Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Keywords: Volume 36, No 2 (December 2003 / January 2004)


MacDonald Dinner 2004
Come Home to History: The Dalnavert Visitors Centre
Dalnavert News
New members
Judith Hudson Beattie Receives Award of Recognition
Eira Friesen Receives National Award
Cool To Be a Canadian Essay Contest
President's Message
Heritage News
MHS Youth / Student Memberships
Young Historians' Competition
Changes to the MHS Office
Centennial Farms
Fall Programs Well Attended
MHS Web Site Continues to Grow

Dalnavert News

Recently there was a news item about the mummy of Ramesis I being returned to Egypt. In October something akin to this happened at Dalnavert to a book formerly in the Macdonald home library. Quite unexpectedly we received an e-mail message at Dalnavert inquiring whether we would be interested in a book that was linked to Hugh John Macdonald. The book is entitled Adventures in Journalism by Philip Gibbs, copyright 1923. It is inscribed: "To: Sir Hugh Macdonald, Dec 31/23" from someone with the surname "Irving". On the inside of the front cover is a bookplate bearing his adopted coat-of-arms and name.

The majority of Dalnavert's collection is composed of the treasures of many other families, most of which have been donated to the museum. There are however a few items that were known to have belonged to the Macdonalds such as the punch bowl described in the previous Newsletter, one of the parlour sofas, the china cabinet in the parlour, Daisy's sword and Jack's rowing trophy. The largest category of original Macdonald artifacts is actually books from the family home, as identified by Hugh John's bookplate. Seventy such books have found their way home.

The bookplate used by Hugh John contains elements typical of the Clan Donald. It is composed of three separate components, the crest, the shield and the motto. The armoured hand above the shield is the Clan Donald crest. The shield contains images that are common to a number of Scottish coats-of-arms: the lion rampant, the armoured hand holding a cross, the ship and the fish. Some shields depict them in different orientations or different backgrounds. The motto at the bottom "Per mare per Terran" is commonly translated to read 'By water and By land.'

December is one of the best times to see Dalnavert, for it is a time of colour, sparkle and aromas. If you have yet to see the parlour decorated for Christmas it is truly a sight to see - a tall natural fir, its branches hung with glass ornaments, strategically placed candles, gilded pine cones and festooned with popcorn garlands. It is always a challenge to spot the pickle on the tree. Why a pickle you might ask? Well, in some households it was a tradition that the first child to find the glass pickle on the Christmas tree received an extra gift. Often the first opportunity for the children to see the tree would have been Christmas morning. In the dining room the table groans under its burden of ornamentation, sparkling silverware and a dinnerware service for every requirement.

On Sunday, December 7, Dalnavert will be featuring its Festive Christmas Program from 1 to 4 p.m. In addition to an opportunity to see the house decorated for Christmas, the Pot Pourri Singers will be singing many of your favorite carols. The regular admission price is $5 for adults, $4 for Children or Seniors. However for those showing their MHS membership cards the price will be $4 for adults and $3 for Children or Seniors, This fee includes refreshments in the attic, Apple Ambrosia and dainties. The sale of tickets for the 15th annual performance by Richard Hurst of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, December 12th to 21st has been brisk; however there may still be tickets available. You can check about ticket availability by calling 943-2835.

Our Carlton Lane Gift Shop is now stocked with a variety of gift-giving solutions. Recent arrivals include a selection of attractively packaged tea or hot chocolate, Richard Hurst's A Christmas Carol CD, reasonably priced but very attractive perfume bottles and traditional shaped glass Christmas tree ornaments. The glass pickles that proved to be so popular last year are available again this year, but in two sizes. Also we have an interesting selection of books, china headed dolls, Christmas tree tinsel - tin icicles, stocking stuffers and a whole lot more.

Dalnavert Museum Hours

During Christmas week Dalnavert will be open December 27, 28, 29 and 30 then January 3 and 4 from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m., although the last tour proceeds no later than 4 p.m. During January and February Dalnavert is open for casual viewing on weekends only. However it is available on other occasions to those who wish to reserve space within the Birthday Party Program, make arrangements for a special tour and meeting for a church group or other similar group or who would wish to use the attic space for a meeting. To make such arrangements please call Tim or Nancy at 943-2835.

News Flash to all MHS Members

At the October meeting of the Manitoba Historical Society Executive, the decision was made to extend to MHS members a 20% discount on an admission to Dalnavert and a 10% percent discount on any purchases in Carlton Lane Gift Shop. To access either of these discounts the MHS member need only show a current MHS membership card. Over the course of a year there may be other instances where a special discount will apply for special programming. If in doubt of any applicable discounts just ask for Tim Worth or Nancy Anderson to provide a clarification.

New Members

Currie McMillan
Denise Kolesar - welcome back!


Key Campaign

M. Mildred Hallama
Bill Sands
Shirley K. Dickinson
Ken & Pat Zealand

Heritage Trust Fund

James Richardson & Sons Limited

Centennial Farms

Patterson Foundation
Corinne Tellier

In Memory of Caye Scott

Anna & Inga Storgaard

In Memory of Edwin Nix

Drs. H. & M. L. Duckworth
Judith Valenzuela

Judith Hudson Beattie Receives Award of Recognition

The Association for Manitoba Archives (AMA) awarded Judith Hudson Beattie with the Award of Recognition at its annual general meeting on September 25th, in recognition of her dedicated service to the preservation of the documentary heritage of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives and in appreciation for leadership in advocating the importance of archival records.

Judith Hudson Beattie has made a dedicated and enthusiastic contribution to the Hudson's Bay Company Archives over her twenty-two year career from 1981 until her retirement in January 2003. She oversaw the appraisal of the records that led to the 1994 gift of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives to the Province of Manitoba and the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company History Foundation which now funds the archives. Additionally she led the planning, construction and move of thousands of feet of records to a new multi-million dollar, state of the art storage vault which was completed in 1998. Judith's latest achievement was the publication of Undelivered Letters, co-edited by Helen Buss, in January 2003. This work is the result of a twenty-year dedication to an ambitious research project that provides a rare glimpse of the personal lives of Company employees seldom documented in the records.

Judith has served on numerous AMA committees and the Archives Committee of the Manitoba and North West Ontario Conference of the United Church of Canada. She is a member of the MHS Executive, chair of the MHS Young Historians Committee and the Manitoba Centennial Business Committee and a member of the MHS 125th Anniversary Committee.

Eira Friesen Receives National Award

Eira Friesen, a member of the Manitoba Historical Society, was one of six in Canadians to win a Governor General's award presented to women who advance equal rights. Eira Friesen has worked for equal rights for women for 50 years in the local community and with groups that have an international focus. The award was established by Governor General Edward Schreyer in 1979 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1929 Person’s Case which recognized women's equal rights to take part in government.


Professor James Edgar (Ed) Rea died in Winnipeg on October 26, 2003. Professor Rea was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1931. After receiving his early education in Kingston, he served as a navigator in the RCAF. He then moved to Manitoba where he received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Manitoba followed by a Ph.D. from Queen's University in 1971. He began his forty year teaching career in the Department of History at St. Paul's College and later joined the faculty at University College. Specializing in western Canadian political history, he wrote several books, most notably one on the Winnipeg General Strike as well as a prize-winning biography of Manitoba Senator T. A. Crerar. Professor Rea was a dynamic lecturer who developed very popular courses on the history of Manitoba and Winnipeg. He was an active member of many professional associations, serving as the Chairman of the Historic Sites Board of Manitoba from 1971-1979 and President of the Canadian Historical Association for 1990-1991. Donations may be made to the Ed Rea Memorial Fund, c/o Private Funding, University of Manitoba, R3T 2N2.

Cool To Be a Canadian Essay Contest

The Manitoba Branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association and the Manitoba Historical Society want to hear why high school students believe that it is COOL TO BE CANADIAN. They are sponsoring an essay contest for S3 students in Manitoba schools with a prize of $200.

The essay should illustrate how the American Revolution forever changed the history of the North American Continent resulting in the formation of Canada with its parliamentary system (constitutional Monarchy) and other significant events that contributed to making our country distinctly Canadian.

The prize will be awarded and all essays displayed at an evening event in June 2004.

Contest Rules

  1. Eligibility - Grade 11 History or English Students in Manitoba are eligible to enter.
  2. Theme - Why I Love Canada.
  3. Deadline - April 30, 2004.
  4. Length and format - The essay must be 600-700 words in length (3 to 5 pages) and typed or printed on standard 8½" by 11" paper, double-spaced.
  5. Documentation and Presentation
    1. The theme must be developed in a logical manner, using historical and current facts and data.
    2. Legibility, style and grammar will be considered in the judging of these written entries.
    3. All entries must include a bibliography, title page and footnotes.
    4. Students are encouraged to use a variety of sources.

Please send your entry to:

Essay Contest
c/o Margaret A. Carter
2-1800 Wellington Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3 P 2E5

The Manitoba Branch of The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada is a good resource for teachers. Members are prepared to make animated presentations in period costume to classes of all levels within a reasonable distance of Winnipeg. There are currently two Teachers' Resource booklets available at $10 per copy. They include the early Loyalist settlements of both the Maritimes and Ontario. They include not only history, but also information on early living conditions, clothing, homes, children's games and much, much more.

For further information please contact or the Association Virtual Office at (204) 489-6954. Please leave a message and your call will be returned.

President's Message

As with years past, the months of December and January forecast a busy time for the Manitoba Historical Society.

Traditional Christmas events at Dalnavert have been planned for members of the Society as well as the general public. December 3rd will see the return of "Xmas & Hogmanay Traditions - School of Scottish Arts Presentation". This event will start at 7:30 and reservations are required.

Dalnavert's annual, "A Festive Celebration of Christmas", will be held December 7th between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. This entertaining open house is a wonderful way of getting into the spirit of Christmas and to introduce newcomers to the Society. I encourage all members, their families and friends to take part in this joyous occasion and celebration of an era gone by.

One of Dalnavert's most successful events held each year is "A Christmas Carol" which has been read over many years by Winnipeg's own Richard Hurst. This festive experience will be held December 12th-21st at 7:30. With this event being sold out every year in the past, advance tickets are required. If interested in this or any of the other two programs, please call Dalnavert for additional information so as not to be disappointed.

Though the Society's official 125th Anniversary does not take place until June 25, 2004, we are starting our celebration with the Annual Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner being held in January. We are honoured to have author, Jake Macdonald as our guest speaker as well as being provided entertainment by Simpson's Folly. Please contact Jackie Friesen, Office Manager for more information on this major fundraiser.

These are just a few of the events that have been planned for all to attend over the next two months. I hope you will take part in one or all. On behalf of the Governing Council and the Executive of the Society, I would like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a safe and prosperous new year.

Peace on Earth!
Steven Place

Heritage News

The Fort Garry Hotel is celebrating its 90th anniversary. A special invitation is issued to former hotel employees and residents. The celebrations will begin on the evening of December 10 with an old fashion Twenty Dance Supper Gala similar to the extravagant gala that opened the hotel 90 years ago. It will then continue on December 11 with an open house from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. and will be capped off in the evening with a grand reunion where the hotel will host a special reception for invited guests of the hotel’s employees and special friends. Contact the hotel if you were an elevator boy, a page boy, a tray checker or lived in any of the state apartments.

Long-time Charleswood residents Len and Verna Van Roon and members of the Charleswood Historical Society have recently published a second edition of their book on the history of this Winnipeg suburb. Entitled Photos and Fragments of Charleswood History: A Collection of Historic Photographs of Our Community and the Stories They Tell, the 177-page book contains many photographs and information, starting with the prehistory of the area. Memories of early residents are also included. Copies are available for $20 each from Len and Verna by phoning 204-895-0724.

There will be a homecoming in Pilot Mound on July 2, 3 and 4, 2004 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Rural Municipality of Louise and Pilot Mound's 100th anniversary.

A landscaping plan for the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach includes a lake and waterways with an ornamental bridge and memorial gardens. This is more than a beautification project. It will help solve a drainage problem on the museum property. The estimated cost is about $200,000. Construction of the waterways has already begun. Completion is expected next year as the museum celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Manitoba's senior federal cabinet minister, Ray Pagtakhan, announced at Heritage Winnipeg's 25th Anniversary celebration that Heritage Winnipeg will receive $335,000 to help finance the creation of a virtual library and interactive guide. This grant is the final component in the $600,000 project. The virtual library and interactive guide will be a free bilingual archive of photographs, video, architectural drawings, maps and documents relating to Winnipeg's historic buildings. It will be available to the public by March 31, 2004.

Restoration of Portage La Prairie's Canadian Pacific Railway station is now under way. Recently the Portage Heritage Inc. Save the Canadian Pacific Railway Committee bought the fire-damaged station from the CPR for $10. The committee will be working with the Canadian Heritage and Monuments Board to preserve as much of the building's old charm as possible. The committee is hoping to raise $35,000 to establish a museum. A newsletter called Heritage Park is being published to publicize the project.

A banquet will be held on April 3, 2004 at the Fort Garry Hotel to celebrate the centennial of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Science. Tickets are $50.

The Brandon Sun reports that the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum will be expanding in 2004. Work is now underway on a new $40,000 motor transport building. Vehicles from the World War II era - a staff car, a jeep, a refuelling vehicle, two fire engines and a snowplow - will be on display. The building will also have a radio and observation tower on top to show how aircraft used to be guided. Five or six more phases in the museum expansion are planned for the future. All three levels of government and the general public will be targeted in a fundraising campaign.

The Centre for Rupert's Land Studies will hold its next biennial Colloquium May 26-29, 2004 in Kenora, Ontario on historic Lake of the Woods. The beautiful setting is a key link in the long waterway from Atlantic to Pacific. Papers presented will relate to any aspect of human history of the Hudson's Bay Territories known from 1670 to 1870 as Rupert's Land and to its surrounding borderlands. Proposals and enquiries about registration, field trips, special events and accommodations for the 2004 Colloquium may be sent by e-mail to or by regular mail to: The Centre for Rupert's Land Studies, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9.

MHS Youth / Student Memberships

A youth/student membership, introduced in 2003, is available to persons who are under the age of 18 or who are enrolled as fulltime students in a recognized post-secondary educational institution or college.

The youth/student membership fee is $20.

MHS 125th Anniversary Young Historians' Competition

Students are invited to explore topics of personal interest, within the larger area of Manitoba History. MHS members can help us meet our mandate by encouraging students to participate in the competition. The contest guidelines are designed to complement the Manitoba Social Studies and History curricula and need not require additional efforts on the part of the student or teacher. We ask teachers to encourage excellence in this area of study in much the same way as it is recognized at regional science fairs or athletic competitions. Each year, winners are honoured and prizes presented at a reception sponsored by the Manitoba Historical Society. Senior high students are also eligible to be considered for the Dr. Edward C. Shaw Award.

Each teacher may submit one class project or 5 individual entries. Submissions must be received at the MHS office, 470-167 Lombard Ave., Winnipeg MB R3B 0T6 no later than April 29, 2004. Following judging, teachers will be sent notification of the winners and arrangements for the retrieval of entries. The Manitoba Historical Society is not responsible for projects remaining beyond the retrieval period. Students should include photocopies rather than original documents and photographs with their submissions.

Any questions about the competitions may be directed to Nancy Anderson, Education Coordinator, Dalnavert Museum, (204) 943-2835 or Each entry must be accompanied by a fully completed application form. Application forms are available from the MHS office, 470-167 Lombard Avenue (204) 947-0559, fax (204) 943-1093.

Categories and Criteria

Judging Categories

Level A Grades 5, 6, 7
Level B Grade 8, S1, S2
Level 3 S3, S4

Entry Categories - Written Submissions (All Levels)

  1. Research Paper: Research papers will be evaluated, at an age-appropriate level, on the strength of the thesis statement, coherence of argument and historical fact. Students are encouraged to use a variety of primary and secondary sources.
  2. Family History: When writing the history of their family, students are encouraged to place their family in the context of larger historical issues and events.
  3. Historical Fiction: This category includes fictional letters, diaries, etc. Background information on the fictional document writer (age, gender, country of origin) and time period must be included with the submission. The number and accuracy of historical facts will be considered when judging this category.

Suggested Level of Written Submissions

Level A - 3 - 5 pages
Level B - 5 -10 pages
Level C - 10 - 25pages

  • Legibility, style and grammar, at an age-appropriate level, will be considered in grading all entries.
  • All written entries should include a title page and list of sources. Level C entries require a bibliography and footnotes.

Entry Categories - Non Written Submissions

  1. Posters & Paintings - Level A and B entries only
    This category encompasses all two-dimensional visual images. Submissions must be acompanied by a title page and a written explanation of their historical relevance and a list of sources.Maximum size: 20 in. x 28 in. Anything larger is not accepted.
  2. Projects - All levels
    This category includes video presentations and computer-based projects. Video presentations total length should be no more than 30 minutes. Video projects should be in VHS or DVD format. Computer Projects: Before planning to submit any computer based project please contact Nancy Anderson to discuss the compatibility of the platform being used. Projects may also be uploaded and published to a web site and the URL submitted with the registration form. All non-written entries must be accompanied by a title page, a written explanation outlining the thesis or historical relevance and a list of the sources consulted.
Click photos to enlarge

Young Historians 2003 Award winners from St. Francois Xavier Community School received special certificates and Canadian coin sets from the St. Francois Xavier Historical Society. Rudy Friesen and Jean Oucher presented the awards to Jennifer Friesen, Amy Guenther, Keri Guenther, Michaela Jochum, Kaylee Laramee, and Quillan Leclerc.

Changes to the MHS Office

If you have visited the office in recent months, you will have noticed some changes that have taken place.

Foremost, our Office Manager, Jackie Friesen's desk has been moved into the old Executive Director's/President's Office. There are many reasons for this action. Most importantly, potential changes with the front room would not allow the space to facilitate as both a reception and resource area. Members will be continuously updated through the newsletter with possible changes and renovations. This action will not by any means diminish the friendly and warm welcome which Jackie provides to all who visit our Office.

In addition, a computer has been set up for members to research articles and/or items of national, provincial and local history. Coupled with the possible idea of moving the library into the front area, the Office could then become a premier location for historic research and education of people, places and events.

With these modifications, the room currently serving as the library would serve as a boardroom for the Executive as well as other committees. It would become an ideal centre for meeting other heritage groups and associations to discuss issues of the day as well as concerns affecting our heritage community.

These changes will not take place over night. Prior to decisions being made, they will be well discussed at the Executive/Council level. Furthermore, these changes are not for the sake of change but rather steps deemed necessary by the Executive to modernize our Society and to ensure that we last for another 125 years and beyond.

Steven Place

Centennial Farms

Click here for an updated list of Centennial Farms.

Fall Programs Well Attended

Professor Dieter Roger speaks to joint meeting of MHS and German-Canadian Historical Association. Panels on display showed the contributions of German people to Manitoba.

Professor Peter Geller presents video, "Historic Film Images of Northern Manitoba" at the Manitoba Archives.

MHS web site continues to grow

The number of visitors to the MHS web site continues to grow. In October, visits came from such countries as Argentina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, and South Africa; not surprisingly, the majority of visitors (over 50%) were from Canada and the USA. Traffic has increased four-fold in the past year, and we anticipate this trend will continue as people discover the many additions to the site.

  • The MHS Transactions, published from 1882 to 1980, are excellent sources of information but copies are increasingly hard to find. With the help of students hired over the past six months, we are putting the full text of these articles on the web site. This involves scanning each page of each article, and converting it into text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. Besides making the information more readily available, the contents are now fully searchable. So it is now possible, for example, to find all articles containing references to steamboats, something that was virtually impossible before. The digital Transactions are also superior to their paper-based forbearers in that they include hyperlinks to footnotes and references to other articles, so it is faster and easier to follow them. See the Transactions at
  • A list of former Presidents of the Society is being updated with brief biographies and photographs. Biographies are also available for a few noteworthy historical figures - many of whom were also Presidents! See these biographies at
  • Important historical books are often underused because they lack a good index that includes, for instance, the names of specific places or people mentioned in the text. We have added finding aids to these books: "Manitobans As We See 'Em, 1909-10", "A History of Portage la Prairie and Surrounding District, 1970", and "The Tread of the Pioneers, 1932" with several more finding aids planned for the next year. (If you have created an index to a book that you find useful, and would like to contribute it, please contact us.) See these finding aids at:
  • Applicants for Centennial Farm and Centennial Business awards can obtain forms and other information on these programs more easily now, by downloading them from the web site at A series of maps showing the locations of all Centennial Farms designated since the beginning of the program can be viewed at
  • Miscellaneous updates to the web site include a list of the 2002 McWilliams Award winners, the revised MHS Constitution approved at the Gimli AGM, information on the 2004 Macdonald Dinner, lists of MHS committee members, and web links.

Please pass on your comments about the MHS web site to the webmaster, Gordon Goldsborough, at

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