Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Volume 35, No 4
April / May 2003


Annual General Meeting & Luncheon, 31 May
President's Message
New members
Manitoba History Conference
125th Anniversary
Manitoba Book Week
McWilliams Awards 2002
Spring Field Trip
Lecture and Tour at Balmoral Hall
New Museum Committees
Macdonald Dinner 2003
History of Medicine Symposium
Lake of the Woods Historical Guided Tours
Dalnavert News
New Dalnavert Programs
Heritage News
"I Love Canada" Essay Competition
Job Opportunity - Ross House Manager

President's Message

One of my first observations upon becoming President of the Manitoba Historical Society has been the strong loyalty and support of its members. I have been pleased to sign many letters thanking members for their financial contributions and the hours they have donated as volunteers to the Society.

Through this experience, I have also noticed the same people taking part and interacting with friends and fellow members at various events. Many members register for our field trips even before they know where they will be visiting. I salute these members for it is this kind of involvement and participation that has allowed our Society to reach its 124th year.

If you are a new member, I hope you will plan to attend Society events. This past February, a New Member's Reception was held at the University Women's Club in Winnipeg. This was a very informal evening allowing new members to mingle and meet with various committee chairs, executive members and councillors as well as others who had joined the Society within the past 2 or 3 years. This event was both successful and very enjoyable.

The Society's annual multicultural dinner was held March 18th in conjunction with the Czech and Slovak Association. This is one of many events that sell out very quickly and have members return year after year. It is a great opportunity for members to have a wonderful evening and learn about the history of the many ethnic communities in our great and diverse province.

I would like to close by inviting all members to our Society's Annual General Meeting that will be held in Gimli this year. The date of this important event is Saturday, May 31 and it will include a return bus trip, the business meeting and a luncheon with guest speaker Peter Bjornson. It was decided to have our meeting outside of Winnipeg to show members and all Manitobans for that matter, that we are truly a provincial Society. The lake port town of Gimli, with its colourful history and its beautiful scenery, is an ideal location for members to convene.

Steven Place

New Members

Richard Frost
Louise Kernatz
Mark Golden
Grace Dansereau
Gail Campbell
Joan Goldsborough
Delta Marsh History Initiative


Glenn Wylie
Carl Ferris
Estate of Paul Nix
Investors Group
Wawanesa Insurance


Doris A. Millman, a long-time MHS member, died in Winnipeg on March 9th at the age of 96. She was born and raised in Souris. After completing high school she moved to Winnipeg where she attended Wesley College and the University of Manitoba, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. After marrying Linc Newman in 1934 she and her husband lived in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and London, England. After her husband's death in 1955 she and her children moved to Winnipeg where she married Ted Millman and made her home in River Heights. She was an active member of her church and she also had a keen interest in politics and world affairs.

Manitoba History Conference

The Manitoba History Conference will not be held this year but a larger conference is planned for 2004 as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of MHS.

The MHS 125 Anniversary

Special events are being planned for next year as we mark our 125th anniversary. We are looking forward to a special guest speaker for the Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner, the completion of the Dalnavert Visitors Centre, new Ross House displays, special travelling MHS displays, an anniversary logo, enhanced field trips and programs, a special Manitoba History Conference, a special Manitoba History issue and an enlarged newsletter. Your suggestions for these and other projects and events and for the promotion of the Society are most welcome. Call Carl James at 204-631-5971.

Manitoba Book Week

Every April, this year April 20 to 26, the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers and its members, in partnership with a variety of sponsors and supporters from the Manitoba book community present Manitoba Book Week.

Highlights this year include many book launches, including a new book by J.M Bumsted (Trials and Tribulations: The Emergence of Manitoba 1821-1870, Great Plains Publications). Other events include: a slide show and talk around the forthcoming publication of Crossroads of the Continent: A History of the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers (Heartland Associates); several book signings, e.g. Kevin Longfield (From Fire to Flood: A History of Theatre in Manitoba, Signature Editions); and, readings, e.g. Allan Levine (The Bolshevik's Revenge, Great Plains Publications), in Carberry Manitoba, Jim Blanchard will read from his new book, A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada (University of Manitoba Press), and on Wednesday April 23, there will be readings by nominees for the Manitoba Historical Society's Margaret McWilliams Award at Borealis Books.

There will also be events for children, events in French, publisher celebrations, contests, displays, discounts on selected Manitoba-published books, and much more! For regular updates on Manitoba Book Week activities, check out the AMBP web site at, or call 947-3335.

This week-long celebration of Manitoba books is anchored around World Book Day and held in conjunction with Canada Book Week, and is capped off in grand fashion with the fifteenth annual Brave New Words: the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards gala, April 26.

MHS Margaret McWilliams Awards 2002

The Margaret McWilliams Awards Juror Committee wishes to announce the short list of award finalists in the following categories. Winners in these categories will be announced at the Brave New Words Awards Event, April 26, 2003 at the Fort Garry Hotel. To celebrate Book Week, the Society is hosting a reading of the short listed authors at Borealis Books, April 23, 2003. Awards for categories not listed will be made at the MHS Annual General Meeting.

MHS Spring Field Trip

The Manitoba Historical Society Spring Field trip "Pioneer Settlement and Community Formation in South Eastern Manitoba" which was cancelled last year due to unfortunate flooding in the area, has been rescheduled to June 14, 2003.

All those who held confirmed bookings for the trip last year are being given first option of attending this year, and will be contacted by the MHS office for re-registration and prepayment.

In the event that a previously registered participant chooses not to attend, those on the original waiting list will be contacted and given an option to attend. Advertising will take place in the event that space is available after the re-registration process is complete.

If further information is required, please contact the MHS Office.

Lecture and Tour at Balmoral Hall

Tuesday, April 15, 2:00 p.m.
Balmoral Hall School
630 Westminster Avenue at Young Street

The lecture and personally conducted tour are by Murray Peterson, author of Balmoral Hall 1901-2001, an exceptional school celebrates its first century. Street parking is preferred as school will be in session. Transit access is by No. 10 Wolseley bus. There is no admission charge, but there will be a silver collection for light refreshments to follow.

Separate Committees Established for Dalnavert and Ross House Museums

The MHS Museums Management Committee has divided into two committees, one for Ross House and one for Dalnavert. If you wish to serve on either committee please contact the MHS office. Dalnavert staff will devote their attention exclusively to Dalnavert Museum and will no longer be responsible for managing Ross House. A part-time manager will be hired to supervise the operation of Ross House.

The Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner, January 18, 2003

We were most privileged to have had as our guest speaker, introduced by Professor Gerald Friesen, The Honourable Justice Mr. Murray Sinclair who delivered a most stimulating and provocative message.

The entertainment provided by the Summer Bear Dance Troupe under the direction of Clarence and Barbara Nepinak received a standing ovation.

Mr. Paul Haverstock, Catering Manager and Staff of the Hotel Fort Gary excelled in their serving of a scrumptious dinner at beautifully appointed tables.

The Committee is most grateful for the special effort extended to the MHS.

Thank you to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network for the coverage of the event which appeared on various newscasts.

The Manitoba Historical Society Sir John A Macdonald Fundraising Dinner Committee acknowledges with gratitude the following whose contributions greatly assisted in making the evening such a great success:

  • The Manitoba Historical Society Council and Executive Members
  • Sponsors
    • Ida Albo, Hotel Fort Garry
    • Winnipeg Free Press
    • Mrs. W. Steward Martin
    • Zealand & Company
  • Contributors
    • Ivan Eyre
    • Beyond Flowers
    • Hon. Duff Roblin
    • Dr. John Lehr
    • Rose & Ed Brocki
    • Hon. Diane McGifford
    • Céline Kear
    • WOW Hospitality
    • Mr. & Mrs. D. Donald Ross
    • Margaret Carter
    • Marjory Gillies
    • Alice Brown
    • Margaret Morse
    • Anita Neville
    • Great Plains Publications
    • Frantic Films
    • Hon. Justice K. R. Hanssen
    • Mary Beamish
    • Patill /St. James Insurance
    • Jim Blanchard
    • Hon. Chief Justice Ben Hewak
    • Senator D. D. Everett & Mrs. Everett
    • R. Frost, Winnipeg Foundation
    • University of Manitoba Press
    • Hon. Justice. W. Scott Wright
    • Canwest Global Communications
    • Marwest Management Canada Inc.
  • 2002-2002 Committee Members
    • Margaret Morse, Chair
    • Rose Brocki
    • John Bovey
    • Miles Pepper
    • Mary Louise Zorniak
    • Betty Laing
    • Bernie Wolfe
    • Jacqueline Friesen, MHS Staff

In conclusion, the Committee would like to thank MHS members and friends for attending the 38th Annual Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner.

Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg History of Medicine Symposium, April 24

The D. A. Stewart Lecture will be presented by Dr. Jock Murray Professor of Medical Humanities at Dalhousie University. The title of lecture: Health Care in Utopia: Reflections on Utopian Writings and Lessons for the Canadian Health Care System.

Dr. Murray is recognized for his work in the History of Medicine, including his most recent publication, a biography of Charles Tupper.

D. A Stewart was a President of the Manitoba Historical Society many years ago and this lecture was founded by the Faculty of Medicine in his honour.

The lecture will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2003, 5:00 p.m. at Theatre A, Basic Science Building, Bannatyne Campus, University of Manitoba Medical School. The building is contiguous with the Health Science Centre and the Brodie Centre. Parking is available on streets and in various hospital car parks.

Lake of the Woods Historical Guided Tour

The Taiga Institute for Land, Culture and Economy in Kenora, Ontario conducts historical tours of the Lake of the Woods for small groups. The tour covers over 200 km visiting many historic sites on the lake. The 24-foot tour boat is equipped with life jackets, cellular and satellite phones, GPS, sonar and underwater camera, and survival and first aid kits. The "Puzzling Boundary Tour" includes:

  • Fort St. Charles Trading Post built by La Vérendrye in the 1730s
  • French Portage Narrows
  • Three alternative sites marked by David Thompson as the most "northwesterly point" to mark the Canada/US boundary
  • Falcon Island
  • Starting point of the Dawson Trail, the early settlers' route to the Red River Colony
  • Aboriginal rock paintings
  • Island rest and snack stops
  • Lunch en route
  • Deer, eagles, bears, pelicans, cormorants and many other native species

The tour runs on specified days from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A historical presentation will be given on the evening before the tour. Total cost: $200 per person.

Contact the Taiga Institute in Kenora at (807) 468-9607, or send email to

Dalnavert News

This year's Chocolate Madness occurred on one of our bitterly cold February days. Yet 85 people made it out to the museum that day and consumed more than their fair share of chocolate. In fact the value of sampling tickets purchased increased from $3.64 per person to $4.07 per person. Steve Place appeared on the A-Channel's "Big Breakfast" show, while Amy Howie and her friend Holly provided the "Karma Readings". Then there were the 33 people who contributed a wide variety of baking to the event, Raspberry Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Strawberry Torte, Crazy Chocolate Cake, etc.

Driving all the proposed changes for Dalnavert is the agreed position that increased programming will be required if Dalnavert is to be successful in the future. To this end a grant from the Heritage Grants Program has enabled the development of a series of Pilot Programs. We will be piloting new curriculum programs for school groups in March and in April there will be a series of programs for children during the April Break week, an adult workshop and enhanced programs associated with the tours.

There have been regular meetings of the new building development committee and as most people will know news about the impending development of a Dalnavert Visitors Centre made both the Free Press and CBC recently. Jim Blanchard, who has agreed to be the spokesperson with regards to fielding any questions from the media, did a fine job in outlining our plans and objectives. We are optimistic that funds will be in place so that the project can be started this year and completed in 2004. It will be a tremendous plus for the MHS 125th Anniversary Celebrations.

If you wish to keep up-to-date on the developments of the Dalnavert Visitor's Centre, information and pictures will be provided to the MHS web site ( on a regular basis.

For those who look forward to supporting Dalnavert by contributing to our Garage Sale, this year's fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, May 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can drop things off at Dalnavert or if you can not make it down please call Carl at 631-5971 or Bill at 269-4639 to arrange a pick-up.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. the School of Scottish Arts will be wrapping up this years lecture program with a presentation of "Touring the Links and Lanes of Scotland". The admission cost which includes refreshments is $8 per person. Advance reservation is required for this program and can be done by calling (204) 943-2835.

What are your plans for Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11th? How about including a visit to Dalnavert in your Mother's Day plans. All mothers are admitted free when accompanied by at least one of their children (no age limitations apply in either instance).

United Empire Loyalist Dominion Conference delegates will visit Dalnavert as they tour the city on June 5th and 6th.

Dalnavert Programs Take a New Direction - A Special Report

If it is possible, over time, for a house to become like a living organism (and at least one long-time volunteer at Dalnavert insists that this is so), then its bricks, wood, paint and collection are its body. These are the physical aspects that others see, the parts upon which first impressions are judged.

The staff and volunteers who work at the house, and who spend so much of their own lives there, are its mind. They provide its intellectual focus, preserving it, caring for it, and carrying out their daily tasks with dedication and integrity.

The programs, the events that are scheduled year-round, are the soul of the house. These are the public offerings that generate enthusiasm, respect, and loyalty from the community which the house serves. As communities change over time, Dalnavert, too, must change and adapt in order to survive. By definition, a living organism is never static, and the proposed changes to Dalnavert's mind, body and soul, which will take place over the next year and a half, are specifically designed to ensure the Museum's long-term sustainability. According to information released by Statistics Canada on 30th March, 2000, total attendance and revenue at all museums in Canada increased 12% between 1991 and 1998. History museums, for this same period, increased their attendance by 21% and their annual revenues by 9%. This increase is largely due to a recognition by museum managers that programming is the single most important factor in developing new audiences and in encouraging return visits. Museums have realised that, to remain relevant to their communities, they must continually revise, upgrade and provide new programming on a regular basis.

On 1st April, 2003, Dalnavert Museum will introduce its new interpretive direction with ROLE CALL. During this month long program, visitors to the Museum, may imagine and design new inventions, explore personal history through collage, and meet and speak to a fascinating, but little known, figure from Winnipeg's past. In addition, three new school programs -- the first to be available in several years -- will be unveiled.

Dalnavert's new interpretative mandate will focus on thematic program content -- the subjects of which are derived from larger societal and historical issues. The concept for April's program, for example, was suggested by some interesting statistics. During the last forty years of the 19th century, more than 676,000 patents were granted by the U.S. Patent Office (26,272 were filed in 1890, alone). It has been theorized that the rapidity and scope of technological and cultural changes during the late 19th century rival even the technological changes of today. Implicit in these statistics is the question: how were people's lives/roles impacted by this rapid change.

The three public programs scheduled in April each approach this question in different ways. The Spring Break children's workshop (Mother of Invention) looks at who invents things; the processes of how things are invented; and examines some of the "hot, new" inventions of the 19th century found in Dalnavert's collection. The artist-led workshop for adults (Who are You?) will explore the relationship between past, present and place on your role/s in life. In Dr. Amelia Makes a House Call, the role of an early social reformer will be explored.

Mother of Invention is a hands-on/brains-on workshop for children ages 6 to 11 during Spring Break. Led by artist Claire Marchand, children will have opportunities for some innovative problem solving. A series of questions will ignite the creative powers of the participants, as they plan and design their very own inventions. Claire Marchand, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree, is a local artist who works in drawing, painting and small-scale sculpture. Her work has been included in exhibitions across the country. In addition to visual art, Ms Marchand works as a Flamenco dancer/choreographer/singer and instructor in Winnipeg. Special programming to accommodate parents and their younger children will also be available at the Museum during Spring Break. Museum interpreters will host a child-friendly tour, storytelling and activities.

In Who are You, local artist, Valerie Dewson, will lead workshop participants in an engaging exploration of their heritage, as it relates to/complements/contrasts and contradicts their present lives. Using the medium of mixed media collage, adult participants in this workshop (previous art experience is not required) will create a visual image that portrays their various roles in life. Cultural identity, family history and personal subjectivity will combine in a portrait that expresses more than physical appearances. Valerie Dewson, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba, is well-known in Winnipeg's artistic community. Her work has been exhibited at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Studio Building; the Main/Access Gallery; Ace Art; and the Portage Arts Centre. Ms Dewson teaches at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and has led a variety of workshops in public and private schools throughout Manitoba.

Dr. Amelia Yeomans was one of the first women doctors to practise in Winnipeg in the late 19th century. She was an outspoken social reformer who tackled such issues as inadequate housing, sanitation, women's equality, morality and temperance. During the performances of Dr. Amelia Makes a House Call, visitors to Dalnavert Museum will have opportunities to meet and speak with her. Actor Joyce Krenz is featured in the role of the outrageous Dr. Amelia. Ms Krenz has appeared in numerous Canadian theatre, film and television productions, including DaVinci's Inquest; Shirley Holmes; The David Milgaard Story (for which she won a Best Female Actress Blizzard Award in 2001); at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival; Black Hole Theatre; Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre; PTE; MTC; Actor's Showcase; Banff Theatre School; and the Illusion Theatre in Toronto.

Three new educational programs for schools are available for Kindergarten to Grades 6. They have been designed specifically to complement the new provincial Social Studies curriculum, and target a wider range of grades. New school programs will explore a variety of grade-appropriate social and cultural issues which bridge life in Winnipeg in the 1890s with current issues in today's schools and community. Following are descriptions for individual programs:

Come Visit Me (Kindergarten and Grade 1)

Whether it's the 1890s or 2003, the lives of children are shaped by their communities. Students will be introduced to children from the past and discover shared connections. This program begins with the premise that students are invited to Dalnavert to visit, play and explore just as if visiting a friend's house today. The children of the house are planning a party and would like their visitors' help to make toys, choose the best games and pick favourite stories. Through this program, students will gain an understanding of specific elements of community that shape children's lives; gain an awareness of what life was like for some children in 1895 Winnipeg, and develop an appreciation of the connections they share with others across space and time.

Di .ver .city (Grades 2 and 3)

In this program, students will explore the stories, impact and contributions of the diverse cultures that make Winnipeg the community that it is. In the manner that people move to start a new life elsewhere, students will take on the role of potential immigrants who have travelled to Winnipeg to scout or check out the city. Students will develop an understanding of the diverse cultures which shaped and continue to shape Winnipeg; and gain an appreciation for the value of diversity and the way in which it enriches the lives of community members.

It’s All Over Now Even the Shouting (Grades 4 to 6)

Since its incorporation as a province, Manitoba's history has been defined by social activism. This program will explore how individuals can work together to effect change on issues both large and small. As a group of concerned citizens might meet to initiate action, students will be invited to the house as a group of community members who are mobilizing for a cause. As concerned citizens they will discuss social problems affecting their city, tour the house to consider 19th century technology available for improving social conditions and look at the efforts that are required to bring about change. During this program, students will develop an understanding of the consequences that Winnipeg's rapid growth had on the social fabric; gain an awareness of the processes involved in taking up a cause; develop an appreciation for the value and necessity of the collaborative process to effect change; and consider ways that these issues can be applied to their own lives and schools.

These programs were partially funded by the Heritage Grants Program - Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

For further information on any of these programs, or to register for workshops, please call Dalnavert Museum at 204-943-2835.

Heritage News

The Clanwilliam and Districts Homecoming Centennial Celebrations take place on July 12 and 13. The community includes the former school districts of Empire, Crocus, Lakelet, Grey and Little Clanwilliam. For information on centennial events and on ordering a new community history or cook book check the web page or email the organizers at

Shoppers at the Dauphin Market Place Mall viewed heritage displays set up to celebrate Canada's Heritage Day. Participating organizations were: the Fort Dauphin Museum, Trembowla Cross of Freedom, Manitoba Genealogical Society, the Dauphin and District Arts Legacy Fund and the CN Rail Museum.

A stone fence that runs along parts of Seventeenth and Eighteenth streets which was given heritage status by the City of Brandon will benefit from the $18,000 repairs the city plans to make over the next few years. The fence, which is over 100 years old, is the first object in Brandon to receive the heritage designation that is usually reserved for buildings.

Five properties were officially designated as heritage sites at a ceremony at Brandon City Hall on February 15. The designated buildings were: the Chrest/Fraser Block at 1031 Rosser Avenue, the former Christie residence at 404 Thirteenth Street, the Birchill and Howey Block at 908 Rosser Avenue, Casa Maley (now a bed and breakfast) at 1605 Victoria Avenue and the LaPlont Block at 924 Rosser Avenue. A 14x18-inch plaque, containing a brief description of the historical significance of each structure will be installed this spring.

Author John Warms is writing a history to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Stony Mountain Institution. The book will chronicle the history of the prison's staff and inmates, including events that have occurred over the years. Anyone with information that might be useful can contact the author at 344-5111, ext. 5027.

A book with the working title, From Paddles to Propellers - A History of Matheson Island, - A Fishing Community with more than 800 pictures and 700 pages will be launched at Matheson Island's centennial celebration scheduled for August 1 - 4, 2003. The authors, Neill and Edith Gunten, are pastors of the Riverton Fellowship Church and acting ministers to residents of Pine Dock and Matheson Island. Many will remember fondly the MHS field trips to Matheson Island a few years ago.

The Cranberry Portage 75th Anniversary reunion is from July 31 to Aug. 4, 2003. For information, contact : Wayne Streamer, Box 48, Cranberry Portage, Man. R0B 0H0 or phone 204-472-3271 or 204-472-3279.

The Brunkild Centennial will take place July 27,-29, 2003.

"I Love Canada" - Essay Competition

The Manitoba Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada and the MHS are sponsoring an essay competition for grade 11 students. The essay should be 600 to 700 words in length. The theme of "I Love Canada" must be developed in a logical manner, using current facts and historical data. Students are encouraged to also use emotional reasons for their supporting material All entries should include a bibliography, title page and footnotes. Essays should be typed, using Ariel font # 11 on 81/2 x 11 inch pages. Entries must be submitted by April 30, 2003 to Essay Contest, Keith Remple, Box 257, Morris MB R0G 1K0.

Employment Opportunity - Ross House

The MHS requires a manager for Ross House Museum for this summer, but who will also handle any business relating to the museum during the off-season. The Manager would be responsible to the Manitoba Historical Society through the Ross House Museum Management Committee. This is a 12-month part time position paying $6,500.

The Ross House Museum Manager will:

  • supervise and participate in the ongoing maintenance of Ross House Museum and its surrounding grounds
  • guide the Collections Management Program pertaining to the Museum's collection of artifacts
  • co-ordinate in the hiring, training and supervising of all staff, paid and volunteer alike
  • supervise the opening and closing of the museum on a daily basis as well as at the beginning and end of the season
  • be prepared to make regular visits to the museum to supervise the staff and develop contacts with the Point Douglas Community
  • maintain a program of effective public relations and promotions of the museum's programs and projects
  • co-ordinate the organizing of special projects and events, such as the annual Canada Day barbecue
  • provide a variety of office management functions such as the maintenance of office files, handling the visitor statistics and reports, bookkeeping, banking and payroll pertaining to the museum's operation
  • report regularly to the chair of the Ross House Management Committee, attend meetings of the committee, and write reports for the MHS Executive and Council
  • prepare grant applications for funding when requested

A letter of application with a résumé and two references should be submitted to the MHS office by April 8th, 2003.

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