Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Time Lines: Volume 38, No 1 (October / November 2005)


Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner

President's Message - Visual History

New Members

MHS Donations


Digitization Project Update

Margaret McWilliams Awards 2005

Walking Tour of North Point Douglas

Dalnavert Museum

Local History Workshop at Dalnavert

Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library

Heritage News

History Book Club Begins

2006 Winnipeg History Calendar Published

Participants Wanted for Métis Research Project

Centennial Farms

MHS Charles N. Bell Award

Fall Field Trip to Devil’s Lake Cancelled

Manitoba and the Orkney Islands Sign Historic Accord

University Women’s Club News

HBC Descendants Meet at Lower Fort Garry

Manitoba Teacher Nominated for Excellence in History Teaching

Volunteers Wanted for Census Transcription

Book Launch set for November 13

Winnipeg Celebrates Centennial of Carnegie Library Building

Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner

The 41st Annual Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner will be held on Saturday, 14 January 2006 at the historic Fort Garry Hotel, beginning with a reception at 6:00 PM with dinner to follow at 7:00 PM. We cordially invite you to support this important fundraising event, bring your friends, and have a fun evening of history and entertainment.

Mike Ford

Rather than having a speaker, the highlight of this year's dinner will be Mike Ford, formerly of the band Moxy Früvous, known for the humorous songs and witty banter of its members. Mike is now touring schools throughout Canada performing original music with themes drawn from Canadian history. His new CD, Canada Needs You, Volume 1 includes several songs on Manitoba's history. Mike's music, combined with his infectious enthusiasm and great showmanship, will make this a truly memorable evening.

The evening will also include presentations of our Centennial Business Awards to Manitoba firms which have operated continuously for 100 years or more, and a Silent Auction of great items for sale. Ron Robinson of CBC Radio 1 will be the MC.

President's Message - Visual History

I am writing this column from Edmonton, where I am attending a conference sponsored by the Association for Canadian Studies. Its objective is to bring together people who share an interest in history and, in particular, who want to discuss new ways of teaching history to Canadian youth. I gave a presentation on the MHS web site and, more generally, on the great opportunities that the Internet provides to organizations such as ours. I have enjoyed the other conference presentations so far but, by and large, they reinforce an impression that I have formed over the past couple of years: historians (and especially professional historians) do not seem to think visually. Most presentations have consisted of a 15 or 20 minute speech, usually read from a script, with an occasional impromptu elaboration or digression, but with no accompanying imagery. The scientific conferences that I attend as part of my “day job” are very different; there, virtually every participant includes photographs or diagrams in their presentations. Perhaps my generalization is unfair, reflecting only the individuals whose presentations I have attended. Or perhaps there is a fundamental difference in the way that historians and scientists think, or a difference in the intrinsic nature of their respective disciplines. In any case, it is indisputable that “visual history” – the use of images in the presentation of historical information – can be very powerful.

I think, for example, of the masterful documentaries made by Ken Burns for US public television. His series on the Civil War, for instance, used his trademark pans across great, old photographs, along with music and dramatic narration, to make battles come alive. The CBC series Canada: A People’s History likewise made effective use of visual images. I believe that it behooves all historians to harness, wherever possible, the power of imagery in historical dialogue. I am not suggesting that every presentation needs to include illustrative matter. Depending on the subject, imagery may be superfluous or it may not exist. What sort of photographs could a fur-trade historian show, given that most of that period took place before the invention of photography? And I am not saying that every point in a historical discussion must be underpinned with images. Indeed, the gratuitous use of images can clutter and compromise an otherwise solid story.

I am a visually-oriented person. Whether I am writing a scientific article, or a historical one, I collect relevant images as the first step, then arrange them in an order which supports my arguments, and finally write text around them. For example, I am preparing to write a book which I hope to complete within the next year or two, and I have been compiling photographs for the last several years as an integral part of my research. In contrast, I suspect that the selection of photographs for many historical books and articles occurred long after the primary research was done. Should anyone be surprised when those photographs do not augment the text in any meaningful way?

How does the subject of visual history relate to the MHS? In several ways, I think, but the one that I will focus on here relates to our journal, Manitoba History.

You may have noticed that I love historical photographs. I collect them as a hobby and, when I find a good one, I want to know the story behind it. That is why I proposed the new journal feature “A Thousand Words” in which contributors – I hope, by the way, that I won’t be the only one – write a short essay about an interesting photograph. I believe that all types of historians – amateur and professional alike – have to acknowledge that most young people today are surrounded by televisions and computers. As a result, they have been conditioned to think visually and those of us who want to teach them ignore this fact at our peril. If we are to instill our passion for the past in today’s youth, who are the future of the MHS, we must do it in a way that they understand. One of my missions as your president is to make the Society – including our excellent journal – more relevant to young Manitobans so I would like to see greater use of photographs, diagrams, maps, and other illustrations. Whether the other contributors to Manitoba History will embrace the reality of an increasingly visual readership (or is that viewership?) remains to be seen. But be assured that I do.

Before signing off this month, I want to remind you that tickets for the 2006 Macdonald Dinner will go on sale shortly. I hope that you will support this important MHS fundraiser by purchasing tickets and encouraging others to do so too. In a departure from the past, this year’s Dinner will feature a musical performer rather than a speaker, one who shares our enthusiasm for Canada’s past and who is using his exceptional talent to raise historical awareness among our youth. Mike Ford will definitely put the “fun” in fundraiser. As always, I welcome your ideas and comments on anything relating to the MHS. Call me at 204-474-7469 or send email to See you soon!

Gordon Goldsborough
President, Manitoba Historical Society

New Members

Earl & Lorene Ward
Rick & Margaret Donovan
Doug Donahue
Kenneth Wavey
Jim Skinner
Irene Peters
James Kostuchuk

MHS Donations

General Operations

Shirley Dickinson
Fr. S. C. Sharman
Emily E. Stamp

Centennial Farm Program

David & Linda McDowell
R. W. Brownridge
Martha Brethour
Albert Schultz

Dalnavert Visitor Centre Capital Building Fund

Carolyn Sifton Foundation

Garden Project

Neil Pryce


Ruth Elizabeth Jean Loutit, a long-time MHS member, died on July 24 in Winnipeg. She worked in different careers, for many years as a legal secretary. She was a very active in member of the United Nations Association. Many will remember that she presented a television program on the Winnipeg cable station for over 20 years dealing with the United Nations and world issues. For her work with UNA she received a Global Citizenship award in 1995. MHS members will also remember Ruth and her sister Anne who died in March of this year, attending MHS programs, especially field trips.

Digitization Project Update

The initial phase of the MHS's document digitization project is nearing completion. With support from the provincial government's Heritage Grant program, we have hired University students over the past three years to scan a large collection of our older publications, including the Transactions (1882-1980), Manitoba Pageant (1956-1980), and Manitoba History (1980-present). The scans were later converted into text for free distribution on the MHS web site ( Most of these articles are there now, and we anticipate that all but the most recent five years of Manitoba History will be available on the web site soon. We request suggestions from MHS members on what documents should comprise the second phase of the digitization project. Suggestions so far have included: important, out-of-copyright historical books; manuscripts which were presented to the MHS in the early 20th century but which, for lack of funds at the time, were never published (but were deposited into the MHS files at the provincial archives); and new manuscripts which would not have sufficient market to warrant paper publication. If you have suggestions on documents which should be added to the web site, please send them by email to

Margaret McWilliams Awards 2005

The MHS is now accepting nominations for the 50th Annual Margaret McWilliams Awards, with a deadline of 15 December 2005. The award, one of Canada's oldest book prizes, was created in 1955 to honour noted Manitoba feminist, historian, and author Margaret Stovel McWilliams (1875-1952). She was first President of the Canadian Federation of University Women in 1919, President of the Women's Canadian Club in 1922, President of the Manitoba Historical Society from 1944 to 1948, and Winnipeg's second female Alderman from 1933 to 1940. McWilliams was the author of Manitoba Milestones (1928), If I Were King of Canada (1931), and This New Canada (1948). The Margaret McWilliams Awards recognize excellence in writing on Manitoba and its history. Awards are given annually for outstanding contributions in the categories of scholarly book, popular book, historical fiction, local history, organization/association/institution history, post-secondary essay, post-secondary thesis, special project or display, audio/visual/web, and short articles published in magazines and scholarly journals. Awards will be presented at a ceremony in April 2006. Nomination forms for the 2005 McWilliams Awards are available from our web site (

Walking Tour of North Point Douglas Draws over 100 People

An overcast sky did not put a damper on attendance for the walking tour of North Point Douglas put on by the MHS Historic Preservation committee on Sunday October 23. Over 100 people took in the tour including a number who had lived in the area at some time. Their memories of events, people and buildings added a little extra to the sights along the route. Thanks go out to Victor Sawelo for opening the summer kitchen at Ross House on the day of the tour and to Alison Mayes of the Winnipeg Free Press whose article the previous week helped to generate such terrific interest in the tour.

Dalnavert Museum

The First Annual Dalnavert Lecture Series at The Dalnavert Visitors Centre

Enjoy the lecture and stay afterwards for wine and cheese and to socialize and meet the lecturers. There will be a $5 charge at the door. Or you can subscribe to the entire series of six lectures for $25.

November 30, 7:00 p.m. “Criminal, Lunatics and Loose Women: Always a swinging Time at the Vaughn Street Jail” Kristen Verin-Treusch, owner and operator of the Muddy Water Tour Company and initiate of the Friends of the Vaughn Street Jail Inc will speak on the history of the jail.

If you would like to receive announcements by email, please contact Gillian Covernton at

Dalnavert Executive Director  Linda Neyedly reports the following news:

  • In August a full page article about Dalnavert appeared in The Metro, Times and Lance. The Metro accidentally ran the same piece twice, two weeks apart! Circulation figures for these papers are 54,390,  54,005 and 33,820 per issue respectively.
  • On Saturday, October 8, City TV ran a spot on Dalnavert on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. telecasts.
  • On average, gift shop sales have been 10 times higher each month than they were in the past. Having the space to display a wider range of merchandise has clearly made a huge difference

From 1 August to 7 October, Dalnavert has

  • Hosted 6 daycamps, daycare, or school groups; 4 birthday parties; 3 seniors' tours; 1 wedding photo shoot; and 8 functions (receptions, workshops, and business meetings, including a two-day Annual General Meeting, not including MHS functions).
  • For the period of 10 October through 30 December, we have the following bookings: 1 birthday party, 1 wedding, 2 wedding photo shoots (besides the actual wedding), 13 school tours, 10 adult or seniors' tour groups, and 8 functions (business meetings, seminars, or receptions, not including MHS functions)
  • The Heritage Needle Arts Fair, featuring handcrafted works by the Winnipeg Embroiderers' Guild, will be held from 10 am - 3 pm, Saturday, November 19, 2005. The Museum will offer half-price admission on that day.
  • The School of Scottish Arts has booked December 7 for their annual Christmas festivities. Details are pending.  
  • Richard Hurst will read Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Dalnavert December 19 – 23 Tickets are $12.99. Reserve early

Meeting/ Banquet Room Rentals

The W. Steward Martin Auditorium is available for meetings of up to 75 people at the following rates: Half Day $125, Full Day $ 175, Evenings $25 per hour (minimum three hours) The fully renovated attic in Dalnavert Museum is also available for rental by groups of up to 40 people at the rate of $75 per day. Coffee/tea service and catering service will be charged back to the client at fees to be established based on specific requirements. Clients may also have the option to make their own catering arrangements.

Local History Workshop at Dalnavert

Twenty people attended a one-day local history workshop in the new Steward Martin Room at Dalnavert Museum. The workshop on 26 September, intended to help people preparing history books about their community or family, was organized jointly by the MHS and Friesens History Books of Altona. Participants came from all over southern Manitoba, including Souris, Poplar Point, St. Marks, Shoal Lake, Killarney, and Winnipeg. After some introductory remarks on the MHS by President Gordon Goldsborough and on Friesens by history book rep Ted Miller, presentations were made by Dr. Gerry Friesen (History Department, University of Manitoba) on local history research and Dr. Alex Freund (History Department, University of Winnipeg) on oral history. After lunch, everyone had a tour of Dalnavert Museum then Dr. Shelley Sweeney (Chief Archivist at the University of Manitoba) spoke on the use of archives, and Dr. Jack Bumsted (History Department, University of Manitoba) spoke on popular history research and writing. A spirited discussion occurred following Dr. Bumsted's talk on the difficulty of protecting privacy while preparing local history books, and the possibility was raised that the MHS should organize a meeting on the subject. The day was concluded with presentations by Linda Hiebert, Carol Schroeder, and Ted Miller of Friesens on the preparation of materials and photographs for publication. The workshop was well received, and tentative plans were made to hold another one in early 2006, in Brandon. If you would be interested in attending such a workshop, and want to be kept informed as plans develop, please get in touch with the MHS office.

Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library

Attend the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library Christmas Ornament Sale 18-183 Kennedy Street from 10 am - 2 pm and the Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild Heritage Needle Arts Fair at Dalnavert Museum, Saturday, November 19, 2005.

Park downtown once and visit both events!


Andrea Earl, Curator
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library
(204) 487-6117
Judy Boatman
Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild
257-0321 (leave a message)

Heritage News

Parks Canada wants to hear from you about protecting York Factory, one of the most important national historic sites in all of Canada. It is also oneof the most inaccessible, least known, and greatly threatened. The threats come from riverbank erosion, concerns for the permafrost, and vegetation encroachment. Parks Canada is preparing a site management plan to guide future protection and telling of York Factory's history, and would like to hear your ideas. Feedback provided before 28 October 2005 will be considered during preparation of the first draft of the plan. To provide input and to be put on their mailing list, contact:

York Factory Management Planning, Parks Canada
145 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 0R9
Toll-free: (888) 773-8888
Fax: (204) 983-0031

The St. Andrews Society held its the annual celebration of the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers in the Red River Settlement, Saturday, Sept. 10. The St. Andrews Pipe Band left City Hall and marched down Main Street and , McDermot Avenue to the Scotch Thistle Monument on Waterfront Drive at 12:00 p.m. Speakers included provincial and city officials and Dr. John Bumsted, MHS Vice President.

On December 2 & 3 visit a “Touch of Christmas” - Feel the warmth and joy of a simple Christmas. Children’s choirs, home baking, sleigh rides, activities for the whole family. at Mennonite Village Museum in Steinbach.

The Dand United Church held its final worship service on June 26. The building had served as a church and community gathering place for 106 years in two locations. First it was a Quaker church on a hill near Chain Lakes on the east side of Highway 21. In the 1950s it moved a couple of miles south to its present location in Dand where it became a United church. After the final service about 120 people gathered for a supper a the nearby Lauder Community Hall to share memories and stories of the church. The church was the last remaining building in the community of Dand.

A suspension bridge built in 1946 spanning the Roseau River as a river crossing for children attending the Senkiw School has been restored It was officially reopened at a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration on August 7. The bridge which spans the Roseau River four miles southwest of Rosa, is part of the Crow Wing Trail between Emerson and St Norbert and part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Pilot/restorer Clark Seaborn spent 17 years restoring his 1929 Folker Super Universal airplane and then the next seven years flying his plane around North America. The plane now has a permanent home. On October 4 the only flyable 1929 Folker Super Universal example in North America and perhaps the world was unveiled as a permanent exhibit in the Richardson Galley of Flight at the Western Canada Aviation Museum.

Retired Biologist Alex Fedoruk has written two books about the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park One book is about biology. It is like a field guide describing various plants and animals and birds found on the course. The other book is a history of the course from the time of its construction in the Depression to recent times There are over 400 colour photographs in one book and 200 photographs in the other. The books retail for $23.95 each at the Clear Lake Golf Course Pro Shop, various Wasagaming gift shops and Poor Michael’s Bookshop in Brandon.

Items collected over the years by Len and Verna Van Roon and others involved with the Charleswood Historical Society over the past years are going to be placed in Charleswood’s first-ever historical museum in the former municipal hall building on Roblin Boulevard. Contact Jill Paskewitz, president of the Charleswood (204-889-7920) Historical Society if you would like to donate artifacts or old photos relating to the history of Charleswood.

Heritage Winnipeg held a celebration in the Rotunda of Union Station to commemorate 50th anniversary of the last run of street cars in Winnipeg. Guests had the opportunity to tour a vintage bus, provided by the Manitoba Transit Heritage Association and to view Streetcar 356 which is being restored in the Winnipeg Rail Museum.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station building at 181 Higgins Avenue in Winnipeg is 100 years old. An event to commemorate this anniversary is being planned for October 20 by the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg Inc, Parks Canada and Heritage Winnipeg. For more information or contact the Event and Heritage Coordinator at 204-989-6383 or email

The Minnedosa Tribune reports that the Minnedosa & District Heritage Foundation has provided $5000 to the Minnedosa Archives Committee as it begins the task of organizing and cataloguing and the area’s archival material. The archives will be known as the Minnedosa Regional Archives. The main office will be located in the northwest corner of the Minnedosa Regional Library. The Tribune also reports with regret that the Minnedosa Town Council has abandoned all efforts to acquire the local CPR Station and that it may soon be torn down.

The Ogilvie Mill, a Winnipeg landmark which has stood since the early days of the city, fell in billowing clouds of dust and debris on 21 August. The mill, built in 1881, was abandoned and had been deemed an eyesore and impediment to renewal of the downtown area. So it was demolished in just a few minutes with 700 pounds of strategically placed dynamite. A dramatic video of the demolition was made by the City of Winnipeg, and can be viewed on their web site at Cleanup of the site is anticipated to be done by January.

The National Post reports that Joseph Martin, a past President of MHS (1967-1968) has introduced a history of Canadian business course at the Joseph L Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He will be teaching the first graduate level course dedicated to the study of Canadian business history. Joe Martin is a professor emeritus at the school and is also well known in the heritage field across Canada. He has retained a strong interest in Canadian history and in the MHS.

A film documentary is being made on the history of the oil industry in southwestern Manitoba. I will be released in February 2006 in time to coincide with the 55th anniversary of the first oil drilling in the area. The film makers have talked to several pioneers who worked in the industry in the Virden area in the 1950s. The Virden Empire-Advance reports that a small crowd gathered to watch as “actors”, the film crew and producers re-enacted a street scene in downtown Virden, complete with seven vintage cars. Filming also took place in Waskada, the boom town in the 1980s, and Sinclair where new drilling is taking place.

The Fort Garry Historical Society invites you to the General Meeting and Lunch Saturday, November 19 at the Holiday Inn South 1330 Pembina Highway at Oakenwald. Lunch, which is your choice from the menu, is at 11:45 a.m. A meeting and program will follow. Rick Walker, Manager of Library Services will speak on the New Millennium Library. Please RSVP by November 16 – 284-6567.

History Book Club Begins

On Tuesday, 27 September, 7-9 PM., Jim Blanchard was the guest speaker at the first meeting of the MHS History Book Club. He discussed the creation of his book, A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada. The articles that first appeared in the MHS Transactions provide fascinating first hand accounts of Manitoba history. The discussion must have intrigued some who had not read the book, because after the session Marg Kentner sold several copies from the Museum Gift Shop. The book is also available at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

We agreed to hold monthly meetings in the Steward Martin Room at the Dalnavert Visitor Centre. Members suggested books to be discussed and volunteered to lead sessions, with a flexible combination of Canadian and Manitoba topics. The next meeting was on Tuesday, 1 November from 7 to 9 PM, when Jim Alward led the discussion of Deadly Seas: The Story of the St. Croix, the U305 and the Battle of the Atlantic by David Bercuson and Holger H. Herwig. On Tuesday, December 6, 7-9 PM, Joan Pagan will discuss the William Wallace book My Dear Maggie: Letters from a Western Manitoba Pioneer. Multiple copies of both are available in the Winnipeg Public Library system. Bring along your suggestions for future books, and your ideas for the development of the club. MHS membership is the only fee required. Come when you can, and miss when necessary.

Future meeting dates and topics will be published in the next issue of Time Lines. If our numbers grow, we can consider a morning meeting, but at present the majority can only attend at night. Please contact Judy Beattie/Valenzuela (475-6666, if you plan to attend so she can get your name and contact information on the list and make sure there are enough chairs, coffee and tea, etc.

2006 Winnipeg History Calendar Published

A fascinating collection of antique postcards of Winnipeg are featured in a new 2006 calendar. The calendar is produced by HistoriCards and is available for sale at locations around the city and on the company's web site,

Featuring twelve color postcards of Winnipeg in the early 1900s, it is a work of art, a lesson in history, a novel conversation piece, and a great gift for any Winnipeg history buff.

The calendar is fully bilingual (English & French), measuring 14" x 10" and printed on high quality glossy paper. Each calendar is protected by a cardboard stiffner and shrinkwrap.

Each of the twelve historical scenes is accompanied by a brief narrative on its history. Scenes in the 2006 calendar include:

A view of Portage Avenue
Happyland amusement park
A view of Main Street and
Union Station
Winnipeg Industrial Bureau
City Park Pavilion
Winnipeg Beach
Pontoon bridge over the Red River
Steamship Winnitoba
Buffalo Bill Cody's visit to Winnipeg
View of the provincial Legislature Building
Winnipeg City Hall

For more information, phone (204) 944-0816 or visit

Participants Wanted for Métis Research Project

Participants are wanted for a study entitled: “Métis Children and the Christian Educational Agenda – the Formation of a Métis Childhood Identity in the West.”

This research is being undertaken by a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan for his Doctor of Philosophy dissertation. The objective is to study how Métis children, as students of the Christian educational agenda, either formed or did not form a unique identity during their education.

The information obtained from the interviews will be used, along with archival sources and hymns, poetry, nursery rhymes, and stories, to construct Métis childhood at the mission stations of York Landing, Fort Ellice, Norway House and Rossville, Partridge Crop, Cumberland, Prince Albert, Morleyville, Green Lake, and The Pas.

Did the missionary educators attempt to recreate nineteenth-century Britain and France in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western Canada through these Métis students? Other issues may surface that are unique to the interviewees. It is hoped that upon completion of the research, a history of Métis childhood identity in the context of mission education in western Canada will be revealed.

This project has been approved by the Research Ethics Board (REB) of the Office of Research Services at the University of Saskatchewan.

If you or someone you know was a student in the schools of any of the above communities, and would like to participate in a one- to one-and-a-half-hour interview, please contact Jonathan Anuik: Email:

Phone: 306-934-4631 in Saskatoon (out of town participants may call collect)

Centennial Farms

Click here for a current list of Centennial Farms.

MHS Charles N. Bell Award

This award, inaugurated in 2004, recognizes the student with the highest standing in the course History of Canada (11.144) at the University of Manitoba. The award commemorates the life and work of Charles Napier Bell, who was President of the MHS from 1889 to 1891 and again from 1913 to 1929.

The recipient of the Charles N. Bell Award for 2005 is Sydney Jane Eagleton.

Fall Field Trip to Devil’s Lake Cancelled

We regret that the fall field trip to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota was cancelled because not enough people signed up for the trip. Dr. Jock Lehr planned a very interesting trip and made all the arrangements. Then unfortunately low registration numbers forced him to cancel. We appreciate the great effort he put into organizing this trip and all the other field trips that he has directed over many years.

Manitoba and the Orkney Islands Sign Historic Accord

Manitoba Government News Release August 16, 2005

Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Eric Robinson and the Orkney Islands Council of the United Kingdom will enter into a memorandum of understanding on friendship and co-operation to reinforce existing bonds and to create new ones between the respective countries tomorrow.

"The histories of Manitoba, Orkney and the Hudson's Bay Company are intertwined.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, as many as 90 per cent of the Canadian-based employees of the Hudson's Bay Company were of Orkney descent," said Robinson.  "This historic connection is a source of great pride amongst the people of Orkney and the people of the province of Manitoba."

The links between Orkney and Manitoba's early fur-trade families are currently being commemorated by the Red River Settlement Descendants Reunion at Lower Fort Garry.

Resonances of the Orkney connection abound in Manitoba, Lower Fort Garry was built by Orcadian masons. York boats, based on the design of the traditional Orkney yawl, with a crew from the islands, provided part of the distribution network for the fur trade.

The five-year agreement will formally acknowledge the historic connection and the continued relationship between Manitoba and Orkney and will promote tourism and the exchange of experience in strengthening northern and remote communities through tourism.

"It has been an honour to attend the Red River Reunion of descendants of  Manitoba's original fur trade family settlers, and celebrate our shared
history," added Robinson.  "I look forward to continued co-operation between our two countries for generations to come."

University Women’s Club News

The above photo shows the unveiling of a Provincial Heritage Plaque on May 12, 2005 commemorating 54 West Gate as a building of provincial historic significance. Dr. James Allum, Chair of the Manitoba Heritage Council and Jennifer McFadyen, great granddaughter of Rev. Charles W. Gordon with her three-year old daughter Rachel

The  25th Annual Craft & Bake Sale will be held on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19. at 54 West Gate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be three floors of boutiques in the gracious ambience of historic Ralph Connor House featuring our own crafters and cooks and several well known Manitoba artisans. There will also be a Bring and Buy Room. Admission is $2.

54 West Gate – Stories of Ralph Connor House published May 2005 by the friends of Ralph Connor House, 221 pages, lavishly illustrated and including a time line and lots of anecdotal material tells the story of Rev. Charles W Gordon, his amazing family and the mansion that is now cared for by the University Women’s Club of Winnipeg. The book is available at McNally Robinson, WAG Gift Shop, Dalnavert Gift Shop and at 54 West Gate. Arrangements may be made to mail orders by phoning 954-7889 Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds are for the preservation and conservation of Ralph Connor House.

The University Women’s club and Creative Retirement will co-sponsor two new course this fall by two favourite presenters:

“Tasting the words: A Sampling of Poetry written by Women south of the Border” by poet Sarah Klassen four Tuesdays (10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.) from October 11 to November 1. Members $40. Non-members $50.

“Space, Places and People: Perception of the Environment” by Dr. John Lehr, Department of Geography, U. of W. Six Thursdays (1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.) October 20 to December 1 (No class November 17) Members $50. Non-members $65

To register for these courses please contact Ralph Connor House at 954-7889 9: 39 to  4:00 or at For further details please contact Diane DeGraves 452-1495 or email

HBC Descendants Meet at Lower Fort Garry

Smiling faces and a buzz of conversation filled the "All Purpose Room" at Lower Fort Garry during the Red River Descendants Reunion, 13-21 August 2005. They came from as far away as Japan, France, the Netherlands and Orkney, with many from the USA (Alaska, California, Vermont, Pennsylvania and states between). Though more than half of the 380 participants came from Manitoba, provinces from B.C. to Quebec were also represented.

They could choose from a variety of activities which included tours of HBC sites, an introduction to the HBC Archives, breakfasts and dinners. Between scheduled activities they could roam the historic site, greet the Metis who arrived in red river carts, and interact with the costumed Parks staff as well as members of the Manitoba Living History Society.

A full roster of speakers, including members of MHS such as Jack Bumsted, Bob Coutts, Scott Stephen and Judith Hudson Beattie, provided a varied series of presentations. On Orkney Day, representatives of Orkney (Stephen Hagan, Alasdair Buchan and Hugh Halcro-Smith) attended the gala dinner after the signing of the renewed Orkney Agreement at the Legislative Building.

Still, for most of those attending, the highlights were the Family Coffee Parties and the Genealogy Room, where they were able to renew acquaintances with distant relatives and meet branches of the family tree never before encountered. It was an exciting, exhausting  week but one none of the participants or many volunteers would have missed. The Manitoba Historical Society provided a display and a sale of books. Perhaps we will soon welcome new members from around the world who trace their roots to Manitoba!

Manitoba Teacher Nominated for Excellence in History Teaching

James Kostuchuk, a history teacher at Portage Collegiate Institute, has been nominated for a Governor-General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. He is the only Manitoban among 25 finalists, six of whom will be selected to receive the award at a ceremony in Ottawa in November.

James Kostuchuk

Kostuchuk has been teaching at PCI, one of the oldest high schools in the province, since 1991. Known for the enthusiasm that he fosters among his students, and the innovative projects they carry out under his supervision, Kostuchuk has been instrumental in establishing Archival Studies courses at the school, and in developing the PCI Archive, a growing collection of photographs and artifacts relating to Portage la Prairie and district. The Governor-General's Award is operated by Canada's National History Society, publishers of The Beaver and Kayak magazines.

Volunteers Wanted for Census Transcription

Volunteers are needed to help with transcription of the 1911 Canadian census, which was released to the public in late July by Library and Archives Canada. The entire census was microfilmed then scanned so all its pages could be made freely available on the Internet. Unfortunately, the census is searchable only by approximate geographic location, not by surname. This limitation will be overcome when the pages are fully transcribed. Volunteers having a computer with high-speed Internet access can go to to transcribe new pages or to proofread transcribed ones. This online database includes the census for all of Canada (except Newfoundland, which had not joined Confederation in 1911), unlike other transcription initiatives which cover only parts of the country. And the data will be provided to Library and Archives Canada to ensure its availability in the future. Please register as a census transcriber if you are able to help.

Book Launch set for November 13

Jim Blanchard, a past president of MHS  and editor of A Thousand Miles of Prairie is launching his new book, Winnipeg 1912 in the Dalnavert Visitor’s Centre from 2 to 4 p.m. on November 13.

This soft cover book, priced at $24.95, is published by University of Manitoba Press. In Winnipeg 1912, Jim Blanchard takes readers on a guided tour through this golden year when, as the Chicago Tribune proclaimed, all roads lead to Winnipeg. Beginning early New Year's Day, 1912, as the city¹s wealthy rang in the New Year at the Royal Alexandra Hotel, he visits both the public and private side of the Chicago of the North. He looks behind the scenes into the opulent mansions of the city¹s new elite and into its political backrooms, as well as into the crowded homes of Winnipeg¹s immigrant North End. From the excited crowds at the summer Exhibition to the turbulent floor of the Grain Exchange, Blanchard gives us a vivid picture of daily life in this fast-paced city of new millionaires and newly arrived immigrants. Richly illustrated with over seventy period photographs, Winnipeg 1912 captures a time and place that have left a lasting impression on Canadian history and culture.

Winnipeg Celebrates Centennial of Carnegie Library Building

An open house and reception marked the centennial of the Carnegie Library building at 380 William Avenue in Winnipeg. The building is now the site of the City of Winnipeg Archives.

The Carnegie Public Library was officially opened on October 11, 1905 by Governor General Earl Grey. The first Public Library Building in Winnipeg, constructed with a grant of $75,000 from the American industrialist and philanthropist, Andre Carnegie, it functioned as Winnipeg’s Central Library until the completion of the Centennial Library in 1977. It was reopened as a branch library in 1977 and continued as a branch library until 1994. The building now provides storage space for the City’s archival records. There are approximately 7,000 metres of records of the City and amalgamated municipalities dating back to 1874.

Other Carnegie libraries in Winnipeg are the St. John’s Branch and the Cornish Branch, both built in 1915. Through Carnegie’s generosity 2500 libraries were built around the world, 124 in Canada.

Engraved above the front door archway of the Carnegie Library building on William Avenue is “Free to All”.

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