Manitoba Business: Lake Winnipeg Shipping and Supply Company / Lake Winnipeg Shipping Company
Federally incorporated on 23 September 1910 as the Lake Winnipeg Shipping and Supply Company, this commercial enterprise was headquartered in Winnipeg and overseen by provisional directors E. Bickerdyke [Bickerdike], J. Siderfin, R. Siderfin, A. D. Robertson, D. Howetson [Howatson], and C. S. Scott. With a total capital stock of $1 million, the company planned to specialize in general shipping, shipwright, freight transport, and dredging. Within six months, the company reorganized as the Lake Winnipeg Shipping Company with a capital stock of $500,000, though maintaining similar commercial intentions. Announced in The Manitoba Gazette in early March 1911, its shareholders were E. Bickerdike, R. Siderfin, W. J. Allen, D. Howatson, and C. S. Scott. Senior company staff included Fred W. Smith (Assistant General Manager), William Killey (Secretary-Treasurer), S.S. Smith (Sales and Credit Manager), Clifford Sifton (General Superintendent), and J. E. Cavanagh (Superintendent), with Hugh Sutherland as President.
The company, formed in part with the resources of the Eli Sand Company (formerly the Gunn Sand Company) and the William Robinson Company, planned to use steam-powered ships to carry natural resources from sites around Lake Winnipeg down the Red River to Selkirk, through the newly built St. Andrews Locks, and on to Winnipeg.
A head office was established in the Tribune Building and branch offices were opened in Fort Rouge on McMillan Avenue, and in St. James on Richmond Street. In January 1911, a large dock was built at the foot of Water Street (now the site of the Provencher Bridge) and, two years later, it was extended by 475 feet. In November 1911, the company commissioned the construction of four 1,000-ton barges to carry sand, gravel, rubble, stone, lime, cement, wood, hardwall, wood-fibre plaster, and fire brick. Drafting some nine feet deep, the barge count grew to at least six by 1912, and to 11 by September 1913. To haul the cargo-laden barges, the company acquired or built several steam ships, including the deeper draft Granite Rock, Phyllis Williams, and City of St. Boniface, and the shallow water tug Idell. As of 1912, the firm employed 80 teams of animals and some 150 men with its steam derricks, three locomotives, and three 7-ton Commer dump-truck motor vehicles at its docking and mining operations.
Locations from which materials were acquired included northern sites such as Warren’s Landing and Playgreen Lake, and closer sites such as gravel quarries near Birds Hill. At Granite Island, two massive crushers were capable of processing 200 tons of rock per hour. In its first year of operation, the company delivered abut 175,000 tons of building materials to Winnipeg, at a rate of about 6,000 tons per week during the seven-month period of navigable open waters on Lake Winnipeg.
The company eventually lost its commercial market with the introduction of prefabricated building materials and shortage of labour during the First World War. It faded from prominence but remained in operation into 1920, when in May the company purchased the old Provencher Bridge as scrap for $600. Within a year, its assets were liquidated. In 1924, the granite crushers were bought by W. J. Holmes at a cost of $300,000 and shipped back to Winnipeg for use by the Sterling Engine Company.
“Opposition to demand inquiry into sand scandal,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 March 1909, page 1.
“Development along the river front,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 September 1910, page 29.
“Million dollar company formed,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 September 1910, page 1.
“Million dollar co.” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 September 1910, page 6.
“Notice - in the matter of the Navigable Waters Protection,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 January 1911, page 6.
“New companies,” Manitoba Free Press, 6 March 1911, page 9.
“Sand Company branching out,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 March 1911, page 22.
“Winnipeg Board of Trade demands,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 November 1911, page 5.
“Lake Winnipeg Shipping,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 June 1912, page 11.
“Companies seek incorporation,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 January 1913, page 16.
“Extend dockage,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 June 1913, page 24.
“Prevents use of motor trucks on Provincial Highways,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 June 1913, page 21.
“Crushed granite brought in from Lake Winnipeg,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 September 1913, page 1.
“Discovery of big granite deposit,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 September 1913, page 21.
“Patriotic picnic,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 July 1915, page 7.
“The Lake Winnipeg Shipping Co., Limited,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 September 1915, page 85.
“Marion Street Bridge repairs authorized,” Manitoba Free Press, 26 May 1920, page 7.
“Dominion Government to dredge Red River,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 July 1920, page 8.
“Judicial sale of valuable suburban property,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 March 1921, page 15.
“Huge crushers,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 July 1924, page 6.
“Government-owned Bradbury was scandal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 April 1952, page 11.
“The Lake Winnipeg Shipping Company,” by Capt. Ed. Nelson, Winnipeg Free Press, 24 July 1965, page 21.
Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), Lake Winnipeg Shipping Company Limited, Archives of Manitoba.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 25 December 2018