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A Manitoba Flashback

Manitoba Pageant, January 1957

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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A. G. Bradley in his book Canada in the Twentieth Century describes the C.P.R. station as it appeared to him early in the summer of 1902.

"The poorest part of the city is the half-mile of Main street that leads down to the station. The station, too, leaves at present much to be desired. Many lines of railway run in and out of it. Even did they not, the mere passenger traffic of the C.P.R., whose through trains always stop here for from one to three hours, would keep it pretty lively for much of the day. But if Winnipeg possesses the most uncomfortable station to spend an hour or two at, for its importance in all Canada, it is in some respects much the most interesting; for here the whole stream of immigration from Europe is precipitated daily, and treads the prairie soil and breathes the prairie air for the first time. English, Irish, Scotch, Upper Canadians, French-Canadians, Icelanders, Galicians [*], Hungarians, Mennonites, Doukhobors, Norwegians, Italians, all jostle one another on the wooden platform and mingle their various tongues and brogues, and the costumes of their various countries. This is more or less perennial through the open season, but in autumn you have also the harvest hands on the war-path, who in these critical times of scarce labour are of many nationalities and kinds, ranging from Galicians to English public school boys. In addition to these motley throngs you have the traffic in and out of the busy capital of a busy province, and virtually of many busy provinces. Upon the whole, I know of no station in the world anything like so lively as Winnipeg, for its uncomfortably unpretentious size. For the student of human nature and national types, most of them, too, at the crucial moment of their lives, it is probably unique; but as a haven wherein to spend a peaceful hour with a novel, for which Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and the average Canadian stations offer sufficient advantages, Winnipeg cannot be recommended."

* Galicians are the Ukrainians who came from Galicia, a province of Ukraine.

C.P.R. Station in Winnipeg, 1902

Page revised: 30 June 2009

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