Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Volume 35, No 5
June / July 2003


President's Message
New members
MHS Dalnavert Interpretative Visitor Center Contributors
MHS Office Redevelopment
MHS Email Address Change
Amendment to the Vital Statistics Act
Biographer of Donald Bain Would Like Your Assistance
Dalnavert News
Heritage News
Sheila Copps Launches Virtual Museum of Canada's Community Memories
Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame
Transition Period for the Delivery of Services to Museums
Recent Acquisitions to the University of Manitoba Archives
Lionel Dorge Bursary Fund
Ross House Museum
MHS Margaret McWilliams Awards
Manitoba da Itihas
Centennial Farms
MHS 125th Anniversary Logo Competition
Lake of the Woods Tour

President's Message

Over the years, the Manitoba Historical Society has relied on the generous support of its members and friends to contribute to the annual Key Campaign. This campaign is to assist the Society in its day-to-day operations: rent, postage, office supplies, etc. Though these items may seem minute, they are absolutely essential to the livelihood of our organization.

With the Manitoba Historical Society's 125th anniversary six months away, this year's campaign is more important than ever. Though government grants are greatly accepted and appreciated each year by our Society, the amounts provided are relatively low and have not increased over the years. Without such increases, we must rely on financial contributions from the membership to assist in the operations of the office and delivery of programmes and events.

Added to the day-to-day operations are the issues of maintaining (and increasing) staff salaries, taxes as well as other challenges facing the Society. With costs constantly rising, I appeal to all who are able to make a financial contribution to ensure that the Manitoba Historical Society reaches its 125th year.

I hope those who attended our AGM in Gimli had a wonderful time and on behalf of the Council, hope that all members and friends have a safe and relaxing summer.

Steven Place

New Members

Truus Oliver
Nancy Newman & Jaime R. Catalan
Nancy Charnley
Diane & Gordon Davidson
Geraldine Lane
Winnifred Warkentin
Chad Lennon
Lucille Andrews
George Derwin
Gordon R. & Jacqueline Friesen


Margaret Morse
Carl James

MHS Dalnavert Interpretative Visitor Center Contributors

Ruth Palmour
R. T Ross Holdings
Albert D. Cohen
Gendis Inc.
The Asper Foundation
The Richardson Foundation
National Leasing
Pollard Banknote Limited

MHS Office Redevelopment

The MHS Executive and Office Manager would like to extend sincere thanks and appreciation to Gordon Goldsborough and Gordon R. Friesen, for volunteering their considerable time and effort during the ongoing office reorganization and redevelopment. It is very much appreciated.

We also extend our thanks and appreciation to Management and Staff of Marwest Management, for their professional manner and courteous service expended on our behalf during Phase One of the office redevelopment.

Thank you to our members, committees and the public for their continued patience during the ongoing redevelopment.

MHS Email Address Change

The email address for the MHS Office will be phased out gradually over the next few months. Both the current address ( and the new one ( are checked daily at the MHS Office. Effective immediately, people are encouraged to use the new address for all email correspondence. The Society's old address will be discontinued at an undetermined date later this year.


Virginia Gingerick Berry, a long-time MHS member, died in Victoria, B.C. on March 22. She was born in the United States in 1915 and took her M.A. and Ph.D degrees in Medieval Studies at the University of Chicago. She moved to Winnipeg on her marriage to Edmund Berry of the Classics Department at the University of Manitoba. She taught at St. John's College from 1943 to 1944. She was active as a board member and as a member of the women's committee of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In 1986 she was made a member of the Order of Canada for her work in the arts community. In 1987 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters at the University of Winnipeg. As guest curator of the Winnipeg Art Gallery she wrote two book-length exhibition catalogues. This year she completed a manuscript on the role of women in Manitoba art.

Barbara Anne Johnstone, a life member of the Manitoba Historical Society died on April 20 in Selkirk at the age of 77 years. A native of Winnipeg, she attended Wolseley, Isaac Brock and Gordon Bell schools. In 1943 she enlisted in the Women's division of the RCAF. Subsequently she trained in nursing at the Winnipeg General Hospital. A passion for Canadian history led to her appointment as Custodian (later curator) of the Hudson's Bay Company Museum in its Winnipeg store. Following the closing of this museum in 1961 she was appointed Superintendent of the National Historic Park of Lower Fort Garry, the first woman in Canada to be named to such a position. Here she remained, participating in the fort's restoration until ill health forced her retirement in 1967. In the same year she received both the Margaret McWilliams Medal and the Manitoba Centennial Medal for her work in history. In addition to the MHS she was a life member of the Manitoba Archaeological Society and the Canadian Legion. She wrote many articles and also made presentations communicating her knowledge and enthusiasm for Canadian history.

Amendment to the Vital Statistics Act

An important amendment to the Manitoba Vital Statistics Act came into effect on 1 January 2003. Previously, birth, marriage, and death records for a person were available only to close family members. Now, a record is considered open, and therefore freely accessible by anyone, if it is more than 100 years after the birth, 80 years after the marriage, or 70 years after the death. Useful genealogical and historical information can be gleaned from vital statistics records, so it is encouraging that such records are now much more readily available to the general public.

Applications are still made through the Vital Statistics office in Winnipeg at 254 Portage Avenue, phone 945-3701, at a cost of $25 per request. But all the open records are also available via the Internet at a cost of $12 per search. A person can conduct a search to ascertain that records are available for a particular person, then a digital copy of the record can be ordered on-line. Best of all, if one does not need an official copy, the information provided on-line for free may be sufficient. This is similar to the system operated by the British Columbia provincial government with its vital statistics records Find the database at

Biographer of Donald Bain Would Like Your Assistance

Donald H. Bain (1874 - 1962) was a prominent Winnipeg businessman whose wholesale grocery brokerage firm, Donald H. Bain Limited, had offices across Canada. As a young man, he was captain of the Winnipeg Victorias amateur hockey team which, in 1901, captured the Stanley Cup (incidentally, the last Winnipeg team to do so). A multi-talented athlete inducted to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bain has been described as "the most broadly talented amateur athlete that Manitoba has ever produced" with medals for bicycling, shooting, skating, gymnastics, among others.

A biography of Donald Bain is being prepared by MHS Webmaster Gordon Goldsborough, who would like to hear from Bain's former employees, friends, neighbors, hunting partners, business acquaintances, and others - anyone with personal anecdotes and memories, photographs, or anything at all. No detail is too small! Contact Gordon by sending email to or call 204-474-7469 (toll-free in Canada at 800-432-1960 extension 7469). Send mail to 2021 Loudoun Road, Winnipeg, MB R3S 1A3.

Dalnavert News

A Doctor's Bag of 1900

A doctor of the 1900's or earlier, where house calls were routine, was called upon to apply his or her skills in a wide variety of ways. The doctor's bag may have contained almost anything that he/she might have expected to encounter, such as: a Stethoscope, a Laryngeal Mirror, a Pair of Obstetrical Forceps, Probes, an Opthalmoscope, Nitroglycerin pills, Neatsfoot Oil, antiseptics like Carbolic Acid, Creosote Pills, or Tincture Arnica. These items were recently borrowed from The Manitoba Museum for a temporary exhibit at Dalnavert, in conjunction with the special program that ran in April, Dr. Amelia Yoeman's Makes a House Call.

Volunteer tea

On Sunday April 27 Dalnavert held it annual Volunteer Tea at the St. Boniface Museum. Curator Tim. Worth thanked all of the volunteers for their time and devotion to Dalnavert, reminding them that it would be impossible to operate the museum on the same basis without their able assistance. The following volunteer awards were presented:

  • Five Year Awards: Cheryl Ottenbreit, Muriel Aboul-Atta, Martin Olafson, Mark Milner, Kathleen Beatson, Kristie Iskierski, Carly Iskierski
  • Ten-year Awards: Carl James, Jeanette Olafson
  • Fifteen-Year Award: Jo Millard
  • Twenty-Year Plus Award: Lee Treilhard, Margaret Astwood

The occasion also recognized the efforts of Barb Howie who has been Dalnavert's Coordinator of Volunteers over the past thirteen years but who is retiring at the end of May. Mrs. Howie was presented with a hand-crafted glass bowl. She tells us that she plans to fill her time volunteering to assist AIDS patients.

Fathers' Day

On Sunday June 15, all fathers, accompanied by their children will be admitted free of charge to Dalnavert Museum. For those looking for that unique gift for Dad our Carlton Lane Gift Shop could be the answer. What a great way to treat someone special on Father's Day, while enjoying an elegant Canadian treasure.

On Sunday June 1, 2003, the summer hours of operation will come into effect at Dalnavert. From June 1st to August 31 the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last tour half-hour before closing.

Dalnavert Volunteer Awards 2003:
Carl James, Jeanette Oloafson, Carly Iskierski, Martin Olafson, Mark Milner, Muriel Aboul-Atta, Margaret Astwood, Lee Treilhard

Dalnavert Management Committee:
Left to right: seated: Gloria Seale, Barb Howie, Bill Fraser.
Standing: Deborah Edwards, Nancy Anderson, Shirley Bradshaw, Time Worth, Karolyn Bradley, Carl James.
Missing: Victor Sawelo (photographer), John Cooper, Kathleen Beatson, Terry Willerton, Rob Inman, Stephanie Middagh

The final meeting of the present Dalnavert Management Committee was held on May 21.

Dalnavert Garage Sale

Garage Sale co-chairs, Sharon Sobey and Carl James

The Dalnavert Garage Sale on May 24 was very successful. Approximately $1800 was raised to support Dalnavert's operation. Thank you to all who donated items or worked on the sale.

Heritage News

The Pembina Valley Honey, Garlic and Maple Syrup Festival will take place on September 13 at the fairgrounds and arena in Manitou. Events will include a pancake breakfast (7:30 to 10 a.m.), official opening (11a.m.), gourmet alley featuring Manitoba foods and beverages (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and a heritage play in Manitou's historic Opera House performed by Oak Valley Productions (2:30). Throughout the day there will be garage sales, a craft show, a farmers' market and children's and teen's activities.

The official opening of La Maison Gabrielle-Roy occurs on June 19. The time will be announced in the media. Without the financial assistance of Heritage Canada, the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, the City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Foundation, La Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal and numerous benefactors this historic landmark at 375 Deschambault would not have been restored as a monument for future generations.

The St. Vital Historical Society's new history book, History of Settlement and Development of St. Vital contains 122 pages of information about the early buffalo hunts, market gardeners, stores, churches and government. The cost of the book is $15 plus $2.50 for postage and handling. The book is available from the office at 900 St. Mary's Road R2M 3R3 or from Hugh R. Kennedy at 256-4003. The St. Vital Historical Society will hold an open house at the Norberry Auditorium, 900 St. Mary's Road on June 10th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be displays with a sports theme, featuring trophies, ribbons, clothing, etc. and artifacts and posters from the society's archives, community clubs and schools. Society publications and pins will be available.

The Roseisle School reunion is planned for July 12. One of he main events will be the unveiling of a cairn commemorating the 100 year history of the Roseilsle School District, from 1892 to 1992. Activities take place at the school in the afternoon and a supper and social evening follows in the Carman Legion. Former students or teachers please call Doug Keith at (204) 828-3586.

The Lower Fort Garry Volunteer Association is taking on the challenge of building a 40 foot replica of a York Boat and more good hands are needed to help with the project. From May 12 to mid August the builders will be using traditional methods on-site in full view of visitors. Funding was provided by the association, Manitoba Advanced Education and Training, the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site and Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism. The boat will add to the Fort's artifacts while raising public awareness about Manitoba's history.

A replica Viking ship sails into Gimli harbour on June 21st to mark the official launch of a new travelling exhibit at the New Iceland Heritage Museum. The 43 ft. long, 14.25 ft wide Viking Saga will draw attention to Gimli's origins at the grand opening of the FullCircle: First Contact - Vikings and Skraeklings in Newfoundland and Labrador exhibit at the Gimli Museum. The exhibit continues until September 7. It is based on the L'Anse aux Medows permanent exhibit in Newfoundland. Viking Saga was built by Paul Compton of Newfoundland. He and his wife, Lori, dressed as Vikings, will offer interpretive tours of the ship and possibly trips on Lake Winnipeg as well. The boat will make its first stop in Winnipeg at the Forks on June 15th.

"Save Our Station" was the headline recently in the Minnedosa Tribune. The Minnedosa CPR station, built in 1910, saw its last passenger train in 1960. About three years ago the last of the station's communication equipment was moved and the building ceased to serve any useful purpose. The building is empty, unheated and smashed windows have been covered by sheets of plywood. The foundation is crumbling and the roof needs repair. The Tribune along with the Chamber of Commerce held an open house at the station on May 17. The public was invited to stroll through the station and to discuss ideas for future use of the structure.

Mary Annie Cole, a nurse who operated the Miami Cottage Hospital from 1921 to 1947 will have a street named after her in a ceremony on June 21st. The street is currently known as Third Street. More than 1000 babies were born at this hospital. Cole was born in England in 1878 and moved to Canada with her husband in 1909.

In Brandon, the Polish Gymnastic Association Sokol, also known as Sokal Hall celebrated its 90th anniversary in May. The organization began in a local home by a group of Polish Brandonites who wanted to maintain the Polish tradition and culture. Nine months later the group moved to its first hall, on 18th Street North. Needing more space for its 500-plus members the club built a new facility on 11th Street North in 1970. Membership has declined since the 1980s but the club continues to support the Brandon community through youth scholarships and the supportive housing at Sokal Manor.

Ethelbert and Pine River Lions Clubs are determined that a time in the history of their area will not be forgotten. In the 1930s the federal government set up relief camps to provide work for unemployed young men. Two of these camps were in the Duck Mountains. Camp #1 was on the eastern end of Singush Lake by Provincial Road 367. Two hundred men were housed here. While most of the remains of the camp are gone, a tower and a stone chimney remain. The two Lions clubs have erected a chain link fence around the chimney and are planning to do the same around the tower. They also hope that with the help of park staff they will set up a walking path from the chimney through the site of the relief camp and back to the tower.

Steinbach city council has approved he renaming of a two-block stretch of sidewalk running from Highway 12 to Reimer Avenue the Johann G. Barkman Walkway in honour of the community's longest serving leader. Johann G. Barkman was mayor from 1884 to 1912, some of the most difficult times in the town's history.

Some changes have taken place at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach. A new executive director, Sue Barkman and a new curator, Roland Sawatsky have been hired. Another change is the establishment of a bookstore/library café in the former gift shop area in the Village Centre building. One hundred and four items were added to the museum's collection, including a Russian winter coat with Persian lambskin lining dating back to before the Russian Revolution.

The Delta Marsh History Initiative all-you-can-eat Fish Fry takes place on Canada Day from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Delta Interpretive Centre on Cherry Avenue in Delta. Tickets are $10 per person, available at the door.

Sheila Copps Launches Virtual Museum of Canada's Communuity Memories

Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps announced the Virtual Museum of Canada's Community Memories, a group of new exhibits that feature the digital features of community museums, preserving them forever and making local histories available to all Canadians. Twenty-one exhibits from local museums in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador are currently on display at Over 100 museums from other parts of Canada will have stories posted online in the coming year.

Serving a King and Country: Transcona's Hometown Heroes developed by the Transcona Historical Museum will be posted online this year. This exhibit focuses on the impact of war on the community and recognizes the courage of its hometown heroes. Other Manitoba museums that will post their stories within the next year are: Ashern Pioneer Museum, Prairie Mountain Regional Museums Collections Inc (Shoal Lake), Riverton Transportation & Heritage Center, Morden and District Museum, and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame Museum.

Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame

The Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Inc at their annual general meeting at the Keystone Centre in Brandon on April 14th announced that seven Manitobans will be inducted in the Hall of Fame:

  • Abram E. Ens, Rhineland - seed grower, dairy farmer, Manitoba Daiy and Poultry Co-op and Manitoba Milk Control Board, Mennonite Disaster Service, flood and drought relief programs
  • Ernest Hugh McCausland (deceased), Boissevain - raised Yorkshire swine and president of Manitoba Swine Breeder, raised Polled Swine, seed grower, Turtle Mountain Agricultural Society, Boissevain Chamber of Commerce, led PeeWee Calf Club, Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal
  • Glen Alexander McDowell, Miami - In partnership with Deerwood soil and Water Management Association, Ducks Unlimited and PFRA controls run-off from nearby escarpment, uses solar energy for electric fences and water pumps, raises Charolais, concern for nature and wildlife, mentor and fried to young people
  • Alexander Runciman (deceased) - president of UGG for 20 years, first president of Rapeseed Association of Canada, in Saskatchewan and Canadian Agricultural halls of fame, officer of the Order of Canada in 1983
  • J. R. (Jack) Simplot, Boise Idaho, an American who influenced agriculture in Canada - potato growing and processing, cattle feed, fertilizers and chemicals; generous donations to sports, charities and special events in Brandon
  • Douglas Allan Smith, Alexander - president of Swine Breeders Association, showed hogs at many fairs, hosted tours for farmers and 4-H groups, Elite seed grower, president of local agricultural society
  • Dr. Baldur Rosmund Stefansson (deceased), Winnipeg - Ph.D., oilseed breeder in Plant Science Department at University of Manitoba; through his efforts, Tower rapeseed was the first "double zero" variety, "Father of Canola"

Transition Period for the Delivery of Services to Museums

Barry Hillman, co-ordinator of Advisory and Training Service and Preventative Conservation Services of the Manitoba Museum responded in the Preventative Conservation Newsletter to concerns of Dalnavert and other museums about changes in services to museums. During a one-year period of transition the Manitoba Museum will continue to operate MATS/PCS although at a reduced level. Services will include advice and consultation, information on preventative conservation and on-site visits. The major project of MATS/PCS in consultation with the Historic Resources Branch of the department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism will be the development of a risk assessment/disaster response program which has been identified as a priority by Manitoba's community museums. In addition the Manitoba Museum will be working with the Historic Resources Branch to transition the delivery of basic preventative conservation services to community museums. The Historic Resources Branch will be taking the lead in developing a new service model to address the collective heritage preservation and conservation needs.

Recent Acquisitions to the University of Manitoba Archives

Papers of the Right Honourable Edward R. Schreyer, former Governor-General of Canada, MLA, Member of Parliament and Premier of Manitoba are available at the Archives and Special Collections Department in the Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the University of Manitoba. The papers cover the years from 1950 to 1988. The collection consists of 8.75 metres of textual records and 1.44 metres of photographs and audio-visual recordings. The processing of this collection by Archives member, Lewis St. George Stubbs, was made possible by the financial assistance of the Heritage Grants Program (Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism).

More information is on the archives web site at

Papers of author Betty Jean Wylie and educator Dr. Sybil Shack have also been deposited in the university archives. For more information contact Brian Hubner, Reference Archivist at (204) 474-9966 or email

An archives dedicated to preserving he memory and heritage of Ukrainian Canadians has opened at the University of Manitoba Archives. Staff will gather photos, papers, documents and other related information on an ongoing basis from individuals and institutions in the Ukrainian community. Some of the items already deposited are two films of the first Ukrainian youth rally in Canada that took place in the 1930s in Saskatoon, a 1905 photo of the Tin Can Cathedral and a collection of more than 50 audio cassettes of interviews with Ukrainian pioneers donated by historian Michael Ewanchuk.

Lionel Dorge Bursary Fund

A bursary fund has been set up to honour and remember Manitoba historian Lionel Dorge (1934-2001). The bursary aims to continue the work of a man who deliberately stayed in the background, encouraging and supporting others to discover their vocation and to acquire knowledge and professionalism. Lionel served as president and director of La Société historique de Saint-Boniface. He wrote books and articles on Franco-Manitoban history but most of his work was behind the scenes, helping other writers and researchers. He was the co-founder of Western Canada's first French language publishing company, Les Editions du Blé.

Criteria for the bursary include: research, writing and publication in French of a historical study dealing with French or Métis Manitoba or a novel set in French or Métis Manitoba. Tax receipts will be issued. A donation form may be obtained from Francofonds Inc., 340 Provencher Boulevard, Suite 204 Saint-Boniface, Manitoba R2H 0G7, phone (204) 237-5852.

Ross House Museum

Ross House Museum opened for the season on June 1. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday until August 31. The museum is located in Joe Zuken Heritage Park at 140 Meade Street N., between Euclid and Sutherland avenues. The house, built of oak logs between 1852 and 1854, was originally the home of William and Jemima Ross. In 1855 William Ross became the first postmaster at the Red River Settlement and the post office was located in his home.

Peter Broussard, Lisa Muswagon and Victor Sawelo

Ross House is operated by the Manitoba Historical Society in co-operation with the City of Winnipeg. Victor Sawelo is the museum manager The two interpreters are Peter Broussard who is also site manager and Lisa Muswagon who also is making contacts in the community.

The Ross House annual Canada Day hot dog barbecue, which will be held again this year, is popular with families in the Point Douglas community.

MHS Margaret McWilliams Awards


Walk Towards the Gallows, Reinhold Kramer & Tom Mitchell, Oxford Unversity Press

Historical Fiction

Footsteps in the Snow, Carol Matas, Scholastic Canada


1000 Miles of Prairie, Jim Blanchard, editor, University of Manitoba Press

Local History

From Fire to Flood: A History of Theatre in Manitoba, Kevin Longfield ,Signature Editions
Honourable Mention: David Heinrich Friesen Family, Lynn Ward


Video, Honourable Mention: Riverview Health Centre The First Century of Legacy and Care, Riverview Health Centre Educational Special Projects

Manitoba da Itihas

MHS member Jogindar Shamsher has written Manitoba da Itihas, the first of two volumes on the history of Manitoba in the Punjabi languge. Manitoba is home to a significant number of Punjabis. Shamsher recognized the need to educate the community about the history of their new homeland. He also believed that in their own language it would be easier for them to read, understand and enjoy. The first volume covers everything up to the creation of Manitoba. The 152 page volume I is priced at $5.00. He has donated a copy to the MHS library.

Centennial Farms

Anne MacVicar, chair of the Centennial Farms Committee, is hard at work. Many farms will be recognized this summer. A report will appear in the next issue of Keywords.

The Manitoba Historical Society's 125th Anniversary Logo Competition

The MHS is celebrating its 125th year in 2004. To commemorate this special event, the Society invites ALL SECONDARY STUDENTS in the Province of Manitoba to submit a logo entry which celebrates the history of the Province and the MHS.

The prize-winning logo will be utilized on all Society stationery and promotional items for the year 2004.

Eligible Categories: All Secondary Students in the Province of Manitoba.

Criteria: The logo must be representative of Manitoba history. The entry must be accompanied by a detailed written explanation of the historic relevance of the project. The logo should be submitted on standard 8.5 x 11 white bond paper.

Submission Deadline: June 27, 2003

Logo submissions will be judged on historic representation, as well as appearance.

The prize-winning entry will be presented at the Manitoba Historical Society's Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner in 2004 at the Hotel Fort Garry.

Lake of the Woods Tour

Discover the history and beauty of the Lake of the Woods through the Puzzling Boundary Tour - over 200 kms, visiting Fort St. Charles and other historic sites - a full day on the lake in a small group with lunch and snacks and a pre-evening tour talk by a local historian. Contact the Taiga Institute in Kenora at (807) 468-9607, or email us at ($200 per person).

MHS YouTube Channel

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