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TimeLinks: Winkler

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Mennonite Home The town of Winkler gets its name from its founder, Valentine Winkler. Winkler was born in Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1865. In 1879, he came to Winnipeg where he established himself as an entrepreneur, trading in lumber and grain.

Ten years later he moved his business to the Morden area where he also took up farming. After five years (during which time he entered politics as the reeve of the municipality) he moved the business again, establishing a grain elevator, hardware and lumber store near the north-east corner of the Mennonite block settlement known as the West Reserve.

Winkler's command of German endeared him to many of the Mennonite settlers in the area, and their patronage contributed to the prosperity of Winkler's businesses and others in the town-site that he laid out. Winkler attracted a large number of German and Jewish merchants, although by the time that the village was incorporated in 1907, enough Mennonites had moved into town from the nearby agricultural communities that they comprised more then half the population.

Winkler's founder remained in the town until his death, representing the area as reeve and later as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Winkler was Minister of Agriculture in the Liberal government of T. C. Norris from 1915 to his death in 1920.

TimeLinks Characters: Ben Flieschmann is currently living in Winkler.

Page revised: 29 August 2009

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