Manitoba Historical Society
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Lieutenant Governor Announces 2019 History Award Recipients

On 9 May 2019, Lieutenant-Govenor Janice Filmon presented awards at Government House to five Manitobans for their prolonged, meritorious service in the preservation and promotion of the province’s rich history and heritage. They were:




Barry Bills

Portage la Prairie

Though he now resides in Brandon, Barry Bills spent many years in high-school English and history classes at Portage la Prairie. In addition to engaging his students to learn about local history, he and one of them wrote a book to mark over 100 years of history at Portage Collegiate. For over 20 years, he served as a member and Chair of the Portage la Prairie Heritage Advisory Committee, resulting in two inventories of heritage homes, an inventory of heritage businesses, and identification of heritage sites in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie. They prepared brochures for tours, advocated for a municipal bylaw to protect heritage spaces, and a policy to name streets after noteworthy persons. Mr. Bills was a founding member and Treasurer of Portage la Prairie Heritage Inc. where he was active in efforts to purchase the Arthur Meighen residence and in the 15-year “Save the CP Station” project that opened officially in November 2018. If this was not enough, he was a volunteer archivist for the Portage la Prairie Regional Library, and participated in a 14-year project to research the history of Delta Marsh.

Jim Blanchard


Jim Blanchard was a librarian at the University of Manitoba for over 22 years where he used his considerable skill at research for the benefit of scores of students and academics. He has been an active member of the MHS, serving as Chair of its McWilliams Award Committee in the early 1990s, President (2000-2002), and Co-Chair of the Dalnavert Museum Management Committee (2004-2005). Mr. Blanchard’s keen interest in Winnipeg history and his droll sense of humour are evident in two award-winning books that he has written, and will no doubt continue in a third book to be published in Fall 2019. He has also written book chapters, including one on the life of early Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin, along with numerous magazine and journal articles, newspaper columns, and book reviews. Most recently, he has been a staunch advocate for the reopening of the City of Winnipeg Archives in its former home in the Carnegie Library on William Avenue.

Diane Dubé

St. Georges

It is widely acknowledged that Diane Dubé is the driving force behind the St. Georges Museum, having been its director and curator since 2009. Like a phoenix that arises from its ashes, the museum has rebounded from a disastrous arson fire in 2014, as Ms. Dubé has led the salvaging and restoration of its damaged collections, spearheaded campaigns to raise funds for its reopening as the Winnipeg River Museum, and coordinated the rebuilding of its infrastructure in a magnificent new structure overlooking the river. Her exemplary community service and volunteerism have been recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and a Travel Manitoba Volunteer of the Year Award (2014).

Maralyn MacKay-Hussain


Dr. MacKay-Hussain has been a long-time volunteer at the Costume Museum of Canada from the time when it was situated at Dugald. After three years in Winnipeg, the museum ran into hard times and was forced to close its doors in 2010. It was at this difficult time that Dr. MacKay-Hussain took on the role of President, serving with perseverance and dedication. Without a home for the museum’s vast collection of over 35,000 artifacts, she helped to find storage to maintain its security and preservation, while working to put the museum back on a firm financial footing. She assisted in the development of travelling exhibits that demonstrate that success can be achieved by reversing the traditional role of a museum: rather than people going to the museum, the museum comes to them. Although she relinquished the Presidency in 2017, Dr. MacKay-Hussain remains an active member of the museum’s Board of Trustees.

Bruce Tascona

Pilot Mound

Bruce Tascona has been an extremely active researcher and advocate for the military history of Manitoba since the 1980s. He was the founding President of the Military History Society of Manitoba and also serves as its Archivist/Librarian. He has also been Archivist for the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Museum and a Director for the Legion House Museum. Many of us have come to know Mr. Tascona through his pioneering work at the site of Camp Hughes, a First World War training site west of Carberry. Not only has he been active in studying the site, he has been instrumental in its designation as a provincial historic site (2004) and national historic site (2011). Mr. Tascona shares his passion through the development of interactive events and school programs, including re-enactments of military events in period costume, including the Manitoba World War One Museum at his rural home property. He has authored or co-authored nine books and numerous pamphlets on military history.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion was established in 2011 and is presented annually in consultation with the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS).

The MHS receives award nominations from the public and recommends up to five people to receive awards each year. Nominations are welcome at any time.

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

Page revised: 9 May 2019

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