Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 140 years

 

Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Manitoba History No. 89
Manitoba
History

No. 89

AGM 2019
MHS
Annual
General
Meeting

Spring Field Trip 2019
MHS
Spring
Field Trip

Summer Field Trip 2019
MHS
Summer
Field Trip

Fall Field Trip 2019
MHS
Fall
Field Trip

War Memorials in Manitoba
War
Memorials
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old
Elevator

Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

MHS Centennial Organization: Winnipeg Press Club

Link to:
Presidents | Life Members | Honorary Members | Sources

On 12 February 1887, a strong representation of Winnipeg’s newspaper publishers, editors and reporters gathered in their club rooms at Winnipeg City Hall to elect the first board for the Winnipeg Press Club. They could not know that night that the club would, in the 21st century, reign as Canada’s oldest media club, and one of the four oldest in the world. Elected as the first officers of the club were Thomas Hiram Preston as President (the runner-up was Charles Acton Burrows), William Edward Maclellan as Vice-President, Archibald McNee as Treasurer, and Charles Wesley Handscomb as Secretary, with an Executive Committee consisting of John W. Dafoe, George A. Flynn, and A. P. Wood.

The early objectives of the Winnipeg Press Club were similar to those of the present-day club: 1) to promote the professional, social, cultural and educational interests of its members and encourage professional exchange and development, 2) to provide a united voice to the practice of journalism and freedom of the press in Winnipeg, and 3) to establish fraternal relationships with fellow press clubs and media associations around the world.

Originally a private club for members of the newspaper fraternity, it grew to become an organization with members across many media. Broadcasters joined its ranks in 1953. The first women journalists became members in 1970.

The WPC is perhaps best known for its annual satire show “Beer and Skits,” which still stands as North America’s longest-running revue. Beer & Skits formed in 1933, put on two shows in 1934, and staged a show every year thereafter until the final production in 2006. For the first 50 years, the show was restricted to men only, in both the cast and crew and the audience. Women became part of the show in 1984. B&S presented the fun-loving side of media personalities, and many of the same people who were involved in the often slap-stick B&S comedy also played a key role in Winnipeg’s Schmockey Night, an equally slap-stick fundraiser for Manitobans with disabilities. WPC’s contribution to Schmockey Night’s success was acknowledged with the national Ability Fund Award in 1972.

In 1890, the Club left its rooms at City Hall, and followed a vagabond existence until 1953, when the Club opened the doors of its first club room and bar, on the third floor of the Northern Life Assurance Company at 300 Main Street. For 47 years, from 1961 through 2008, the Marlborough Hotel was its home. The Club no longer maintains its own rooms. After having a temporary home with the Irish Association of Manitoba on Erin Street, as of 2011 the Club holds meetings and events at The Royal Canadian Legion, St. James Branch #4, at 1755 Portage Avenue.

The prestigious Winnipeg Press Club Presidents Award was established in 1997 for “Someone Who Made a Difference” in the community through their achievements and contributions in both their private and public lives. Past recipients include “Cactus” Jack Wells, The Hon. Duff Roblin, Mary Kelekis, Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, Bill Norrie, The Hon. Pearl McGonigal, Sam Katz, Janice Filmon, Gregg Hanson, Babs Asper and Val Werier.

On 3 April 2005, an MHS Centennial Organization Award was presented to the Winnipeg Press Club by Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard, Jacqueline Friesen, and Gordon Goldsborough. Around 2014, the Winnipeg Press Club ceased operations and deposited its records in the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.

Presidents

Year

President

1887-1888

Thomas Hiram Preston (1855-1925)

1888-1922

?

1922

Hay Strafford Stead (1872-1924)

1923

V. M. Kipp

1924

D. B. MacRae

1925

Wilfrid Lawrence “Biff” MacTavish (1891-1951)

1926

Garnett Clay Porter (1866-1945)

1927

Harold Moore (1877-1971)

1928

Bruce Boreham

1929

Major Jack Sifton

1930

John Frank “Never Break” Turner (1897-1972)

1931

Fred J. Malley

1932

Albert Ernest Horsemah “Abbie” Coo (1885-1967)

1933

Harry E. Wilder (1881-1948)

1934

Alfred Vernon Thomas (1875-1950)

1935

William Henry Metcalfe (1906-1990)

1936

Frank J. Pickwell

1937

Nathan B. “Zim” Zimmerman (1898-1951)

1938

J. M. Sweeney

1939

Laurence Edward Brownell (1891-1949)

1940

Gerald Carlisle Allison (1907-1972)

1941

Guy Gamsby

1942

C. B. Edwards

1943

Jack Gordon

1944

Edward A. Armstrong (1904-1950)

1945

Edwin Johnson

1946

Ted Schrader

1947

Harry Steel

1948

Alfred William “Bill” Hanks (1894-1985)

1949

H. Gordon Aikman (1914-2002)

1950

Don Aiken

1951

Gordon Henderson Sinclair (1921-1976)

1952

Jack Thornton

1953

Eric Joseph Hampson Wells (1917-1993)

1954

Jack Maunder

1955

Bill MacPherson

1956

Alf Parr

1957

Harold Leslie Doherty (1929-2008)

1958

Hugh Allan (1917-2004)

1959

Bill Trebilcoe

1960

Albert Boothe (1913-1985)

1961

Pat Burrage

1962

John “Jack” Matheson (1924-2011)

1963

Eugene Louis “Gene” Telpner (1920-2005)

1964

Harry L. Mardon (1926-2004)

1965

William Edward “Bill” Morriss (1919-2003)

1966

Robert Edmond “Bob” Trudel (c1925-2013)

1967

Bill Grogan

1968

Jan Jakob Kamienski (1923-2010)

1969

Al Rogers

1970

Frederick George Chafe (1929-2012)

1971

John Donald “Don” Comstock (1927-2012)

1972

David Reginald “Dave” Bonner (1928-2006)

1973

Ian Sutherland

1974

John Cochrane

1975

Dave Lee

1976

Dick Goodwin

1977

Ernie Mutimer

1978

Steve Halinda

1979

Del Sexsmith

1980

Robert W. “Bob” Hainstock

1981

Roger Newman

1982

Mark Stefanson

1983

Thomas Tryggvi “Tom” Oleson (1946-2012)

1984

Carol Partridge

1985

James “Jimmy” King (1920-1987)

1986

King Kearns

1987

John Tyler

1988-1989

Lee Major

1990

Paul McKie

1991

Paul Graham

1992

Kevin Rollason

1993

Lionel Ditz

1994-1995

Kelly Dehn

1996-1997

Debra Thompson

1998-1999

Jane Graham

2000-2001

Patrick Michael Riordan (1939-2008)

2002

Sharon Helman

2003

Kevin Hill

2004

Alan McTavish

2005-2009

Debra Thompson

2010-2012

Dwight MacAulay

Life Members

Senator Charles Bishop

Dave Bonner

Albert Boothe (1913-1985)

Bruce Boreham

John Cochrane

Jim Coghill

Don Comstock

Lionel Ditz

Jane Graham

Jan Jakob Kamienski (c1924-2010)

George P. Leyden

Lee Major

Harry L. Mardon (1926-2004)

William Henry Metcalfe (1906-1990)

Major Harold Moore

M. E. Nichols

Harriet Smith

Harry Steel

Ian Sutherland

Debra Thompson

Eric Joseph Hampson Wells (1917-1993)

Honorary Members

Ruth Miriam “Babs” Asper (1933-2011)

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy

Janice Filmon

Gregg Hanson

Sam Katz

Mary Kelekis

Pearl Kathryne McGonigal

Dufferin Roblin (1917-2010)

George Charles Waight (1892-1985)

John Hampson “Cactus Jack” Wells (1911-1999)

See also:

125 Years of the Winnipeg Press Club
Manitoba History, Number 70, Fall 2012

Sources:

We thank Wendy Hart, Nathan Kramer, and Sheilla Jones for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 July 2017

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2019 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.