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Place Names

by Irene Craig

Manitoba Pageant, April 1956

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

Though many places in Manitoba are called after people, homes left behind in the old country are also remembered, reminding us that a poet says “names are ships to carry dreamers”.

For instance, CARBERRY was so named by Lord Elphinstone and some other directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who called it after the tower at Musselburgh in Scotland, Lord Elphinstone’s ancestral home. While in Canada (about 1880) his Lordship was the guest of Robert Campbell, Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. At this time he bought 2000 acres on the Little Saskatchewan River below Riding Mountain House. Later, in 1887, when a Post Office was established there, naturally, the place was called ELPHINSTONE.

The Muckle family, the earliest settlers in CLANDEBOYE, thought the Manitoba woods round about it on the way to Winnipeg Beach looked so like dear Lord Dufferin’s estate at home in Ireland—so CLANDEBOYE it was! Even our prairie villages move in the best circles.

The Bible plays its part, too, in these christening parties. After church one Sunday evening, in the settlement of what is now MELITA, the people stayed for a meeting to decide upon a suitable name for their newly formed community. The Bible Lesson the minister read during the service was about Paul being shipwrecked on the island of Melita and the congregation was so impressed that then and there, now safe on the prairie, they settled for the same name as that of the island—MELITA.

And what joker in the early days thought up MALACHI, the name of the last book in the Old Testament? At that time this little settlement was the last site in Ontario just before the road found itself crossing the border into the new Province of Manitoba; it too, must have a name. As they journeyed westward “one who had been sent,” realizing they were leaving the old and entering the new, marked the place MALACHI on his map. Evidently he knew his Bible.

Page revised: 4 March 2011

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