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Honorary Secretary's Report, Annual Meeting

by J. E. Martin

MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 22, 1965-66 season

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 As an historical document, Transactions may contain language that is no longer in common use and which may offend some readers.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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It gives me great pleasure to present a report on a busy active year in the life of the Manitoba Historical Society. This year we have divided the annual business meeting from the dinner because of the increasing volume of Society business. Two highlights of the business meeting will be a presentation to Mr. Leonard Reid in recognition of his fine work as Chairman of Ross House for many years and a presentation to the first winners of the Margaret McWilliams medals.

At our dinner a paper will be read on The Battle of Seven Oaks, June 19, 1816. Tomorrow is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of that tragic event. You are all invited to attend a ceremony at 10:00 A.M. tomorrow at the Seven Oaks Monument. His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, R. S. Bowles, will lay a wreath. This ceremony will not only be a reminder of the tragic events of 150 years ago ,but will also be similar to a ceremony which took place 75 years ago, June 19, 1891, when the Monument was originally dedicated.

The annual meeting is the eighth public meeting of the 1965-66 season. The first meeting in September was once again a field trip. The field trip is becoming more popular each year and this year we required four buses. Our trip took us west along P.T.H. No. 2 to Treesbank. Before stopping for lunch at Treesbank we visited the former site of the village of Millford. After lunch, we took the ferry across the Assiniboine River and visited the unspoiled sites of some of the Souris fur trading posts of 150 years ago. We then drove to Camp Shilo where we visited the Military Museum and had dinner.

At the October meeting we had a showing of two sets of slides, one from the Confederation Life series, "A Gallery of Canadian History" and the other the results of the 1964 architectural survey.

In January the regular meeting was replaced with a special testimonial dinner for Professor W. L. Morton. The dinner was held January 11, the anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald and it is hoped that in the future special events, similar in nature, will be held on this day. For January 11, 1967, we have Professor Donald Creighton scheduled to address our Society on Sir John A. Macdonald.

The papers read before the Society during 1965-66 were:

"Competition to Union: Hudson's Bay Company vs. North West Company" by Professor K. G. Davies

A Study of the Upper Canadian Rebellion, 1837 by Professor J. E. Rea

A History of Jewish Education in Winnipeg by Harvey H. Herstein

The Use of the Bow by our Indians on the Prairies by J. Vermander

Membership in the Society has declined somewhat in the past year. This may be attributed partially to the increase in membership fees and is unfortunate because our activities are increasing rapidly and the membership fee increase was more than justified.

The Provincial Government has shown its confidence in the Society by increasing the Provincial Government Grant from $3,000 to $6,000 based on a two for one matching formula as opposed to the old one for one matching formula. In addition the Provincial Government will make special Grants of $5,000 and to two of the Society's proposed Centennial publications - A Source Book of Manitoba History and a Manitoba Historical Atlas.

The Society has learned that the report prepared by Dr. W. Kaye Lamb on archival requirements has been presented to Cabinet. However, we have not received a copy of the report nor do we know what the Government's plans are in regard to the implementing of the report.

The Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature has offered the Society space in the new building which is being constructed as part of the Centennial Centre. After a great deal of consideration the Council of the Society has accepted this generous offer.

Since the last annual meeting you have received Numbers 20 and 21 of the Transactions, covering 1963-64 and 1964-65. It is hoped that the Transactions covering this year will be available this fall.

In addition to the regular three issues of Pageant, an index covering April 1956 to 1965 has been distributed to all members.

In the past year two more ethnic histories of Manitoba have been published, The Icelandic People in Manitoba by W. Kristjanson and All Things Common a history of the Hutterians by Dr. Victor Peters.

Manitoba, the Birth of a Province edited by Professor W. L. Morton was published in December. This is the first volume in a series being produced by the Manitoba Record Society. The second volume, The Dafoe-Sifton Correspondence, 1919-1921, edited by Ramsay Cook, will be published this fall.

Although the Manitoba Record Society is an independent body our members have both a financial and historical interest in its work. I am sure you are all pleased with the very fine first volume and look forward to future volumes with eager anticipation. You will be interested to know that the Record Society now has approximately 500 members. You will also be interested to know that Dr. Murray Campbell, a Past President of our Society, has succeeded Professor Morton as Chairman of the Manitoba Record Society.

Ross House enjoyed another successful year in 1965 with attendance up over ten percent to a total attendance figure of approximately 3,900. Visitors to Ross House last year came from nine of the ten provinces, from 39 of the 50 states of the Union, and from 17 foreign countries. The fine work of Mr. Leonard Reid, Chairman of the Ross House Committee is being recognized elsewhere in today's proceedings.

The Margaret McWilliams Awards Program has been completely re-organized to cover a much broader scope of historical writing. The first winners will receive their medals at this meeting. They are:

Category A. Scholarly Book

Victor Peters, All Things Common (a study of the Hutterian people of Manitoba)

Category C. University Essay or Thesis

Leo. A. Johnson (University of Toronto), Dominion Railway Policy and Manitoba Politics 1870-1883

Category D. Non-Academic Essay

Rev. F. W. Armstrong, (Category D. Non-Academic EssaySt. James, Man.) Voices in the Wilderness (an essay on the early history of the Christian Church in Manitoba and the North West 1731-1870)

Category F. Individual Contributions

W. L. Morton, Provost, University College, University of Manitoba - for his contribution over a period of years in the fields of teaching and writing.

Gwain Hamilton, Information Section, Department of the Provincial Secretary - in recognition of his sustained interest and promotion of Manitoba history, in particular for his series This Week in History distributed to newspapers throughout the Province and for his book In The Beginning.

Frank Hall, Department of Education, formerly of the Tourist Development Branch - for his work in the promotion of Manitoba history and in particular for the continuing series of articles in The Bison magazine published by the Manitoba Government Employees Association.

Category B, E, G, H. - No Awards

The Local History Committee is continuing its task. In January a news release was sent to 52 newspaper editors throughout the Province acquainting them with the aims of the Committee. A great deal of interest has been shown in the Society's pamphlet "How to Collect the History of Your District".

The Centennial Committee has been making progress. The Provincial Archives, the main centennial project of the Society, and two publications have already been discussed. Progress is being made on the publication of the best of past Transactions. Other projects that are being considered are: the publication of a popular history of Manitoba in 1970, the publication of the best of past Pageants, an "operation clean attic" which would encourage the transfer of old documents from private homes and businesses to the Provincial Archives, and the reprinting of early works such as Women of the Red River.

The Historical Liaison Committee, composed of representatives of this Society, the Manitoba Association of Architects and the Faculty of Architecture of the University is progressing. Last year no field work was done. This year your Executive met with the Committee in December and action began. Letters were sent out to local newspapers and Local History Committee contacts. A university student has been hired and is in the field now. It is the hope of this Committee that once a comprehensive inventory has been made of buildings, recommendations can be made to the appropriate governments so that the best of these buildings may be preserved.

For sometime now, your Society has been in contact with different levels of government in regard to the future fate of the statue of Queen Victoria which once formed part of the Jubilee Fountain in front of the old City Hall. I am pleased to report that the Manitoba Centennial Corporation has agreed to pay the costs of relocating and re-erecting the statue. Members of your Executive will be meeting with representatives of the Metropolitan Corporation later this month to select a suitable site in Assiniboine Park.

When your Executive meets with the Metro officials they will also discuss the possibility of the proper marking and identification of the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and the site of old Fort Douglas.

All of which is respectfully submitted. I now move the adoption of this Report.

Page revised: 22 May 2010

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