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Historical Sketch of the Charitable Institutions of Winnipeg

by Marion Bryce

MHS Transactions, Series 1, No. 54
Read 21 February 1899

MHS Transactions were originally published by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make online versions available as a free, public service. As an historical document, Transactions may contain language that is no longer in common use and which may offend some readers. They should not be construed to represent the views of today’s Manitoba Historical Society.

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In giving a history of the charitable institutions of Winnipeg, we naturally begin with the oldest and most important, viz.: the Winnipeg General Hospital. Anyone examining the public edifices of our city is sure to have his attention drawn to a group of buildings belonging to the hospital, occupying a block between McDermot and Bannatyne Avenues, and west of Nena. A closer examination of these buildings and their uses will show that the Winnipeg General Hospital, like the City of Rome, was not built in a day. Building after building has been added, according to the requirements of our city and Province, and we are pleased to think that we have such a memorial of the advancement of medical science in our midst. The oldest of the group of buildings was opened to receive patients in 1881 but earlier records show that the hospital had a history of twelve years’ duration previous to that date.

The Winnipeg General Hospital was organized on 13 December 1872, and its Act of Incorporation was passed on 14 May 1875. The board of management applying for the Act were George Young, Gilbert McMicken, W. N. Kennedy, Rev. W. A. Clark, Thos. Lusted, G. B. Spencer, A. G. B. Bannatyne, J. H. Ashdown, Stewart Mulvey, A. G. Jackes, J. H. O’Donnell, Jos. Royal, J. H. McTavish, and W. G. Fonseca. Drs. O’Donnell, Jackes and Lynch were the medical men chiefly associated with the hospital in the earlier period of its history.

Anyone who remembers Winnipeg in those early years as a mere village, with its new population, mostly young men, constantly being added to from the East, its crowded boarding houses, its imperfect buildings, hastily erected to accommodate new arrivals, the absence of sanitary arrangements and the prevalence of typhoid fever, can speak of the necessity for an hospital even at that stage of the city’s existence. Yet it was not one of the new arrivals who was the chief benefactor in this matter, but one who had come to Red River when a mere lad, and who had spent most of his life there, the Hon. A.G.B. Bannatyne. The first building used for hospital purposes was on the banks of the Red River, somewhere near the foot of Lombard Street. The second was a log house in Point Douglas, rented from the late Hon. John Norquay. The imperfections of both these buildings soon convinced the hospital board that they must arise and build. The Messrs. McDermot and Bannatyne donated the present hospital site, afterwards enlarged, and a building was erected on it in 1875, which was occupied as an hospital until 1882. During the financial struggles of this early period the hospital board was more than once indebted to the ladies of the city for substantial aid. As early as 1873 a bazaar was held under the auspices of Mrs. Bannatyne for the benefit of the hospital.

In the fall of 1877 the increasing demands upon the hospital having brought it into financial difficulties, a meeting of the ladies was called and a statement of its affairs laid before them. The secretary treasurer showed that the hospital’s annual cost of maintenance was about $4,000, to meet which there was: The local Government grant, $1,250; city grant, $500; Dominion Government, for patients, $250; Hospital Subsidy, $300; private patients, from $300 to $400, leaving a large deficit to be made up from uncertain sources. The hospital was at the time $700 in debt for maintenance. The ladies willingly came to the rescue. The city was divided into districts, two ladies being appointed to canvass each. A generous response was made to their solicitations, and in this way about $1,200 was raised. Later on the ladies held a bazaar, or, as it was called, an apron festival, by which $400 more was realized.

About the same time a small addition was made to the hospital, costing $150, the whole of which sum was kindly donated by Mr. Moberly, a contractor, then in the city. Such are a few of the facts looming through the mists that usually obscure the dawn of history.

The years 1882 and 1883 were, perhaps, the most progressive in the history of the General Hospital. In the boom years the city had grown with abnormal rapidity and the resources of the hospital were inadequate to meet the increasing demands upon it. Something had to be done to place its affairs on a firmer footing.

The Act of Incorporation was amended in 1882 ... removed the limit of property that could be legally held by the corporation. It also empowered the directors to raise money by mortgages. The life membership fee, which had heretofore been $50, was now raised to $100 and the name changed to Life Governor. The annual fee, which had been $4, was increased to $10.

Finances

In January 1881, the Dominion Government, which had, in former times, been rather stingy in its dealings with the hospital, passed an order in council, authorizing the payment of 60 cents per day for each immigrant patient treated. At the time of which I speak this was quite a source of revenue to the directors, over $18,000 having been paid during the two years.

In 1883 the Charity Aids Act passed by the local Government secured to every hospital approved by the Governor in Council payment of 25 cents per day for every free patient treated. The City Council twice increased its grant during these two years. The original annual grant of $500 was first advanced to $1,200 and again to $5,000. A by-law at the same time was passed, giving the city representation of one on the board of directors for each $5,000 given. At the present day the grant is $10,000. The municipalities began to send in contributions more regularly, and Hospital Sunday became an established fact, although it has always been difficult to have all the churches make their collections on the same Sunday.

Perhaps the most pleasing event during these two years was the establishment in 1883 of the suggestion of Mrs. W. G. Dennison, of the Women’s Hospital Aid Society, the object being to supply the hospital with bedding, clothing and other necessary comforts. Although the ladies of the city had somewhat fitfully taken an interest in the hospital from time to time, and by donations had supplied its wants, the organization of this society not only assured a more regular supply of household necessaries, but also, a careful supervision of the same, and was a great relief to the board of directors.

Buildings

The hospital building which had been in use since 1875, had during the boom years been found quite inadequate to the growing requirements of the city, and in 1881 a temporary location and building in Point Douglas had been purchased from the Dominion Government at a cost of $5,000, to be used until the old building could be moved from the hospital site and a new building erected. In addition to subscriptions of citizens to the building fund, the board received from the Hudson’s Bay Company $2,000; from the C.P.R. a similar amount and from the City Council a special grant of $5,000. A mortgage loan of $25,000 was incurred. After the usual troubles and vicissitudes attending on building operations at that time, the new hospital, costing $63,115.95, represented at the present time by the general and administration buildings, was opened 13th March, 1884, and was a great boon to the sick and suffering, as well as to the attendants, as the Point Douglas building, although roomier than the old hospital, was not even so well suited for hospital purposes, and on account of an outbreak of smallpox within its walls in May, 1882, the patients had to be accommodated in tents on the prairie around it. ...

More Recent Years

In approaching more recent years it seems unnecessary to enter into the details of the hospital’s history, as its printed records are available, and yet even a sketch would be incomplete without reference to the main features of advancement. The hospital building was no sooner completed in 1884 than the directors began to see that in the interests of medical science the work of the hospital would have to be extended. But, burdened as they were with a mortgage debt, for a large amount of which some of them had become personally liable, it could not be expected that they would immediately add to their responsibilities.

The Jubilee years of Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, always bring showers of blessings, and of these showers a good many drops are sure to descend on the Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1887 the directors of the hospital made an appeal to the public for a jubilee fund wherewith to discharge the complete debt on the hospital property. The response to the appeal amounted to $14,062.95, which not only wiped out the debt, but left a considerable balance in the hands of the directors to undertake whatever extension might be thought most desirable.

School For Nurses

The hospital had, up to this time, been indebted to outside sources for its supply of nurses, but in order that the nursing staff might be increased and a number be available for sending out to city and country, a school for nurses was opened in 1887. To provide proper accommodation for these nurses when off duty, a home was found to be a necessity. This home became an established fact in November, 1888, and its occupation left a considerable amount of room in the hospital to be used for the accommodation of patients. The directors had also a maternity hospital in course of erection in 1888, which was finished in December of that year. This branch of medical work had, since 1883, been under the care of a society of ladies, called the Christian Women’s Union. At this stage it was almost necessary, for the completion of the nurses’ course, and that of the medical students, that it should be under the direction of the hospital authorities. The members of the Christian Women’s Union were quite willing that it should be so transferred. Indeed, the proposal came from their side.

An operating theatre and a disinfecting kiln was also added to the equipment of the hospital in 1888; and a separate and roomy ward was set apart for the treatment of children. The latter was fitly named the “Brydges Memorial Ward for Children,” in memory of Mr. Brydges. It was for the purpose of formally opening this ward that Mr. Brydges had gone to the hospital on the 16th February, 1889, when he so suddenly died. During the same year, 1889, the hospital and the board sustained another great loss in the death of the president, the Hon. A. G. B. Bannatyne, who had been in ill-health for several years.

The enterprises of 1887, even with the help of grants, left the board once more in debt, but by 1891 this was all paid off and they were ready to undertake further extension. The next important building undertaken was an isolated hospital for infectious diseases, as the general building had now become too crowded to allow of wards being set apart for this purpose. This building was finished and ready for patients on 26 January 1893, and the following year increased accommodation for nurses was added in connection with it. There is but one more building to speak of, that called the Victoria Jubilee Addition, at present in course of erection to the West of the main building, and connected with it by a corrider. This building will be devoted altogether to surgical cases, and will contain a roomy and well lighted operating theatre. To meet the expenses of this handsome addition to the hospital the Provincial Government and the City Council have each granted $10,000; $2,000 from Mr. W. W. Ogilvie is available, and it is hoped that the general subscriptions will bring the sum up to $50,000. Of the lesser but very important equipments of the hospital—the two ambulances, for example—there is scarcely time to speak.

The hospital has always had a plentiful supply of water from its own flowing wells, pumped into the building by steam power. It also has its own plant for electric lighting. ...

The Women’s Aid Society Hospital

This society has already been mentioned in connection with the General Hospital, and it is to the hospital that it owes its allegiance. It was organized in 1883, the annual membership fee being $2. Its object was to supply the hospital with bedding, clothing and other necessary comforts. The first officers were: President, Mrs. Aikens, Vice-Presidents, Mesdames Brydges, Pinkham, Denison and Pitblado, Secretaries, the Misses Mingaye and Dreyer; Treasurer, Miss Mingaye. Committees were also appointed for various kinds of work.

In order to enable the society to make a good beginning the store-keepers of the city supplied goods at very reasonable prices, and Dr. M. T Hunter generously paid for these goods to the amount of $500. Thus the newly erected hospital was well stocked with all the needed bedding and linen. Since that time the society has had a very prosperous career. Having no buildings of its own, it has had to be indebted to friends for a place in which to convene. For a number of years Mr. Sprado has allowed the society to hold its monthly and committee meetings in one of the dining rooms of the Manitoba Hotel. The recent fire rendered this society homeless for the time being, but it is hoped that soon again it will be found in comfortable quarters.

For a number of years the society raised its funds chiefly by entertainments, an annual ball being given for the benefit of the hospital, but the sentiment of many of its supporters was found to be in favor of direct giving, and it was resolved in 1892 that in future the society should depend more for its income on the extension of its membership fees, and other larger or smaller subscriptions.

This plan was so successful that it seems to have been adopted by the society as its permanent source of revenue. Occasionally the funds are augmented by the proceeds of entertainments, but these are usually proferred to the society by their promoters.

When a new building has been added to the hospital the draft upon the resources of the Aid society is larger than at other times, as the members have not always limited themselves to the ordinary provision expected of them, but have helped considerably with other furnishings. We may take 1897 as a normal year, when the cost of articles supplied by the society amounted to $948.55. Two of the members, Mesdames Bell and Sprague, collected money during the jubilee year for a new ambulance, as it was necessary to keep one for infectious cases.

The presidents of this society have been Mesdames Aikens, Lynch, Pinkham, Farrell, F. W Harris, Ewart, Street, Blanchard, Adams, Somerset Aikells, Drewry, Moffat, and Mrs. H. Bell, at present in office.

Secretaries: The Misses Mingaye and Dreyer; treasurers: Miss Mingaye, Mrs. Macfarlane; secretary treasurers: Miss Ailkens, Mesdames Eden, J. G. Moore and Mrs. E.M. Wood, at present in office.

The Christian Women’s Union

The Christian Women’s Union owes its origin, in March, 1883, to a few devoted women whose strong desire was to bring together women of different Protestant denominations and varied predilections and to unite them in some important work in which they could all be interested. The proposed work naturally took the form of work among women. A mass meeting of the women of the city was called and met in the old court house near the site of the present City Hall, an ancient landmark that has since disappeared. A board of management was chosen with Mrs. Galton, sister of Mrs. W. R. Mulock, as president, she having been one of the leading spirits in the movement.

Collectors were appointed to raise funds and the city was divided into districts for this purpose. In order to receive a Government grant an Act of Incorporation was applied for early in 1894 under the name of the Christian Women’s Union of Winnipeg. The Act was passed by the Legislature in April of that year and a grant of $500 was given, now $250. The annual fees are $3.00; life membership, $50. The ladies applying for this Act were Mrs. Mary E. J. Aikens, honorary president; Mrs. Catherine Rowe, president; Mrs. Eleanor Whitla, vice-president; Miss Mary Jazdrowski, treasurer; Mrs. Annie Monk, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Jemima Irwin, recording secretary; Mrs. Marion Bryce, 1st directress; Mrs. Matilda Lynch, 2nd directress. The first work undertaken was a home for young women earning their living in the city and absent from their own homes. The old Bannatyne residence on the river bank, with its grounds extending from Bannatyne to McDermot St. was rented for the purpose of the home, which was opened in the spring of 1883.

This institution was afterwards moved to a smaller house on Hargrave Street, but it was not taken advantage of by those for whom it was intended—it rather seemed to attract the idle and incompetent—so in a short time it was thought advisable to have it closed. In the meantime, with the glad approval of the leading physicians of the city, the society had opened a Maternity Hospital in the Bannatyne building. The hospital was not designed only to benefit the class usually styled unfortunate, but also poor married women who were destitute of comforts in their own miserable shanty homes at that time so common. There were also private wards for ladies coming from the country and from distant towns for the advantage of good medical skill and nursing. The Bannatyne building having been sold, the maternity hospital was moved in September 1884, to a large house formerly occupied by Sheriff Armstrong, at the foot of May Street, Point Douglas, and in 1886 it was again moved to the adjoining roomy house, the former residence of the late Major Morice.

These frequent changes of residence shewed that the board were never altogether satisfied with the hospital quarterrs, and indeed, they were always painfully aware that their accommodation came far short of the requirements of modern science. Although among nearly 200 adult inmates they were so fortunate as never to lose a single case by death, yet two slight outbreaks of fever warned them of the risk to life they were running. They felt the necessity of erecting a proper building, but the medical men began to see in the state of advancement of our city, and in the interests of the Medical College it was time for the Maternity Hospital to be placed under the sheltering wing of the General Hospital. The union quite agreed with them, and towards the end of 1887, after the second fever outbreak, the Maternity Hospital was closed and this chapter of the history of the Christian Women’s Union came to an end.

Previous to this, on the 1st January, 1885, in a small building adjacent to the Maternity Hospital, the Children’s Home was opened by the Christian Women’s Union. It was primarily for the benefit of the little ones born in the hospital that the home was intended, but other needy children were admitted. The family soon outgrew the narrow limits of the premises, and in April of that same year the home was moved to a more commodious house on Assiniboine Avenue, foot of Hargrave Street. In September, 1896, it was again transferred to a larger building on Portage Avenue.

When the Children’s Home was removed to a distance from the Maternity Hospital a separate committee was appointed from the members of the C.W.U. for its management, and this was a stepping stone to its finally becoming an independent institution.

Those whose hearts went out to work among the children applied for and obtained from the Legislature an Act of Incorporation as the board of management to the Children’s Home, June 1897.

After the Children’s Home had been removed from under its care, and the Maternity Hospital had become an adjunct of the General Hospital, the C.W.U. had a breathing space. There was one phase of work open to them akin to their former hospital work and springing out of it, but it was feared that this would not carry with it public sympathy. They hesitated, but there was money in the treasury, over $1,000, and they felt that they should without delay put it to some useful purpose.

That the corporation was so wealthy came about as follows: From the opening of the Maternity Hospital there had been admitted from time to time patients from the immigrant sheds. The General Hospital authorities, it was understood, were paid at the rate of 600. a day for each immigrant patient placed under their care and the board of the Maternity Hospital concluded that they should be paid at the same rate for each immigrant woman sent to them, and the bills were made out accordingly. Year after year these accounts were disputed by the Dominion Government, but finally the sum amounting to $900, was paid, just when the society seemed to require it least.

It was not long before the C.W.U. became convinced that it was their duty to open up a refuge for women. The Maternity Hospital had served the double purpose of an hospital and a refuge and now the members of the union felt that an industrial home was needed for the kind of inmates that were likely to come under their care. But the inconveniences of a rented house for the purposes of the home determined the union to build, so as to have room for industrial branches to occupy and improve the inmates. The money on hand enabled the board to pay ready cash for the spacious lots now occupied by the home. It is an ideal site on McDermot Ave., West of Kate Street, as the work is so closely connected with that of the General Hospital.

In 1889 the union was chiefly engaged in canvassing the city for the means to erect the present building, which is evidence in itself that a generous response was met with. The last installment of a mortgage debt upon the property was paid in 1895. In March, 1891, the new home was opened with a reception given to a large gathering of friends. Since that time it has been found very suitable for the work with a few improvements made from time to time. As since the opening of the Salvation Army Rescue Home the more degraded cases are not admitted to the C.W.U. home. It is suitable as a refuge for aged poor women as well as for respectable married women coming to the city for medical care, indeed, there are no hard and fast lines drawn with regard to admission, excepting several very necessary ones in the by-laws; each case is considered when the application is made. The home shelters about sixty inmates during the year. Such is a brief sketch of the history of the Christian Women’s Union. It has sometimes been in financial and other difficulties, but a kind providence has always helped it over hard times. The presidents were Mesdames Galton, Rowe and Bryce; vice presidents, Mesdames Whitla, Lynch, Wesbrook, Somerset and O’Loughlin; secretaries, Mesdames Irwin, Doupe, J. B. Monk, (Dr.) Rerr, (Dr.) Orton, Culver, C. H. Campbell, J. McBride, Atkinson and McClenaghan; treasurers, Miss Jazdowski, Mrs. M. T. Hunter and Mrs. (Dr.) Clark. The present officers are: Patroness, Mrs. Patterson; Hon. president, Lady Schultz; president, Mrs. George Bryce; 1st vice-president, Mrs. J. B. Somerset; 2nd vice-president, Mrs. J. M. O’Loughlin; recording secretary, Mrs. A. V. McLenaghan; corresponding secretary, Mrs. J. J. Roy; treasurer, Mrs. A. W. Clark; financial secretary, Mrs. Wm. Bathgate; Sunday service, Mrs. George McVicar. The C.W.U. has a Government grant of $250 and a civic grant of $300.

The Children’s Home

Nothing appeals so strongly to the hearts of the benevolent as work among poor children. To smooth the path of life for little footsteps will surely earn the blessing of Him who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

It has been already said in the sketch of the Christian Women’s Union that the Children’s Home was commenced by that society in 1885, and conducted by it until 1887, when it became independent and obtained an Act of Incorporation of its own. Those who applied for this Act were the following officers: Mrs. Sarah McKilligan, first directress; Mrs. Georgina Smith, second directress; Mrs. Ella Ross, third directress; Mrs. Agnes Culver, secretary; Mrs. Lizzie Hunter, treasurer, and others to the number of thirty constituting the board of management. The annual membership fee was $3, the fee for life membership, $25.

The board was given power to contract with a parent placing a child under its care for absolute control of the child, unless the parent by paying a yearly amount towards its maintenance shows a desire to retain possession of his or her child. The children to be admitted into the home are boys under 6 years of age, and girls under 14, more or less destitute. Children over whom the board of management has absolute control are, if possible, given for adoption, and it may be of interest to know the terms on which adoptions are made:

When a person makes application for a child, two certificates of character, one from a clergyman and the other from a justice of the peace, are required to be furnished. Three months are generally allowed for approbation and, if everything is satisfactory, an indenture, in duplicate, is signed by the contracting parties. The children must be well clothed and sent to school for a certain number of months in the year. Payments of five dollars per year are required until the child is 10 years old; fifteen dollars when the child shall have attained the age of 16 and twenty dollars when the child is 18 years of age. This sum is payable to the child by the corporation, when the guardianship of the home ceases. A written annual statement of the condition and welfare of the child is also required, so that the children are never lost sight of by the home, during their years of minority.

The three buildings in which the children had successively been housed had all been found comfortless and inconvenient and at last, after much discussion as to a proper location, a very fine lot and private residence on River Avenue, Fort Rouge, was purchased in 1888. The house was almost rebuilt and extensively added to and when it was opened to receive the little ones there was a mortgage debt of $3,000 upon it. This was a somewhat daring venture, but the promoters had great faith in the love of mankind for little children. Additions both to the lot and building have been made from time to time, and some years ago a pavilion was built on the grounds so that the children may be shaded from the sun when at their play. In the Jubilee year, 1897, a stone foundation was put under the home and a new kitchen and boys’ dormitory were added.

In the home there is only room for 55 children, and it is nearly always filled to its utmost capacity. The children of school age attend the public school in Fort Rouge, and their teachers give a good account of them. They also accompany Miss Hynd, the matron, to divine service.

Almost ever since the home was removed to Fort Rouge Mr. E. E. Stephenson has conducted Sunday School there with his able coadjutor, Miss Nixon, and some other assistants. The Children’s Home board have been most fortunate in their matron, Miss Hynd. Her loving, prayerful care and her individual study of each child has transformed a mere public institution into a true home for the little ones.

So many young children unable to do much for themselves necessitates the keeping of a staff of domestics, so that the institution is an expensive one, but it has the sympathy of the public and is well supported. Through the kindness of friends, too, the little ones never fail to have a merry Christmas time, and delightful sleigh rides during the winter, as well as their little picnics in the park and free rides on the street cars during the summer.

The chief difficulty the board has had to encounter has been the payment of the debt on their property, but this is now in a fair way of being discharged. They have still a mortgage of $3,000, but they have $2,000 in their building fund, and when the other thousand is reached, the Children’s Home will have a very valuable property without incumbrance.

Since the Act of Incorporation the officers have been: Patronesses, Lady Schultz and Mrs. Patterson; Lady Taylor, 1st directress, still in office; Mrs. A. M. Patton, at present acting directress; 2nd and 3rd directresses, Mesdames Taylor, Fisher, Cowley, Wesbrook, Patton, Hart, Ewart. Mrs. Culver, secretary now in office; Mrs. Naim, assistant secretary. The board suffered loss in the death of its first treasurer, Mrs. M. T. Hunter, and of its second treasurer, Mrs. Jas. Fisher, when they had held office but a short time. Mrs. Wickson has been treasurer since 1889. The society has a grant of $500 from the Government and $500 from the City Council.

The Prisoners’ Aid Association

was organized in 1890. Its object was to attend to the spiritual welfare of the prisoners of both sexes in Winnipeg during the period of their incarceration and to seek their reformation in every possible way, to provide for their comfort and to promote their interests on their discharge from prison, and to seek the improvements of prisons and police stations when found to be necessary.

Shortly after the organization of the association an Act of Incorporation was asked for and obtained. This Act applies only to the City of Winnipeg and at the next sitting of the Legislature an amendment to the Act will be asked for extending the operation of the association to the Province of Manitoba.

The first officers were: Rev. Mr. Davis, President; Mr. W. R. Mulock, treasurer; Mr. Thomas Gill, secretary. The Rev. C. C. Owen is the present president. This association has a small Government grant.

Aberdeen Association

The formation of the Aberdeen Association was suggested on 19 October 1890, in the first address given by the Countess of Aberdeen before a Winnipeg audience. During a trip taken by Lord and Lady Aberdeen through Southern Manitoba, they were struck by the lonely aspect of the prairie homes and the dearth of reading matter everywhere apparent seemed to them a great privation, particularly for those who had been well educated and accustomed to read. The result of Lady Aberdeen’s words on this subject was the formation of the parent branch of the association, at a meeting called on November 12th, 1890, at the Clarendon Hotel, where a number of ladies undertook to supply the lonely homes of the Northwest with instructive and entertaining literature, Lady Taylor was appointed president.

The task of supplying the whole of the Northwest with reading matter was found too much for the Winnipeg ladies to attempt and there are now twelve branches of the association throughout Canada, with headquarters in Ottawa. Even the literary resources of Canada were found too limited for the required supply, and a branch association was formed in England, with the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava as president, and with free rooms in the Canadian Institute, London. Through the influence of Lady Aberdeen, the association is indebted to the post office authorities, the Dominion and Allan lines of steamers, and the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk railways for free transportation of parcels. The English railways give half fare rates.

But it is the work of the Winnipeg branch that we have chiefly to sketch on this occasion. The local Government have kindly given the use of rooms in the Lands Titles Office for the reception and distribution of literature and from 300 to 400 parcels are sent out monthly. The secretary keeps up a correspondence with the recipients of this literature and sometimes the description of the loneliness of prairie life given in the letters received by her are truly touching.

The association endeavors as far as possible to consult the taste of the different readers, and sometimes the senders are startled by such an instance as the following, which shows the necessity for the circulation of pure literature in our country. A young girl who had requested some reading to be sent to her home was asked by letter what kind of literature the family enjoyed most. She replied that they preferred sensational stories of the Jesse James type.

The Literature Most Useful to the Aberdeen Association

Weekly and monthly religious and church papers and periodicals of all denominations, in good condition; agricultural, scientific and technical journals of the current year only; fashionable papers of the current year only; good magazines of any date, in good condition. Sets of magazines in consecutive numbers for the year are most valuable. Sunday School papers of all denominations for teachers and scholars, Christmas annuals and pictures, children’s books of all kinds, standard works of history, biography, travel and fiction, all good books, French, German and Scandinavian and Gaelic literature for applicants speaking those languages; daily papers are not required on account of their transient interest only. The denominational periodicals are sent to the charge of the different clergy in the Northwest to be judiciously distributed by them.

In the Jubilee year, 1897, packets of seed from the Experimental Farm, Ottawa, were sent through the association to its readers so that their homes might be beautiful by the growth of trees and flowering plants. A portrait of Queen Victoria, also sent through the association, now graces many of these homes on the plains.

The income of the association is derived from fees and subscriptions. The outlay for twine and wrappers amounts to quite a large sum during the year. Officers: Lady Taylor, president; Mrs. Wickson, acting president; Mrs. Kirby, secretary; Miss Thomson, treasurer; Mrs. Wm. Clark, acting treasurer.

The Free Kindergarten Association

The Free Kindergarten Association, founded in 1892, gathers the poor children at the north end of the city into their school room in the old Swedish Church, Ellen Street. In the place of liberty to run about the streets, something good has to be given, so the ragged and hungry little ones are clothed, fed and provided with pleasant occupation of acknowledged educational value.

The work of the association is based upon the principles laid down by the founder of the kindergarten system, Frederick Freobel, and the promoters believe that the proper education of children during the first seven years of their lives does much to reduce poverty and crime in any community.

But the members of the Free Kindergarten Association do not limit their benevolent work to the children alone. They get acquainted with the homes of the little ones, visiting the mothers, tending the sick among them, and organizing mothers’ meetings for their improvement. Special classes for sewing are held both for the mothers and little girls, and sometimes the members invite the mothers to a tea, a kindness that is much appreciated by these poor overwrought housewives. With the help of some of the gentlemen of the city Boys’ Brigades have been recently organized in connection with the work, one for the smaller and one for the bigger boys. Already some signs of improvement are noticed among the rougher lads. The services of Miss Barnett, the principal, have been invaluable, both in the school room and outside. She has the faculty of gaining the hearts both of the children and the mothers.

Miss Barnett has the assistance of two pupil teachers in her work. The school has an average daily attendance of sixty children. Some people think that when the kindergarten system is introduced into the public schools the work of this association will no longer be necessary, but this is quite a mistake. The Free Kindergarten members practice a kind of charity that would be quite outside the duties of the teachers in the public schools. The work of the association has been of great value among the foreign elements of our city. This association depends for its revenue on fees and subscriptions and many a weary step the members have to take in the interests of their sometimes empty treasury. We may imagine the joy of these ladies, when two years ago they became possessed of a piano at a moderate price. The City Council has promised a small grant ($100) for this year, 1899. The presidents have been: Mrs. Dexter, Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Godfrey Parker and Mrs. R. H. Bryce at present in office. Secretaries: Miss Colby (Mrs. Cook), Mrs. R. H. Bryce, Mrs. T. J. McBride, Mrs. Atkinson, Mrs. Chown, Mrs. Jardine, at present in office. Treasurers: Miss Dolly Maguire (Mrs. Hughes), Mrs. W. L. McKenzie, Mrs. Capt. Robinson, at present in office.

The Winnipeg Lodging and Coffee House Association

This association for work among men was commenced by Holy Trinity Church in 1893, during the curacy of the Rev. J. Page. It was designed to provide a cheap boarding place for industrious men, and also to induce the idle to become industrious. The principle of the association is to give no assistance without some equivalent in work or payment. A small building was rented in 1893 by Mr. Page and Capt. Graburn, with accommodation for about twelve men. A large building was rented in 1894 and soon after the work outgrew the bounds of a parochial undertaking, so that it deserves a notice in a sketch of the public charities of Winnipeg. In order to place the institution on a broader basis a joint stock company was formed in 1898, with shares of $10 each.

A substantial brick building was erected by this company on Lombard street, with a roomy wood yard for the employment of the men. The building was opened on the 1st of November, 1898. This lodging and coffee house, as it is called, is expected to be self-supporting, indeed, it is now more than paying its way so it may soon be removed from the list of Winnipeg charities. These men have to pay for their beds 100. and 150, for their meals 50, 100, 150, according to quality, making it possible to obtain 3 meals and a bed for 250 a day. The new building has accommodation for 100 men. Since its opening it has had not less than 55 men sleeping there and sometimes it has over ninety.

The mission hall in the building is rented at $12.50 a month. Holy Trinity Church still looks after the spiritual welfare of the men and rents the mission hall for the holding of Sunday school, night school, Gospel services, etc. Mrs. Scott acts as deaconess in connection with the mission, and does untold good in a quiet way by relieving suffering and distress of all kinds. The association is desirous of having a lay worker to live in the building, and look after the spiritual welfare of the men. In the meantime this duty is taken in turn by some member of the brotherhood of St. Andrew, interested in the mission. Chairman of the association, Mr. J. H. Brock; secretary, Mr. H. Whitla, treasurer, Mr. E. H. Taylor.

Salvation Army

This body has been doing good work in Winnipeg since the early eighties, and it has at present two charitable institutions, a Rescue Home for Women, at 486 Young Street, and a Shelter for Men, 686 Main Street, with a wood yard, corner of Princess and Fonseca Street, in connection with the latter, for the employment of the men. The Rescue Home is also of the nature of an industrial home. As the Salvation Army does not publish any annual report of their institutions it is difficult to obtain information as to the means employed by them or the result of their work, but there is good reason for our faith in beneficent nature. The Rescue Home has a Government and civic grant.

The Door of Hope

Since its establishment in the city the Women’s Christian Temperance Union has engaged with great diligence in endeavoring to “rescue the perishing.” Its latest enterprise is the Door of Hope. This institution was opened about two years ago under the auspices of the union, but recently it has been handed over to a managing board of ladies of the city. An experienced trained matron, Miss Boland, a short time ago came from New York to take charge of the home, which is situated at 168 Bannatyne Avenue. Its object is the reformation of the inebriate women we so frequently read of in the press reports of the police court and station.

The Door of Hope has met with a severe loss by the recent death of Mrs. George C. Mills, a most devoted temperance worker and one of the chief promoters of the institution. The work of this institution is still in a tentative state, but we trust that its success will soon be assured.

Girls’ Home of Welcome Association

The work of this association is designed to serve the double purpose of providing a good class of domestics for our community and of securing a shelter and protection for girls of that class coming without friends to the country. It also affords a boarding place for girls from the city or country when temporarily out of situations. A girl arriving at the home for the first time is allowed her board for 24 hours, afterwards she has to pay at the rate of $2.50 a week.

The home owes its origin to Miss Fowler from London, who generously furnishes $500 a year for three years and also her personal superintendence for the same length of time. The work of the home is conducted in harmony with the home of the National Emigration Society of Montreal. The board of directors consist of 36 ladies with an advisory board of gentlemen. Miss Fowler, who is sacrificing so much, naturally has an important voice in the management. The membership fee is $1.00, the Government grant $500. The chief difficulty the association has is to get a good class of domestic to come to the country. The members do not like to run the risk of furnishing the passage money, but in the short time the home has existed, it has been, and in future it ought be, useful in connection with the Government immigration. The association does not yet possess a building of its own and as the present roomy house on Assiniboine Avenue, allowed free of rent by the Hudson’s Bay Company, is only for a summer residence, it is at present closed until the opening of the spring immigration. The officers are: President Mrs. Parker; vice-president, Mrs. W. H. Adams; secretary Mrs. Bole; treasurer, Mrs. Crotty.

The Children’s Aid Association

In 1898 the local Legislature passed a statute called “An Act for the Better Protection of Neglected and Dependent Children.” To insure the carrying out of this Act, an association was formed in this city called the “Children’s Association,” and this is the youngest of our city charities. By the enactment, this association may be empowered by county court judge or magistrate to take possession of any destitute orphan children, or any child that is being ill-used neglected or corrupted by its parents or guardians. The word “child” applies in this Act to any boy under 14 or any girl under 16 years of age. The association is thus constituted guardian to such child.

The children are first taken to a temporary shelter on Mayfair Avenue, Fort Rouge, which has been rented by the association and furnished at the expense of the Government and City Council, where they begin to learn the advantage of being clothed, fed and kindly treated. As soon as possible foster homes are got for them at a distance from their former evil environment, so that they may be likely to grow up respectable and useful citizens of the state. Since its recent commencement, the association has had 24 children under its care, 5 have been adopted and 7 placed in foster homes or otherwise provided for, and 11 are now in the shelter. The demand from the country for children is far greater than the supply. As the association is carrying out the enactment of the Government and also relieving the City Council of onerous burdens, liberal grants from each are expected. President, Mr. Daniel McIntyre; secretary, Dr. Blakely; treasurer, Mr. W. M. Johnstone.

Woman’s Council

Most of the Women’s Associations are affiliated with the local Council of Women of Winnipeg, organized by Lady Aberdeen. At the annual meeting of the council short accounts of each society are read and the members have thus an opportunity of getting interested in each other’s undertakings.

Other Charities

It is not within the scope of this paper to give an account of the temporary work of the city relief committee or the benevolence and charity of the different organizations of the Freemasons, Oddfellows, Foresters, United Workmen and the like, which in their active charity or their bequeathment and other benefits do so much to relieve suffering. The latter are private charities, and their reports are not accessible. The benevolent Scottish and other national associations are helpful in relieving the necessities of their poor and needy fellow countrymen, but their work does not require buildings and so, though it is very real, it is not easily seen.

Time forbids to notice the work of ladies’ charitable societies, young people’s associations and other bands of Christian workers connected with the churches. These are all doing excellent service, and exemplify one of the truest works of a living Christianity, which is to “remember the poor,” and to “visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.”

Page revised: 21 June 2014

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