th Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg at Silver Heights United Church (199 Garrioch Avenue) on Friday, 30 September and Saturday, 1 October.

The seminar will feature genealogist and speaker Dave Obee (Victoria, BC) along with local speakers including author and historian Jim Blanchard, librarian Louis-Philip Bujold, geographer Howard Mathieson, technologist Mark Nelson, genealogists Colin and Elizabeth Briggs, lawyer Daniel Watts, and archivist Idelle Talbot.

For more information about the seminar program and other weekend events:

Download the seminar brochure and registration form:

The deadline for early bird registration ($100 per person) is 31 August 2011. The regular fee is $125 per person, which includes lunch on Saturday.

Posted: 2 August 2011

Canadian National Survey of Genealogy and Family History

There are so many Canadians doing genealogy and family history research now, the academic community is launching a national survey to study the phenomenon. Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa are conducting an online survey to understand why people do genealogy research, how they use online resources and in-person visits, and what they do with the information they gather.

Although the survey web site indicates the researchers are focusing on Nova Scotia, participation is open to all Canadians:

Canadian Genealogy Survey

To monitor the results and comment on the project:

Genealogy in Canada

Posted: 30 July 2011

New National Museum of Scotland Opens

A newly renovated National Museum of Scotland, on Edinburgh’s Chambers Street, will open on Friday, 29 July 2011. Featuring sixteen new galleries, a sneak preview of the museum is available on its web site:

National Museums Scotland

Posted: 27 July 2011

Historical Fiction Writing Workshop with W. D. Valgardson

Are you working on a piece of historical fiction? Spend an afternoon with other writers who share a passion for writing about past people and events. Bring along your questions and learn the finer points of turning fact into fiction, at a workshop organized by The Writers’ Collective and the Manitoba Historical Society.

The workshop will be held on Thursday, 4 August 2011, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, in the attic of Dalnavert Museum, located at 61 Carlton Street, in Winnipeg.

The workshop, organized by The Writers’ Collective and the Manitoba Historical Society in collaboration with Turnstone Press, will be led by author W. D. Valgardson, author of What the Bear Said. Valgardson is a novelist, short story writer, poet, and professor of writing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Pre-register by calling 204-786-9468 or email Karen at The cost is $20 for members of The Writers' Collective and the Manitoba Historical Society, or $40 for non-members.

Posted: 26 July 2011

McLuhan Digital Archive at the University of Manitoba

21 July 2011 marks the centenary of communications giant Marshall McLuhan’s birth. As part of worldwide celebrations of this centenary, the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has gathered articles written by McLuhan between 1930 and 1934 in The Manitoban, during his time there as a student. These articles are now the basis for a dedicated website. The articles have also been published as a special issue, volume 99, number 00, by The Manitoban.

Richard Osicki, part of The Marshall McLuhan Initiative, has stated “Virtually everything for which Marshall McLuhan became internationally renowned was already evident in his public writings as a young man living in Winnipeg and studying at the University of Manitoba.”

They have been posted on the Archives’ website at:

Copies of the special issue of The Manitoban are available at the newspaper office, the Elizabeth Dafoe Library, and Archives & Special Collections. For those outside of Winnipeg, please contact (204) 474-8293 and they will mail you a copy.

The articles are copyright of the Estate of Marshall McLuhan and are published with the support of the Estate.

For more information, contact:

Shelley Sweeney, PhD
Head, Archives & Special Collections
Phone: 204- 474-6350
Fax: 204-474-7913

Posted: 21 July 2011

Barber House Reopens

Barber House is one of Winnipeg's earliest buildings, constructed in 1862 by E. L. Barber, and continuously occupied for over one hundred years. In 1870, John Schultz fled to this house after escaping Louis Riel's forces at Upper Fort Garry. Barber, Schultz's real estate partner, smuggled him out of the colony. The house was vacant for many years and was damaged by arsonists in June 2010.

Barber House has been restored and will soon reopen as a community facility. All are invited to attend an official opening on Wednesday, 3 August at 2:00 PM. Contact Sandy Dzedzora for more information, at 204-943-0815 or

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Barber House (99 Euclid Avenue, Winnipeg)

Posted: 19 July 2011

Medd House Museum Opens in Winnipegosis

The Winnipegosis Historical Society has taken possession of a house that once belonged to physician Dr. A. E. Medd and opened it as a community museum on 9 July, while funds are raised to restore the other museum in the Village of Winnipegosis’ former railway station. The group also hopes to begin restoration of the Mrytle M, a 1920s-era wooden freighter.

The Medd House Museum will be open for tours from June to September, Tuesday to Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It is closed from noon to 1:00 PM. Tours on Saturdays and Sundays are by appointment; call Jo at 204-546-4318 or Pauline at 204-656-4273 to arrange. Admission is $4. Children under 12, when accompanied by an adult, are free.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Medd House Museum (Winnipegosis)

Posted: 15 July 2011

Kelvin High School Centennial Celebrations - 2012

Students, faculty and alumni of Kelvin High School will celebrate the school's Centenary on May 25, 26 and 27, 2012. An alumni open house on Friday, May 25 at the school will be followed by a Gala Centennial Concert at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Saturday, May 26 will see alumni open house school visits continuing during the day followed by a Gala Kelvin 100th Anniversary Reception and Dinner at the Convention Centre.

Proceeds from the centennial celebrations will create a Kelvin High Centennial Legacy Fund to benefit the school and its students in the future. The 100th anniversary website (still being developed) is at, where alumni can join the alumni list and volunteer to assist in planning or organizing the events.

Posted: 14 July 2011

National Historic Sites of Canada Cost-Sharing Program

Since the renewal of the National Historic Sites Cost-sharing Program renewal in 2009, National Historic Sites in Manitoba have been approved for more than $1.6 million dollars in funding for conservation projects. National Historic Sites which have received funding under this program have included:

Canadian Northern Railway Station, Miami
Dominion Exhibition Display Building II, Brandon
Gault Building (aka Artspace) in the Exchange District, Winnipeg
Grey Nuns' Convent (aka St. Boniface Museum), Winnipeg

To date, twelve projects in Manitoba have been approved for projects with federal contribution ranging from $9,000 - $32,277 - $54,752 - $425,000. Approved projects have ranged from modest window conservation; roof replacement; development of a conservation plan to address larger projects; to large-scale stabilisation/conservation work.

The National Historic Sites Cost-sharing Program is now releasing information for the 4th intake of the program, with a deadline of Tuesday, 1 November 2011. To qualify, the property must be a National Historic Site and must demonstrate a real need for conservation work. The total national funding available for this round is approximately $700,000 so more modest projects will likely have greater success.

More information:

L. Blair Philpott
Cultural Resource Management Officer
Manitoba Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency
401 - 25 Forks Market Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4S8
Telephone: 204-984-1759
Fax: 204-983-2221

Posted: 10 July 2011, updated 5 October 2011

Summer Events at the Old Church in St. James Cemetery

The friends of St. James Cemetery (Tylehurst and Portage Avenue, opposite Polo Park) are a group that have taken on the project of maintaining the cemetery grounds. Several weekends have been spent in caring for grounds and grave markers and they held Open Houses for Mothers Day and Fathers Day. The cemetery was part of Doors Open Winnipeg this year and received a 'Hidden Gem' Award at the Doors Open Award Presentations.

Services are held in the Old Church at the cemetery, starting at 10:00 AM, until end of August.

Summer concerts in the Old Church are held on Wednesdays, with an admission of $10 at the door:

6 July - Still Standing Band
13 July - Emma Cloney
20 July - Baltimore Road Band
27 July - Song Writers Circle
3 August - Little Operan Company
10 August - Charmaine Bacon

Those with stories about the Old Church and Cemetery are invited to submit to Hazel Birt at or 204-888-6743. For information on cemetery graves, columbarium or ash burials, contact cemetery manager Margaret Steele at or 204-837-1538. Tax-receiptable donations for the maintenance of the cemetery are gratefully received:

St. James Cemetery
195 Collegiate Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3J 1T9

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. James Anglican Church and Cemetery (Winnipeg)

Posted: 10 July 2011

The Mountie Movie Opens in Winnipeg

Filmed in Whitehorse, Yukon, and starring Andrew Walker and Jessica Paré, The Mountie tells the story of a lone Mountie who comes to town to clean up the crime and corruption after finding an innocent man dead. He discovers endless amounts of illegal activity taking place behind closed doors. Once he uncovers the men behind the crimes he prepares to take them down one by one in the most vicious showdown this town has ever seen.

The Mountie opens at the Globe Cinema (393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg) on 8 July.

More information:

The Mountie

Posted: 7 July 2011

Reminiscences from the Days of Steam Trains in Canada

Since the first trans-continental passenger train, the Pacific Express, headed west in 1886 the railway has been part of many people’s lives. For some the railway was their life. One only needs to mention The Moonlight Special, The CNR, The E&N, The CPR, The Blueberry Special, The Milk Run, or The H&SW (‘ellish Slow and Wobbly) for memories to come flooding back.

A book entitled Through the Window of a Train: A Canadian Railway Anthology has been published containing hilarious, historical, and often poignant memoirs and short stories from Canadian railway workers, their families, and train travellers across Canada. Set largely in the bygone era of steam, the book offers insight into the hearts and minds of Canadians as they went about their lives in the shadow of the railway with courage, determination, and humour.

Copies are available from McNally-Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg or toll-free from Borealis Press in Ottawa (877-696-2585). The retail price is $19.95.

More information:

Through the Window of a Train: A Canadian Railway Anthology
Borealis Press, Ottawa
ISBN 978-0-88887-391-0

Barbara Lange (editor)
(204) 667-8521

Posted: 6 July 2011

Historic Bridge Damaged by Flooding of Southwestern Manitoba

The 582-foot-long Souris Swinging Bridge, constructed across the Souris River in 1904, and now the longest suspension bridge in Canada, has been cut loose by flood-fighting crews at Souris. The bridge had been damaged during the ice breakup earlier this year and has been closed since mid-April. It had been previously damaged during the 1976 flood and had to be rebuilt at that time. The bridge is now lodged against one bank of the river and will likely remain there until after the flood abates, when it will be rebuilt.

See also:

“Iconic swinging bridge cut in Souris” by William Burr, Winnipeg Free Press Online, 3 July 2011.

Stroll Across Our Swinging Bridge by Mrs. V. H. Sangwine
Manitoba Pageant, April 1957

Posted: 3 July 2011

Ukrainian-Canadian Women to be Honoured with New Statue

A provincial commitment of up to $100,000 will help to build a statue at the Selo Ukraina Site in Dauphin, home to Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival (CNUF), that will honour the accomplishments of Ukrainian-Canadian women, Culture, Tourism and Heritage Minister Flor Marcelino announced yesterday.

“This statue will be built in a place for all to see and enjoy,” said Marcelino. “Our government is proud to show support for this very important and symbolic initiative.”

“As a Ukrainian-Canadian woman, it’s with great pride I support this announcement today, on behalf of all honourable members of our government,” said Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk said today. “The Selo Ukraina site is the perfect location for this monument, as it's a site focused on the preservation of Ukrainian heritage and culture.”

Wowchuk was speaking at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg today where she was joined by Dr. Ihor Ostash, ambassador of Ukraine to Canada.

The minister noted that, earlier this year, the government introduced legislation that would designate the last Saturday in July as Manitoba Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day. The designated day would fall during the weekend festival of CNUF which is in its 46th year. The festival runs 29 to 31 July.

Last summer, the province unveiled a painting by Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski commemorating the Holodomor years of 1932 to 1933. The art work was originally purchased by Manitoba for the provincial art collection in 2008 to recognize the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Holomodor-Holocaust. It is now permanently on display at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

Posted: 3 July 2011

Jewish Pioneers of Winkler and Morden to be Commemorated

As part of the “All Nations Bless Israel” international conference being held at Winkler from 28 to 31 July, a session will be held on 29 July (7:00 PM) to commemorate the Jewish pioneers of the Morden and Winkler area. A special honouring service will include guest speakers from the Jewish community as well as MP Candace Hoeppner bringing greetings on behalf of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Conference organizers are attempting to locate descendants of those pioneers to invite them to participate in this session. Pamela Funk, a director and founder of Sweet Spirit Ministeries Canada, and one of the organizers of this session, has photographed the Jewish headstones in the Morden Cemetery.

Those with Jewish roots in the Winkler or Morden areas are invited to contact Ms. Funk at Among them are members of the Buchwald, Danzker, Gladstone, Goldberg, Greenblatt, Nitikman, Safeer, Silver, and Sirluck families.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pioneer Jewish Settlers of Winkler Monument (Winkler)

Posted: 3 July 2011, updated 4 July 2011

Desjarlais Historical Trail Maps Online

In the summer of 1971, five students under the guidance of Walter Hlady located and mapped a lost historical trail in western Manitoba. Called the Desjarlais Trail, Turkey Trail, or Glass Trail (for the abundance of broken European china and glass along its route), the trail ran east-west from Lake Manitoba to the Rolling River Reserve near Erickson.

Now, the fruits of that trail rediscovery project have been put online by Bill Dayholos, one of the five students. His seven topographic maps can be viewed and downloaded from

Dayholos notes:

“There is no way of knowing how old this trail dates but its popularity grew after Indian Reserve Treaty No 2 was signed on August 21, 1871. This was about the same time as European settlers using Red River carts settled the area. The trail provided a marked route to follow and a way around ponds, lakes, ravines, and hills.”

Posted: 23 June 2011

Seven Oaks Monument to be Restored

It was announced today that the Canadian federal government, the Province of Manitoba, and City of Winnipeg will collaborate in the restoration of the Seven Oaks Monument in north Winnipeg. The federal and provincial governments will each contribute $35,000 and the city will improve streets around it. Winnipeg designer Heather Cram will assist with the project, which commemorates the 200th anniversary, in 2012, of the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers at the site of Winnipeg.

The Seven Oaks Monument commemorates the confrontation on 19 June 1816 between Robert Semple, Governor of the Red River Settlement, and about 26 men, and a brigade of North West Company men led by the young Métis clerk Cuthbert Grant. The monument, erected by the Manitoba Historical Society in 1891, is the oldest historic marker in Western Canada.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Seven Oaks Monument (Main Street, Winnipeg)

Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Douglas, Fifth Earl of Selkirk [Lord Selkirk] (1771-1820)

Seven Oaks: An Account of the Affair of Seven Oaks; and a Report of Proceedings of the Gathering for the Unveiling of the “Seven Oaks Monument,” June 19th, 1891 by George Bryce and Charles N. Bell
MHS Transaction, Series 1, No. 45, 1891

Posted: 23 June 2011

Winnipeg Jets Memorabilia at University of Manitoba Archives

A remarkable collection of Winnipeg Jets memorabilia has been unveiled to the public at the University of Manitoba.

A donor has presented to the University a collection of 741 Jets hockey programs which almost exclusively chronicle the home games of the team for the period December 1975 to April 1996. A selection of these programs, many of which are autographed, will be on display to the public on the main floor of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the Fort Garry Campus from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

The Winnipeg Jets played in both the World Hockey Association (WHA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1972 to 1996. Due to mounting financial troubles, in 1996 the franchise moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and became the current Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. This extensive run of programs offers a historical record of the players, including those of WHA teams, such as: Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson, and later NHL stars including Thomas Steen, Dale Hawerchuk, Randy Carlyle and Teemu Selanne; and individual hockey games and the management of the team.

In addition, the display includes photographs of Winnipeg Jets players and action shots that are part of the Winnipeg Tribune collection held in the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections Department. Many of these materials have been scanned and are available online at:

Posted: 22 June 2011

Bannatyne School Centenary - Help Wanted

École Bannatyne School (363 Thompson Drive, Winnipeg) will celebrate its 100th anniversary in May 2012. The organizing committee is asking for school alumni to share stories, memorabilia, photographs of classes and events, newspaper clippings, school clothing, sports jerseys, and other historical information.

Stories can be emailed to Those with class photos or pictures from school-related events should supply a scan or copy, not the original. Clothing and sports jerseys need to be clearly labeled with a name and contact information to ensure a safe return. Memorabilia can be dropped off at the school during regular hours, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM after Monday, 22 August 2011. Call the school at 204-888-1101.

Information about the100th anniversary and online registration will be posted soon to the school website:

A two-day celebration will occur on Friday, 4 May 2012 (adults only) and Sunday, 6 May 2012 (families).

Posted: 22 June 2011

New Monument in Brandon Commemorates Chinese Head Tax

A monument by noted Manitoba sculptor Peter Sawatzky, commemorating the Chinese Head Tax, will be unveiled in a public ceremony at the Brandon Municipal Cemetery on Sunday, 26 June at 1:00 PM.

From 1885 to 1923, the Canadian government severely restricted and then effectively eliminated the immigration of Chinese people to Canada. A “head tax” of $50 for Chinese immigrants entering Canada was imposed effective 1 January 1886. The amount was increased to $100 in 1900, and to $500 in 1903. Between 1885 and 1924, 82,380 Chinese immigrants entering Canada paid $22.5 million in head taxes. The tax made it nearly impossible for Chinese men to bring their wives, children or parents to Canada. On 1 July 1923, called “Humiliation Day” by Chinese Canadians, a new Chinese Immigrant Act virtually excluded Chinese immigration to Canada, and legalized the inferior status of Chinese people already in the country. Special permits were allowed, but qualifications were so stringent that only eight Chinese immigrants were admitted to Canada between 1924 and 1946. Although the Act was repealed in May 1947, remaining restrictions on Chinese immigration were not removed completely until 1967. In June 2006, the Government of Canada apologized to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and exclusion legislation.

The monument was commissioned by the Westman Chinese Association with financial support from the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, City of Brandon, Rotary Club of Brandon, Whitehead Foundation, and various private donors.

For more information, visit

See also:

Early Chinese Settlers in Western Manitoba by Alison R. Marshall
Manitoba History, Number 62, Winter 2009

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Chinese Head Tax Monument (Municipal Cemetery, Brandon)

Posted: 19 June 2011, updated 2 August 2011

Summer Programming at Transcona Historical Museum

The Transcona Historical Museum has announced its summer slate of activities, starting with its 9th Annual KidsQuest beginning on 2 Jujly. This self-led Scavenger Hunt interweaves history and fun and runs to 27 August. Booklets can be picked up from the Museum, Monday through Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The suggested donation for the activity is $1.

The museum is also introducing a free Drop-In program throughout July and August. The themed Drop-In intermingles crafts and stories every Wednesday and Saturday between 1:00 and 4:00 PM. Kids from five to twelve are encouraged to learn about their own community in a new and exciting way!

In conjunction with the Transcona BIZ Market Garden, every Thursday beginning 7 July at 2:30 PM, the museum will lead a free Historical Walking Tour in downtown Transcona. The walk lasts about an hour and features archival photographs to highlight the development of the area.

For more information, contact the museum:

Transcona Historical Museum
141 Regent Avenue West
Phone: 204-222-0423

Posted: 18 June 2011

Cairn to be Erected at School Site Near Balmoral

A group at Balmoral, Manitoba is hosting a fundraiser for a cairn in commemoration of Greenridge School No. 211, which operated in the vicinity of Balmoral from 1884 to 1914. A dedication ceremony will be held at the school site later this year, where a cairn will be unveiled. The cairn will consist of a black granite bench with all student names inscribed on the back and a plaque on a large granite stone commemorating the site.

The fundraiser will feature a roast beef dinner at 5:30 PM, followed by bluegrass and gospel music performed by the Harbour View Mountain Boys at 6:15 PM, then a live auction at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available at $15 per person, and must be reserved by Monday, 20 June. For tickets, call Merlin Shoesmith at 204-222-4651 or 204-793-0247.

For more information, including a list of students who attended Greenridge School through the years, and how you can donate to this project, visit

Posted: 16 June 2011

New Issue of Manitoba History Available Online

The latest issue of Manitoba History (Number 66, Spring 2011) is now available for download from the MHS Members Area.

Printed copies will be mailed to members and delivered to bookstores in late June, pending prompt resolution of strike action at Canada Post.

Articles in this issue:

Political Leadership and Democracy in Manitoba: The Roblin Era and Beyond
by Paul G. Thomas

From Nose Sprays to Nursing Shortages: Managing Epidemic Polio in Manitoba, 1928-1953
by Leah Morton

“Essentially a Women’s Work”: Reform, Empire and The Winnipeg Children’s Hospital, 1909-1925
by Greg Di Cresce

“Fresh Air for Kiddies”: The Fresh Air Camps of Lake Winnipeg
by James Burns and Gordon Goldsborough

A Remedy for Wooden Legs and Dead Hands: The Early Years of the Winnipeg Foundation
by Gordon Goldsborough

Book Review: Belle Millo (editor), Voices of Winnipeg Holocaust Survivors
by Alexander Freund

Cool Things in the Collection: Lorene Squire: Wildlife and Northern Photographs in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
by Debra Moore and Bronwen Quarry

Single copies of Manitoba History are available for purchase at select locations.

Posted: 15 June 2011

New Book on Ukrainian History in Canada

The University of Toronto Press has published a new book entitled Re-Imagining Ukrainian-Canadians: History, Politics, and Identity edited by Rhonda Hinther and Jim Mochoruk.

Ukrainian immigrants to Canada have often been portrayed in history as sturdy pioneer farmers cultivating the virgin land of the Canadian west. The essays in this collection challenge this stereotype by examining the varied experiences of Ukrainian-Canadians in their day-to-day roles as writers, intellectuals, national organizers, working-class wage earners, and inhabitants of cities and towns. Collectively, the essays challenge the older, essentialist definition of what it means to be Ukrainian-Canadian.

This volume features the work of Karen Gabert, Lindy A. Ledohowski, Peter Melnycky, Jars Balan, Orest T. Martynowych, Jaroslav Petryshyn, Serge Cipko, Rhonda L. Hinther, Jennifer Anderson, Jim Mochoruk, Andrij Makuch, S. Holyck Hunchuck, and Stacey Zembrzycki.

The book will be launched at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg) on Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 7:00 PM, in the Atrium. All are welcome to attend this free event.

More information:

Re-Imagining Ukrainian-Canadians: History, Politics, and Identity
University of Toronto Press
ISBN 9781442610620

Posted: 15 June 2011

Human Rights Museums Offers Site Tours

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is still under construction but it is already welcoming visitors, via free tours around the perimeter of the construction site. Tours run from Thursday to Sunday, from 28 May to 4 September 2011. Tours are given at four times daily: 9:15 AM, 10:30 AM (French), 1:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. They are able to accommodate 25 participants per tour time. This tour is suitable for grade 11 and 12 students as well as adults.

For more information or to reserve a spot on one of the free tours, visit them at the Explore Manitoba Centre at The Forks or contact them at:

Telephone: 204-289-2016
TTY: 204-289-2050

Posted: 15 June 2011

Fossil Researcher Seeks Information on Old Railway Cut in Southwestern Manitoba

In the 1880s, the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway constructed a line in the vicinity of Miami, Manitoba. In the course of railway construction, it made a cut over 200 feet wide and a quarter mile long through shale beds.

Today, a researcher at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden has been doing excavations along this abandoned railway cut and has found them to contain impressive fossils. He is seeking information, including construction documents and written or oral accounts of railway construction workers. If fossils were found at this site during the 1880s, this would represent the first known discovery of vertebrate fossils in Manitoba and would add to a new chapter to the province’s paleontological history.

Anyone having information on the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway, specifically on its construction activities in southwestern Manitoba during the 1880s, is asked to contact:

Joseph Hatcher
Assistant Curator
Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

Posted: 15 June 2011

New Brandon Museum Has First Exhibit

The Brandon General Museum and Archives will receive one of its first exhibits, furniture used in 1892 by the City of Brandon Council, as a loan from Daly House Museum. The mission of the new museum in Brandon, which will open later this summer, is “to collect, conserve, study, exhibit and interpret historic and heritage materials relating to the City of Brandon and its place within the history of Southwestern Manitoba.” In April of this year, the new museum has leased space in a building at 19 Ninth Street. Admission to the museum will be free.

For more information about the Brandon General Museum and Archives, contact:

Leanne Petrin
Coordinator, Brandon General Museum and Archive Inc.
410 – 9th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6A2
Phone: 204-729-2254

Posted: 11 June 2011

Victorian Garden Under Construction at Brandon Museum

Daly House Museum in Brandon announces that the first phase of construction for its Victorian Garden began on 16 May, with the installation of 150 feet of wrought iron fence at the front of the property along 18th Street. On 6 June, top soil from the yard was removed and further construction will continue over the summer with the installation of pavers and stone pillars, light standards, and the basic outline of garden beds. Since 2009, when the project was initiated, museum volunteers have been raising funds and planning the construction schedule. They have raised $30,000 so far, including $17,000 from Neighborhoods Alive and $5,000 from Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation. These funds were used to purchase further fencing to be installed this summer.

New fence at Daly House Museum, Brandon (June 2011).
Source: Daly House Museum.

Posted: 11 June 2011

Margaret McWilliams Awards Presented

At its Annual General Meeting today, the Manitoba Historical Society presented Margaret McWilliams Awards to the authors of award-winning books on Manitoba history published in 2010.

Barry Ferguson accepts a Margaret McWilliams Award from President Harry W. Duckworth for the book that he co-edited with Robert Wardhaugh entitled Manitoba Premiers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, published by the Canadian Plains Research Centre.

Catharina de Bakker, Managing Editor of Great Plains Publications, accepts a Margaret McWilliams Award from President Harry W. Duckworth for the book written by Russ Gourluck entitled The Mosaic Village: An Illustrated History of Winnipeg’s North End.

Jim Blanchard accepts a Margaret McWilliams Award from President Harry W. Duckworth for his book Winnipeg’s Great War: A City Comes of Age, published by the University of Manitoba Press.

Posted: 4 June 2011

Centennial Awards Presented

At its Annual General Meeting today, the Manitoba Historical Society presented Centennial Organization Awards to two organizations that have operated continuously in Manitoba for over 100 years: Brandon YWCA and Lord Roberts School. At the same ceremony, a Centennial Business Award was presented to Quintex Services Limited.

Nickole Wlasichuk, Executive Assistant of the Brandon YWCA, accepts an MHS Centennial Organization Award from President Harry W. Duckworth.

Bobbi Jo Panciera, Clerk at Lord Roberts School, accepts an MHS Centennial Organization Award from President Harry W. Duckworth.

David Quinton, President of Quintex Services Limited, accepts an MHS Centennial Business Award from President Harry W. Duckworth.

Posted: 4 June 2011

Manitoba Historical Society Elects New Council and Executive Committee

At its Annual General Meeting today, the Manitoba Historical Society elected nine members to its governing council and selected a new Executive Committee under incoming President Annabelle Mays.

Elected to the MHS Council for three-years terms were: Wayne Arseny, Francis Carroll, Tom Ford, Jim Ingebrigtsen, Carl James, James Kostuchuk, Samuel Matheson, Annabelle Mays, and Carol Scott. They join other elected councillors serving out the remainders of their respective terms. A full list of councillors is here.

Elected to the MHS Executive Committee for one-year terms were the following:

Dr. Annabelle Mays, President
James Kostuchuk, First Vice-President
Samuel Matheson, Second Vice-President
Dr. Harry Duckworth, Past-President
Dr. Gwyneth Jones, Treasurer
Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, Secretary
Dennis Butcher, Member-At-Large
Joyce Wawrykow, Member-At-Large

Posted: 4 June 2011

YouTube: “Duff Roblin is the Man for South Centre”

This rare audio recording is an interview with the late Duff Roblin, made during the 1968 federal election campaign in which he was defeated by Liberal E. B. Osler.

Posted: 4 June 2011

Help Wanted: Museum Curatorial Assistant/Interpreter (Seasonal)

The Manitoba Historical Society Dalnavert Museum is seeking two summer students to assist with summer programming and interpretive planning, as well as guest services, museum interpretation, and curatorial activities. Duties will include: learning about the historic relevance of Dalnavert and relaying information to guests in a clear and welcoming manner through interpretive tours, and curatorial and conservational duties as required. The two candidates will also be asked to perform one of the following: 1) historical research and writing for an audio tour script or 2) creating and delivering programs for youth and adults.

The Manitoba Historical Society Dalnavert Museum is a Municipal, Provincial, and National Historic Site located in downtown Winnipeg. The Museum is the former home of Sir Hugh John Macdonald, Manitoba Premier and son of Sir John A. Macdonald. Dalnavert has been restored to depict the lifestyle of an affluent Winnipeg family in 1895.

Applicants must be students under the age of 30 intending to return to school in the fall. This position pays $9.50/hour plus vacation pay, 35 hours/week, until 27 August 2011. Some experience or education in history, education, or other related fields is required.

Please apply via email. To apply, please send a letter of interest and resume to Chief Program Officer and Curator, Jennifer Bisch, at

Posted: 29 May 2011

Archivist Hired for University Program

The University of Manitoba has announced that Dr. Greg Bak, formerly Senior Digital Archivist at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, has been hired to a teaching position in its Archival Studies Program, effective 1 July 2011.

At LAC, Bak led major initiatives on digital preservation, metadata management and Web 2.0. He was business lead for the development of the government records component of LAC’s Trusted Digital Repository and team leader of LAC’s Core Archival Metadata Project, a project that created a core metadata set for the transfer of EDRMS-derived records to LAC. Bak has written on digital preservation in Archival Science, archival metadata in Tabula, and on archives and Web 2.0 on the LAC website. He has also published on search filter assessment in Health Information and Libraries Journal. He is a Canadian delegate to the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) subcommittee on recordkeeping. Before joining LAC, Bak worked as a curator of rare books at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Libraries and as an information specialist for the HIV/AIDS affiliate of the Canadian Health Network and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Bak holds a PhD in cross-cultural history (on Anglo-Islamic relations 1575-1625) and a Master’s of Library and Information Science, both from Dalhousie University. His research has been published in North American and European historical and library studies journals and he has published a book based on his doctoral dissertation titled Barbary Pirate: The Life and Crimes of Captain John Ward (Sutton 2006).

Among his primary duties in the Archival Studies program will be teaching and research in all aspects of digital archiving and records and information management, guiding the development of an Aboriginal archiving speciality, and exploring the archival dimensions of human rights work.

The University also announced that Dr. Terry Cook, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, will remain on the faculty of the program as Adjunct Professor. Cook taught part-time in the program between 1998 and 2010.

Posted: 24 May 2011, updated 29 May 2011

Government House Ceremony Recognizes Five

In a ceremony at Government House on 17 May, Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee recognized five Manitobans for their contributions to the preservation and promotion of Manitoba history.

Front (L-R): Harry Duckworth, Anita Lee, Philip S. Lee, Gordon Goldsborough
Back(L-R): Mary McCallum, Les Green, Rudy Friesen, Len Van Roon, Margaret Ashcroft

Posted: 18 May 2011

Lieutenant Governor Recognizes Manitobans for Historical Service

Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee will present awards to five Manitobans for their prolonged, meritorious service in the preservation and promotion of the province’s rich history and heritage at Government House on Tuesday, 17 May:

  • Margaret Ashcroft (Birtle)
  • Rudy Friesen (St. François Xavier)
  • Les Green (Portage la Prairie)
  • Mary McCallum (Boissevain)
  • Len Van Roon (Winnipeg)

“I am very impressed by the contributions made by these hard-working Manitobans, which have included volunteering at local museums; organization of school essay contests; preparation of history books, displays, and newspaper columns; service on local heritage advisory committees; cataloguing of local cemeteries and commemoration of historic sites; and development of historical walking tours,” said Lee.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion was established in 2010 and is presented annually in consultation with the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS). Founded in 1879, the MHS 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.

The MHS receives award nominations from the public and recommends up to five people to receive the Lieutenant Governor’s awards each year. Nominations are welcome at any time. Those received by 31 March 2012 will be considered for presentation around Manitoba Day 2012.

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.

Posted: 16 May 2011

Agricultural Exhibition Building to be Renovated

At the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon Premier Greg Selinger announced a $450,000 grant for the refurbishment and renovation of the Dominion Exhibition Display Buildling II, an historic dome building. Selinger said, “This building is a cultural treasure that holds historical significance to Manitoba’s agricultural heritage”. Provincial Exhibition President Neil Thomson said that the grant will enable completion of phase 1 of the renovation project and to work on the exterior and interior projects planned for phase 2.

Posted: 14 May 2011, updated 15 June 2011

Wanted: RM of Cartier History

The Rural Municipality of Cartier is planning a history book for the municipality’s centennial celebrations in 2014. A previous 858-page history, Treasures of Time; The Rural Municipality of Cartier 1914–1984 was originally published in 1989. Volume 2 will be basically a continuation through the next 25 years, possibly with the inclusion of any notable omissions from Volume 1. People interested in helping with the production of this book are asked to contact the municipal office.

Posted: 14 May 2011

125th Anniversary of Brandon Research Centre

The Brandon Research Centre will celebrate its 125th anniversary on 11 August 2011. There will be an open house from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. The centre was one of the original five experimental farms set up by the federal government in 1886. Today it has 17 research scientists and a total staff of 77.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Shoal Lake History Web Site

The history of the town of Shoal Lake comes alive on a website created by Shoal Lake resident and writer Reid Dickie. The site has 77 stories and feature articles and over 100 photographs. The Crossroads weekly newspaper reports that Dickie welcomes others to add new and fresh material. Described as “a virtual Shoal Lake Historical Society”, Dickie hopes that people from Oakburn and Kelloe will also submit material on their communities for the site.

Shoal Lake History

Posted: 14 May 2011

Prairie Mountain Regional Museum

The Prairie Mountain Regional Museum, adjacent to Highway 16 between Shoal Lake and Strathclair, highlights rural life and the importance of horse-drawn vehicles along the Fort Ellice Trail and throughout the Prairie Mountain Region of southwestern Manitoba from 1870 to 1940.

Last year, museum volunteers installed siding, soffit and fascia on the main wood framed museum building, known as the Clegg Building. Crossroads, the local weekly journal, reports that plumbing, heating and electrical work must be done at a cost of about $114,423 but only $77,200 has been set aside. Fundraising for the project is ongoing. An additional $121,215 will be required to complete with volunteer labour the fourth stage of the project. The museum will house the Clegg Carriage collection, which was initiated by Gladys and Rollie Clegg of Arrow River in 1975. The collection of antique horse drawn vehicles is recognized in Manitoba and throughout Canada. This is a collection of over 90 fully restored horse drawn vehicles including a First World War ambulance, summer and winter hearse, stagecoach, surrey with a fringe, sleighs and cutters, and many more.

Expansion of the existing heritage village is planned. One of the most popular buildings is the Olha School. This year the Menzie Orthodox Church will be moved to the museum site. The museum board hopes that it will become “a hub of tourism and cultural activities” in the region. For more information visit To view photos of the Clegg collection visit and search ”A Prairie Mountain Promenade.”

Posted: 14 May 2011, updated 1 April 2012

Russell History Book in Preparation

In 2010, the Russell and Area Heritage and Arts History Book Committee published its first volume of the Russell and Area History Book. This volume focused on the lives of families. A second volume is in preparation. It will concentrate on the history of businesses, churches and organizations. A New Horizons grant of over $16,000 will help pay production costs with a publication deadline of 1 September. To meet this deadline the book needs to be finished and sent to print by mid-June. The deadline for submitting material is 1 May. Submission for the second volume may be sent to committee’s website,

Posted: 14 May 2011

New Heritage Museum in Winkler

The Winkler Heritage Society passed a motion to create the new Winkler Heritage Museum at its meeting in March. It will open in its temporary location of 752 square feet in the Southland Mall in August 2011. The Winkler Times states that the need for a Winkler museum has been felt for a long time. A core of exhibits will be on permanent display. Other exhibits will change in different seasons of the year. People are encouraged to donate or loan relevant artefacts, newspaper clippings, photos and documents to the museum. Financial contributions to the Winkler Heritage Society for the museum project are welcome and tax-deductable receipts will be issued.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Virden Theatre Centenary

Virden’s Auditorium Theatre will be one hundred years old on 29 February 2012. The auditorium opened in 1912 as a 500-seat opera house. Several commemorative events are being considered for the centennial year. One planned event is a fashion show with costumes from the Costume Closet. The Virden Empire Advance reports that the Auditorium Theatre Board would like public input as they plan for the centennial celebrations.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Opening of Stonewall Heritage Centre Delayed

The completion of the Quarry Heritage Arts Centre in Stonewall will be delayed about four weeks because of water damage in the lower and upper levels when a pipe burst during a test of the sprinkler system. Drywall, flooring ceiling and some electrical equipment will be replaced and some repainting will be required. The interpretive centre is now expected to open on 1 July.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Wanted: History of Wolflea School

A group has been formed to gather information on the history of Wolflea School north of Souris, in the Rural Municipality of Glenwood. The school operated from 1890 to 1944. A historical marker on the site of the school was unveiled in 1996. The group is looking for memorabilia, more information, and pictures to include in a history of the school. Please send information to Wolflea History, Box 251, Souris, Manitoba, R0K 2C0.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Thompson Trading Post Discovered

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Manitoba government archaeologists believe they have discovered David Thompson’s missing trading post in northern Manitoba. Thompson at 22 years of age built his first HBC fur trade post in 1792 at Sipiwesk Lake on the Nelson River north of Cross Lake. Last summer a Manitoba Hydro crew discovered two piles of rocks that were exposed by a small forest fire. Manitoba government archaeologists believe the rock piles were the remains of chimneys from two log cabins that were at Thompson’s trading post. A crew of Cross Lake First Nation students, led by provincial archaeologist Perry Blomquist, within a day and a half easily found 1,400 artefacts. These included brass wire, clay pipe fragments, a knife blade, an axehead, beads, broken glass from kerosene-lamp flutes and a tinderbox. A careful digging for more artefacts will begin in June 2011.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Winkler Post Office May Become Municipal Heritage Site

Pembina Valley Online reports that Winkler city council has given first and second reading to a by-law to designate the Winkler Post Office building at the corner of Mountain Avenue and Sixth Street as a municipal heritage site. After the bylaw is passed locally, the Province of Manitoba will give final approval making the designation official. After the designation, the building cannot be destroyed or substantially modified without approval of the designating authority.

Posted: 14 May 2011

Margaret McWilliams Awards: 2010 Winners

The following are the 2010 winners for Margaret McWilliams Awards, one of the oldest literary awards in Canada, named in honour of writer Margaret McWilliams. Books nominated for this award have been published during the 2010 calendar year. The Manitoba Historical Society congratulates the authors and publishers of all books short-listed in this year’s program.

Manitoba Premiers of the 19th and 20th Centuries

edited by Barry Ferguson and Robert Wardhaugh
Canadian Plains Research Centre

More information on this book here

The Mosaic Village: An Illustrated History of Winnipeg’s North End

by Russ Gourluck
Great Plains Publications

More information on this book here


Winnipeg’s Great War: A City Comes of Age

by Jim Blanchard
University of Manitoba Press

More information on this book here


The awards will be presented on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 1:00 PM, at a ceremony at the Dalnavert Museum Visitors Centre (61 Carlton Street, Winnipeg) during the Annual General Meeting of the Manitoba Historical Society.

Posted: 12 May 2011

Noted Prairie Journalist and Historian Dies

Well-known prairie journalist and popular historian Fred McGuinness died in Brandon on 22 March. He was born in Brandon in 1921. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War. A serious injury ended his wartime service and he studied in Winnipeg at St. Paul’s College, United College and the University of Manitoba. He began his newspaper career as editor and publisher of the Medicine Hat News. In 1966, he transferred to the Brandon Sun where he spent the next 30 years as writer, editor and vice president. In addition to writing and administration at the Sun, he was writer-commentator on the weekly CBC “Neighbourly News from the Prairies” for 20 years. McGuinness was also a regular correspondent for the radio program “Morningside” He was the editor or co-editor of a dozen books on social history and he wrote feature articles for the Readers Digest. For three years, he was executive director of the Saskatchewan Golden Jubilee and in 1967 was a director of the Canadian Centennial Commission. MHS was honoured to have him give the address at the MHS annual dinner in 1980.

Posted: 12 May 2011

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