Memorable Manitobans: Ida Virginia Burns Barclay (1877-1935)
Hotelier, ski hill developer.
Born at Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario on 16 May 1877, daughter of James Burns and Janet Arnott, she came to Manitoba in 1887 and settled at Wood Bay. On 22 July 1897, she married Alexander McKenzie Barclay of La Riviere, at Winnipeg. They had four children: Florance Beatrice Barclay (1899-?), James Alexander Burns Barclay (1902-?), Ethyl Margaret Barclay (1911-?), and Ida Jean Bernice Barclay (1913-?).
After divorcing her husband, she moved to La Riviere late in 1914. The next year, she bought the Valley Hotel. For many years, it was known as the Barclay House and, after her death, it was operated by two of her daughters.
She was instrumental in developing ski hills at La Riviere after being approached, in 1935, by a group of young people from Winnipeg. She agreed to finance the cutting of the first ski slides on the hills facing north of the CPR station. The first ski trains started around 1933 and, in 1934-1935, a special ski train ran from Winnipeg every second Sunday during the winter, carrying as many as 800 to 1000 people to the LaRiviere slopes. Skiing continued at this location until 1959.
She died at Morden on 26 December 1935 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery at Pilot Mound. Following her death, the Ida V. Barclay Memorial Trophy was donated by W. A. Mather of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
We thank Nels Bremner for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 March 2016
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