Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Volume 35, No 6
August / September 2003


President's Message
New members
Capote Raffle
Dalnavert News
Ross House Celebrates Canada Day
Centennial Farms
Heritage News
Lake of the Woods Tour

President's Message

Going for walks with my wife, meeting friends at cafes, canoeing on our lake, cycling down a sheltered path, exploring a provincial historic site and listening to music are just a few things I have enjoyed over the past month.

Summer is a season of pleasure and pastimes. It is a time of slowing your hectic pace down and enjoying the many things that bring a smile to your face. I hope this has been a relaxing summer for all members and that you have experienced the things that make you smile. That being said, we must now look towards autumn with fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

Committees have been meeting since spring to develop plans to promote our Society to all Manitobans. A Logo Contest for high school students was held this past June to create a symbol of our Society's accomplishments. The Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner Committee has been hard at work planning a wonderful evening. The Executive has discussed ideas of connecting with new groups outside of the heritage community. The Centennial Farms Committee has come up with ways to promote MHS "beyond the Perimeter." These are just some of the things that are happening.

The time commitment and dedication of volunteers is essential to our Society's operation. With our 125th Anniversary only four months away, I call on all members to get involved. If you have any friends or relatives interested in local, regional or provincial history, please introduce them to the Manitoba Historical Society.

Over the past year, I have met with many members who are extremely loyal and proud of our Society. Their participation and dedication is second to none. I hope this characteristic expands to other members, especially new ones, so that everyone has a say in how they would like the MHS to operate. I look forward to meeting many more this coming fall and hearing the ideas and suggestions members have to offer.

Enjoy the Season!
Steven Place

New Members

Sarah Piercy
Neil Pryce
Sean Lawton
Fern Morris
Rodney McDonald & Lisa Hardess


Rosemary Malaher
R. B. Barker
Province of Manitoba All Charities Campaign
H. L. Pentland
H. Jean Mitchell
Dr. K. T. Thorlakson
Mr. & Mrs. H.A. Skene
Carl James

Key Campaign

George T. Richardson
Emily Stamp
Jane Frain
Bente Cunnings
Margaret McKenzie
Lee Gibson
Rev. S.C. Sharman
Morris Mott
Dr. J. M. Bowman
Irene Crofts
M. Mildred Hallama
W.J. Fraser
Diane DeGraves
Marjorie J. Reid
Miles Pepper
A.B. Campbell

In Memory of Barbara Johnstone:

M. E. Beech
Ruth L. Simpson
Lois McElheran
Gerry Cowie
M. Helen Martin


Dr. Arnold Willard Holm, a MHS member and supporter for many years, died in Winnipeg on June 12 at the age of 93. He and his wife Carol attended several MHS events over the years. Dr. Holm graduated in medicine from the University of Manitoba in 1936. For most of his career he served at Children's Hospital as an anaesthetist and a professor of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

Capote Raffle

The lucky ticket in the draw for the HBC capote was Maureen Dolyniuk's, Chief of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives. You can see from the photograph taken inside the HBCA vault that the coat is a perfect fit. Maureen will have many appropriate occasions to wear the capote.

The Hudson's Bay Company donated the blanket and Judith Hudson Beattie sewed it into a capote. Thanks to the help of Gordon Goldsborough in designing and printing the tickets, and the efforts of Council members in selling them, the Manitoba Historical Society made $1,142, to be applied to the Young Historians award program. Thanks go to all who participated, and especially to those who bought tickets.

Maureen Dolyniuk & Judith Hudson Beattie
(click to enlarge)

Dalnavert News

My House, Your House 2003

Are the kids already bored with their summer holidays? Are you looking for something to occupy the grandchildren when they come for their annual visit? Why not bring them to Dalnavert Museum for our popular "My House, Your House" program. Families are invited to explore Dalnavert and see how our old house compares to their homes today. Each week, our tour of Dalnavert focuses on a different room while we try out an old-fashioned activity. The program is offered each Wednesday until August 27 at 1:00 p.m. The two-hour program includes a tour of the museum. General fees are $4.00/person. The activities remaining this summer include:

  • August 6 - Kitchen: Ice Cream
  • August 13 - Bedroom: Picture Frames
  • August 20 - Bathroom: Soap Making
  • August 27 - Cook's Room: Spool Knitting

Reservations are required and can be made by phoning 943-2835 or contact us by e-mail at

Delegates to the United Empire Loyalists Association Conference are served tea on the Dalnavert Veranda, June 6
(click to enlarge)

Summer Students

This summer four university students have been hired to work at Dalnavert, Tara McLauchlin, Cheryl Kopp, Megan Collison and Emily Nesmith. Cheryl's employment is being supported by a grant under the provincial Career Placement Program. She will be presenting the summer children's program "My House, Your House" and any birthdays that come our way. Megan has been hired with the assistance of the federal Young Canada Works Program. She and Emily will be checking our libraries, the Provincial Archives and the Internet this summer. They are researching wedding customs and public recreation in Winnipeg in the late 1800's. Their goal is to create reference files that will be used to enhance the interpretation of Dalnavert and its relationship to the late Victorian society that had developed in Winnipeg. This information will also be useful for developing programs and exhibits in relationship to the new Visitor Centre.

Tara returns for her second summer as a Dalnavert interpreter. She also conducted birthday parties this past winter season. Tara will be mentoring Cheryl as well as taking visitors through the museum and assisting with a variety of museum duties. Tara recently completed her Bachelor's degree in Education and has been hired to start her career as a high school teacher of English and Geography at Silver Heights Collegiate beginning in September.

New Governance Structure for Dalnavert

At a special meeting of the new Manitoba Historical Society Council, held on June 3, final approval was given to proceed with the expansion project for Dalnavert. In anticipation of this major new initiative, the Society membership voted at the AGM to amend the governance structure of the museum.

Previously, the Museums Management Committee oversaw the general operations of both Dalnavert and Ross House museums. However, major policy and financial decisions remained the responsibility of the MHS Executive. Under the new model, a reorganized Management Committee will guide Dalnavert's operations. The museum will remain under the umbrella of the Manitoba Historical Society. Gordon Goldsborough has been named chair of the new Management Committee.

Gordon will be joined on the Committee by Jim Blanchard, Stephanie Middagh, Deborah Edwards, Sarah Piercy and Karolyn Bradley. Our thanks and appreciation for all their work are extended to the outgoing Museums Management Committee. Those members included William Fraser (Chair), Muriel Aboul-Atta, Kathleen Beatson, Karolyn Bradley, Shirley Bradshaw, Dr. John Cooper Deborah Edwards, Rob Inman, Carl James, Stephanie Middagh, Victor Sawelo, Gloria Seale and Terry Willerton. Of course, the retirement of these dedicated volunteers may be short lived as it is hoped that they will reemerge on a newly restructured Dalnavert Advisory Committee to work with the museum staff on day-to-operations and special events at Dalnavert or in other volunteer capacities.

The Visitor Centre

Over the winter months a development committee has been working with Wins Bridgman, of DAPR Architecture, on the creation of architectural drawings for the new Dalnavert Visitor Centre. This has also meant numerous meetings with outside experts concerning specialized requirements of the Visitor Centre. As well Mr. Bridgman was involved in meetings with various levels of government to ensure their endorsement of the project. The project's development committee has been given the green light to proceed to the next step by the MHS Council.

Grocery Shopping

Regular visitors to Dalnavert may have noticed that the Macdonald family is eating better these days. Cans of Jubilee Peaches, Reindeer Brand Condensed Milk, Log Cabin Strawberries, Maple Leaf Tomatoes, Heinz Tomato Soup and Grand River Refugee Beans have been appearing on the larder shelves. [Can anyone tell us what refugee beans taste like?] The kitchen and larder have always been well furnished with cooking utensils and gadgets and a few tea and spice tins. However, food products, including canned goods, were conspicuously absent. After seeing the can openers in the larder, visitors frequently express surprise that canned food was available in 1895.The project to restock Dalnavert's larder was undertaken with the assistance of Virginia Lockett, Interpretive Curator at Parks Canada's Western Canada Service Centre. The department recently amended their personnel policy to allow employees to donate a small portion of their working hours to the community. Ms. Lockett chose to offer her time to Dalnavert. As a National Historic Site, Dalnavert has had a long-standing and very positive relationship with Parks Canada.

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Dalnavert's Assistant Curator, Nancy Anderson, began by researching through some of the period cookbooks in the museum's collection in order to create a list of commonly used ingredients. Period catalogues gave an idea of the range of food products available commercially and some of the more popular brand names. Did you know that catsup came in grape, walnut, and mushroom flavours? This information was coupled with a report on beverage consumption in Winnipeg, previously prepared by Virginia Lockett. The shopping list was then taken to the Western Canada Service Centre where Ms. Lockett assisted with the selection of labels appropriate to the period of Dalnavert. The next step has been to acquire packaging of the correct size to be relabeled. For example, the Heinz tomato soup label fits nicely on a 14 oz. can of kidney beans, not the 10 oz size that soup generally comes in today. Measuring cans does elicit some odd looks at the grocery store and these days the menu at the Anderson household is determined, in part, by can size. Keep watching for ongoing additions.

Dalnavert Hours Change

On September 1st Dalnavert will revert to its off season hours of operation at which time the museum will be open Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:30 p.m. The last tour proceeds 1/2 hour before closing.

Ross House Celebrates Canada Day

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Centennial Farms

Click here for an updated list of Centennial Farms.

Heritage News

A massive bronze York boat in a concrete mooring is now the centrepiece of Selkirk's newly renovated waterfront. The 5500 pound statue created by Peter Sawatzky is 21 feet long by 10 feet wide and 11.5 feet high. It is made of 300 individual pieces of bronze fused together to form a hollow statue that depicts waves, the York boat, and its crew and cargo. The statue, commissioned by the city of Selkirk, was completed in time for the opening of Selkirk's refurbished waterfront on July 1. The waterfront will be the site of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Western Canada Summer Games to be held from August 2 to August 10.

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The Manitoba Museum recently held its annual general meeting recently. Bill Baines was installed as the new board president. He is the president and CEO of AML Wireless Networks. The museum, which operates on $5.5 million per year, was forced to lay off nine staff members this year to save $177,000 against a projected $250,000 shortfall. With paid admissions of nearly 500,000 for the planetarium, the science centre and the museum proper the Manitoba Museum is by far the largest paid tourist draw in the province. The museum is preparing for the fall opening of its 4.1 million Parklands Gallery display, the last phase of a $22 million capital campaign.

A Walk of Fame will honour noteworthy Winnipeg figures and events in 140 panels in the sidewalk along Portage Avenue from Spence Street to Main Street. Five panels will be installed this year. Two panels at Donald and Smith streets will honour Sir Donald Alexander Smith (1830 – 1914) a key player in the development of the Canadian West. Smith, the HBC fur trader who negotiated with the Red River Métis in 1869-70, was a MLA in Manitoba's first legislature and later a member of parliament. He became president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, driving in "the last spike" in 1885. In 1889 he became Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Walk of Fame is organized by the Winnipeg Downtown Business Improvement Zone.

Historical Guided Walking tours are available at Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg on August 11, 18 and 25. The cost is $5 for the two-hour tour. Come and learn about the famous, infamous and notorious persons who are buried in the cemetery. Stories of the lives and times of these characters come alive in a humorous, interesting and enjoyable walk through this historic cemetery. Meet at the cemetery in front of the Administration Building at 7:00 p.m.

About 100 Aboriginal people from Manitoba gathered on June 19 to shake the hand of the sole survivor of the last treaty signed in Manitoba, in 1910. Betsy Anderson, 103, traveled from Sayisi Dene Nation with three generations of her family to attend a traditional ceremony in her honour at the historic Lower Fort Garry Trading Post. Anderson's home is about 1000 kilometers north of Winnipeg and 450 kilometers north of Churchill.

Mike Sokolowski, a 40 year old Ukrainian immigrant was shot and killed on June 21 during the Winnipeg 1919 Strike by a mounted officer during a mass demonstration of angry workers. Some newspaper accounts say he was an active demonstrator hurling bricks at officers and other accounts say he was merely a bystander. He was the only one killed during the incident although others were injured and one of the injured later died of gangrene. For the last 84 years Sokolowski's body has rested in an unmarked grave in Brookside Cemetery. Now he is no longer forgotten. Local playwright Danny Schur became interested in Sokolowski as he did research for a musical he has written called Strike. He discovered that he was married with three children but no one picked up his body or attended his funeral. A city cemetery administrator assisted in the research and Charles Brunet of Brunet Monuments donated a headstone and carved information about Sokolowski's death for all to see. Representatives from groups considered "enemy aliens" in 1919 – Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Germans and Austrians took part in unveiling the monument that honours Mike Sokolowski and the role of immigrants in Winnipeg's history.

The Gabrielle Roy House has officially opened at 375 rue Deschambault in St. Boniface. The opening came after many years of work. Plans got under way in 1995 with the incorporation of La Corporation de la Maison Gabrielle-Roy with the mandate to restore the author's childhood home and open it to the public as a museum. Three levels of government and many individuals have provided financial support for the project. Gabrielle Roy wrote eighteen books. She won three Governor-General's Awards for fiction. She was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967. Exhibits highlight her life, including many books, photos, and even her teaching certificate. The museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday to Thursday by appointment.

The 43 foot long skeleton of the largest creature ever found in Manitoba is now on display at Morden Museum. The mounted mosasaur skeleton is the culmination of thirty years of discovery, excavation and mounting of the giant sea creature. The mosasaur was discovered during fossil digs in the Morden area in the 1970s. Excavators found 70% of the giant creature's fossilized bones. The mould for the mosasaur mount was made by Prehistoric Animal Structuring near Drumheller, Alberta. The Morden and District Museum now has a web site created by Morden Collegiate students. The Ancient Seas of Manitoba web site has information on area geography, geology, cretaceous creatures and fossils. The federal government owns the web site and is responsible for all maintenance and updates. The web site is at

The Vintage Locomotive Society received a $50,000 grant from the Province of Manitoba that will help pay the cost of replacing the boiler of the Prairie Dog Central Engine. Prairie Dog Central No. 3 has been out of service for over a year. The existing boiler was manufactured in 1909. In the near future the boiler will be sent to Saskatoon Boiler Ltd. where the new one will be manufactured.. The engine was first built in 1882. It was used by Winnipeg Hydro from 1918 to 1962. It is hoped that the engine will return to use before the end of 2004. Currently the Prairie Dog is being pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive donated by CNR.

The Swan River Historical Museum has recently received two historic photograph collections from pioneer families, the McKay and Dixon families. These will be added to an already extensive collection. A grant was received from the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program through the Association of Manitoba Archives and the Canadian Council of Archives and an archival system is being developed. Thanks to the board of the Northwest Regional Library an archives room is slated to open officially this fall.

The Onanole History Book Committee has been working on a book since the winter of 2001. Of the 500 books printed, 337 were pre-ordered and others were sold at a Canada Day Tea. The remaining books may be purchased at the RM of Park office in Onanole. The 434 page hard cover book has 344 family histories. Also included are histories of the community, businesses, school, churches, clubs and organizations.

The Minnedosa and District Museum celebrates its 40th year this summer. In addition to the museum building itself the museum has expanded with the development of the Heritage Village. Now ten years into this project, with a barn and corral to be added this summer, there are six separate vintage buildings housing artifacts and memorabilia in their originally intended settings. Restoration of the Hunterville Church is now underway with volunteers busy plastering, painting and restoring windows.

Thornhill was once a small but vibrant prairie town just west of Morden. Now very few buildings or businesses remain. A cairn was unveiled on July 7th to commemorate the pioneers of Thornhill and the many notable buildings that have disappeared. Twenty buildings or businesses that once existed in the community are listed on the cairn.

The tenth anniversary of the Boundary Trail Heritage Region was celebrated on June 21 at Clearwater Memorial Hall in Clearwater. During the first ten years the volunteer board of directors has spearheaded dozens of projects to preserve, educate, promote and experience the history of each community in the region. The celebrations included a banquet, fundraising auction and special guest speaker, Wayne Arseny as Lieutenant Colonel George Arthur French, first Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police.

The "Story of Clear Lake Golf Course" is a 200 page soft cover book with more than 400 photos and filled with facts and stories about the origins, layout and operation of the course. It also includes memorable incidents of golfers and golf course workers and winners of feature tournaments since 1934. The author is Alex Fedoruk. He also wrote another book, The Nature of Clear Lake Golf Course. The books are distributed by Poor Michael's Bookshop in Onanole for $22.95 each.

Plans for a new history book for Killarney are now under way. The last history of Killarney, Reflections, is now 20 years old. Carol Chapman and Paula Braun head a committee that will produce an addendum that will update the history of families, businesses, churches and organizations to the present. They have already received a $2000 grant from the Killarney Foundation to get started on the project. They will be enlisting the help of people in the community in the production of this book.

The Inglis Elevators National Historic Site received a grant of $100,000 from the Murphy Foundation which is administered by the Murphy family of Winnipeg. The family formerly owned Reliance Grain Company which at one time had 254 grain elevators, including two located in Inglis. Alan Sawchuk, Project Manager, says that the funding will be applied to the two former Reliance Grain elevators that make up the elevator row. When completed, the two elevators will have been restored to their original working condition. A one cylinder Ruston-Hornsby engine will power the mechanics of the elevator. The restoration will also feature an authentic agent's office with all the vintage instruments used in the grain trade 40 to 80 years ago. For more information on the Inglis Elevators or to become a member or make a donation contact Allan Sawchuk, Project Manager at (204) 564-2243 or P.O Box 81, Inglis MB R0J 0X0.

The Fort Garry Historical Society is looking for old photographs and stories of Fort Garry for the society's archives and also for use in a special book highlighting the history of the former municipality of Fort Garry. The society will make copies of any pictures submitted and return the originals. Phone FGHS at 284-6567.

University of Manitoba history Professor Jack Bumsted, author of many books on Canadian history, will be invested as a Fellow in the prestigious Royal Society of Canada on November 14. He will be admitted to the Royal Society's Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Bumsted is a member of MHS.

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).

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