The 2018 Christmas Gift Guide

If you're wondering what to get the local history buff on your Christmas list - look no further. My eight annual Local History Buff's Christmas Gift Guide is out ! 

While I continue to take time off from This Was Winnipeg, you can still keep up on today in Manitoba history by searching the date in the left hand column. My apologies for some of the broken links that have built up over the years. I promise to eventually get to them.

Be sure to check out my other blogs, West End Dumplings and Winnipeg Downtown Places.

Happy holidays to everyone and thanks for reading !

Taking a month off !

I have not "regenerated" the daily posts for a couple of weeks but will get back to it later in November. TWM has been around for a number of years, so the posts are already "in the can", so to speak. To check out today in Manitoba history, go to the box down the left hand column to pull up today's date !

Thanks for following This Was Manitoba !

October 30: Gunnarson's failed escape; Stuart Craig; last trolley; flogging protest; new airport.

October 30,1999 -Manitoba media pioneer Stuart Craig dies. His first venture was the purchase of Brandon’s CKX radio in 1948 which he grew into the A-Channel television network of the early 2000s.

October 30, 1983
– Recreating an escape once performed by Harry Houdini, Winnipeg's Dean Gunnarson is bound in a coffin and lowered into the Red River.

An error with the crane movement filled the coffin with water and Gunnarson was pulled from the river four minutes later unconscious and still bound. He survived the escape attempt.

October 30, 1970 – The final trolley bus runs in Winnipeg. The Manitoba Transit Heritage Association has that last trolley, a 1950 Can-Car/Brill model T-48A (Metro Transit # 1752.)

October 31, 1884, Winnipeg Daily Sun 

October 30, 1884 - Two thousand people take to the streets of Winnipeg in a mass protests against the flogging of a prisoner.

A man named McCormick escaped from prison and was recaptured later that week. For his troubles, Manitoba Attorney General Miller sentenced him to 24 lashes, 12 at the beginning of his sentence and 12 at the end.

Many, including military, political and medical leaders reacted with disgust. The use of flogging as punishment was seen as outdated, barbaric and an embarrassment for the province's reputation. "The Winnipeg Flogging" even ended up in the New York Times.

The NWMP and troops from the 90th Battalion were called in for crowd control but, aside from the burning of a couple of effigies of the AG, there was no violence.

October 30, 1966 - Ken Leishman, the Flying Bandit, again escapes custody. This time from the Vaughan Street Jail.

October 30, 1964 – St. Boniface mayor Joseph Guay and police chief Russell host the opening ceremony of their city’s new court building and police station designed by Etienne Gaboury.

Exterior, Teminal Building
October 30, 2011 – A changing of the guard for Winnipeg air travel as the Winnipeg International Airport is officially closed. At 5:10 am the first travelers depart from the new James A Richardson International Airport on an Air Canada flight.

October 28: Royal visit to Rivers; Susan Thompson, Glen Murray elected mayor.

October 28, 1951 -  Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh spend the afternoon at Rivers, Manitoba's Joint Air Training Centre. It was to make up for an oversight that angered many Winnipeggers, their failure to visit Deer Lodge Veterans Hospital while visiting the city the week prior. Three bus loads of Veterans made the journey to Rivers to meet the Royal Couple.

October 28, 1992 - Susan Thompson is elected the 40th mayor of Winnipeg. She is the first woman to hold the position.

October 28, 1998 - Glen Murray defeats Peter Kaufman to become Winnipeg's 41st mayor. He is now an MPP in the Ontario Legislature.

October 29: The Paddlewheel Restaurant opens; Roblin is Premier; St. Andrew's an historic site; Theatre 77.

October 29, 1954 - The Paddle Wheel Buffet (Paddlewheel Restaurant) opens in the Bay Downtown. It was part of a two year pillar-to-post renovation of the store that included the construction of a parkade which also opened on the same date. For a history of the restaurant and of the Bay Parkade.

October 29, 1990
- Knox United Church, 400 Edmonton Street, Winnipeg, is designated a Provincial Heritage Site.

October 29, 1990 - Frelsis (Liberty) Lutheran Church at Grund, R.M. of Argyle, near Baldur, is designated a Provincial Heritage Site.

St. Andrew's Church
October 29, 1990 - St. Andrew's-on-the-Red Anglican Church, 3 St. Andrews Road, R.M. of St. Andrews, near Lockport is designated a Provincial Heritage Site.

October 29, 1887 - The first pipe organ installed in Manitoba is unveiled at the Birtle Presbyterian Church.

October 29, 1900 - Sir Rodmond Roblin becomes Premier of Manitoba.

October 29, 1936 - Tobias Crawford Norris dies in Toronto. Norris sat in the Legislature from 1896 - 1932 and was premier from 1915 - 1922.

October 29, 1904 - Joseph Alston Wise is born in Winnipeg. He was a member of the 1932 Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey team The Winnipegs.

October 29, 1957 – A CBC radio documentary airs the day after the debut performance of John Hirsch’s Theatre 77’s first performance: The Italian Straw Hat. It marked the return of professional theatre to Winnipeg after a 25-year absence.

The following year “77” merged with Winnipeg Little Theatre to form the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

October 27: Billy Barker's Victoria Cross; Tom Jackson is born; Carman's Jack Carson.

October 27, 1910 - Hollywood character actor Jack Carson is born in Carman MB. Carson grew up in Milwaukee, which he considered to be his true home town.

October 27, 1948 -Singer, actor and philanthropist Tom Jackson is born on the One Arrow Reserve, Saskatchewan. He was raised in Alberta and moved to Winnipeg when he was 14.  (Also see.)

Billy Barker Memorial
October 27, 1918 - Dauphin's Billy Barker fights the battle that would earn him his Victoria Cross.

Returning from a successful mission, Barker was attacked by a formation of German planes. Wounded and near unconsciousness, he shot down four planes which allowed him time to cross back over Allied lines before crash landing. That made 50 enemy aircraft, making him Canada's most celebrated war Ace and Canada's most decorated soldier.

For more on Barker read my West End Dumpling post.

October 26: Winnipeg's first 'talkie"; Elim Chapel burns; Bank of Commerce opens; N.Y. Rangers beats Winnipeg Navy.

October 26, 1974 Elim Chapel at Portage at Spence burns.

Built in 1903 as St. Stephen's Presbyterian, it was once home to the congregation of Reverend Charles Gordon, (better known as author Ralph Connor.)

Nobody was injured but the building was completely gutted, including a three-keyboard Casavant organ valued at over $100,000. The congregation decided to rebuild on the same spot when it was found that the foundation and what was left of the walls could be re-used.

In early November, a 24 year-old Balmoral Street man was caught fleeing the scene of the fire at Knox Church and charged with 5 counts of arson.

October 26, 1942 - The New York Rangers beat the Winnipeg Navy Club 9-2 at an exhibition game in front of a sold out audience at the Winnipeg Amphitheatre.

October 26, 1912 - A grand opening banquet is held in the new Bank of Commerce headquarters on Main Street. The building is now known as the Millennium Centre.

 Metropolitan Theatre
Oct 25, 1928 Free Press

October 26, 1928 - At 6 p.m. Winnipeg’s first 'talking picture’ is shown at the Metropolitan Theatre on Donald Street.

The Met was fitted with the Movietone Sound System which synchronized films with a sound track. The movie shown was "The Street Angel" and while there was no actual talking in the movie the symphonic score was overlaid.

The accompanying newsreel and a comedy short featuring Robert Benchley did have spoken word.

October 18: Arena opens; Women are persons; CFRY on the air; Chief Buchanan; Safeway arrives.

October 18, 1955 - The Winnipeg Arena opens with a game between the Winnipeg Warriors and Calgary Stampeders. The crowd of 9,671 breaks the attendance record for a WHL game. On March 26, 2006 it was imploded and the site is now home to an office mall.

October 18, 1989 – The official opening of the Keewatin Underpass takes place.

The Famous Five
October 18, 1929 – Women are legally recognized as persons under the British North America Act. The five women who launched the “Persons Case”, also known as The Famous Five, are: Justice Emily Murphy; Henrietta Muir Edwards; Louise McKinney; Hon. Irene Parlby and Manitoba’s own Nellie McClung.

McClung was a teacher from Manitou, Manitoba who began to write and lecture and was soon a leader of Manitoba's suffragette movement. McLung's autobiographical The Stream Runs Fast can be read here.  Also see the Historica Heritage Minute.

October 18, 1956CFRY radio in Portage La Prairie begins broadcasting.

October 18, 1895 - John E. Buchanan is appointed chief of the Winnipeg Fire Department. He would serve in that position until 1928.

October 18, 1892 - The Trappist Monastery at St. Norbert formally opens. The site was added to over the years. In 1975 the Trappist left the site due to encroaching urbanization for one near Holland, Manitoba.

October 18, 1929 - Canada's first Safeway stores open in Winnipeg. For more on Safeway in Winnipeg.

October 17: MTN is on the air; Selinger as leader, MB's first federal cabinet minister; West Broadway's origins.

October 17, 1986 - Portage la Prairie-based Manitoba Television Network (MTN) signs on the air.

Owned by Craig Broadcasting, MTN also had studios in Winnipeg and links to Brandon's CKX, making it Manitoba's only regional television broadcaster. 

In 1999, it was re-branded A-Channel. In 2004, it was sold to CHUM in 2004. Today, it is part of Rogers’ CITY TV network.

For a Prairie Pulse News Break.

October 17, 2009 - Greg Selinger defeats Steve Ashton to become leader of the Manitoba NDP. He was sworn in as Premier of Manitoba two days later.

October 17, 1892 - Thomas Mayne Daly becomes the first Manitoban appointed to the federal cabinet. He served as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs under Prime Minister Sir John Abbott.

October 17, 1882 – Col. James Mulligan sells off his Highwood Manor Estate.  

A retired soldier, Mulligan was granted the river lot stretching from the Assiniboine River to Portage Avenue between Langside and Maryland. As urban development came closer, he created Furby Street and sold off land adjacent to it for subdivision.

On this date, he sold of the rest of his estate and retired to Montreal. This was the origin of the West Broadway neighbourhood.

October 16: Princess Elizabeth visits; Pointe du Bois on line; BTO's Fred Turner.

October 16, 1951 - Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Winnipeg. Less than six months later Elizabeth would become Queen.

While in Winnipeg the Winnipeg Ballet Club performed at the Queen’s request. The year following her coronation Elizabeth granted them a Royal charter, a first for a ballet company. The troupe was rechristened the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

For more on their Royal Tour check out this documentary (Winnipeg starts at 19:49) as well as here and this photo set.

October 16, 2010 - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are inducted into the Manitoba Rugby Hall of Fame.

October 16, 1911 - The first power from the Pointe du Bois Generating Station is delivered to Winnipeg. It is the province's oldest station built by Winnipeg Hydro.

Manitoba Hydro inherited in 2002 when it bought Winnipeg Hydro. In early 2012 the company announced that it would be closing down the adjacent “company town” by the same name. The power station will remain open.

October 16, 1943 - Fred Turner of Bachman Turner Overdrive is born in Winnipeg.

October 15: Winnipeg Auditorium opens; Jets' first home opener; street lights shine.

October 15, 1932 - Winnipeg's Civic Auditorium on Vaughan Street is officially opened by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett. Built as a Depression relief project, the Auditorium was Winnipeg's main hall for concerts, lectures and indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball. It was also home to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the art gallery.

The combination of so many venues under one roof was unique and made the venue very successful. From the mid 50s to late 60s many of the events and institutions that called the building home headed to newer sites. In 1970 the province purchased it and converted it into the Manitoba Provincial Archives building.

October 15, 1882
- The first electric street lights appear in Winnipeg. The three lamps were located at Broadway and Main, Lombard Street and the CPR station on Higgins.

For more on
Winnipeg's first utilities. Also, for about James Stuart, a key player in the early 'electrification' of Winnipeg.

October 15, 1972 - The WHA's Winnipeg Jets play their first-ever home game at the Winnipeg Arena. 

Despite a 2-0 regular season record and the hype over signing Bobby Hull, fans took time to warm up to the team. Many complained about the ticket prices: $6 and $5 plus tax. Only 8,000 were in attendance at the arena that night – 2,500 short of a sell-out.

The Jets lost 5 - 2 to the Alberta Oilers. For more on the Jets' first season

October 15, 1943 - Charles Evans, window washer, dies after falling 20 feet from the Dismorr Building.

October 14: Father of the CFL; West End Library; John Pritchard.

October 14, 1979 - The Winnipeg Jets win their first-ever NHL regular season game becoming the first of the WHL expansion teams to do so.  Coach Don McVie’s Jets beat Don Cherry’s Colorado Rockies 4-2 in front of a home crowd at the Winnipeg Arena. The game winner was scored by Jude Drouin.

West End Library
October 14, 1966 - Mayor Juba officially opens the West End branch of the Winnipeg Public Library on Ellice Avenue. 

October 14, 1966 - Photo of U of M looking north, looking south west.

October 14, 1874 – The newly created Winnipeg city council holds its first money plebiscite. It was to obtain a $25k line of credit to purchase fire engines and related fire equipment. It passed !

 October 14, 1856 - John Pritchard, (1777-1856), is buried. The British-born pioneer came to Manitoba around 1805 with what would become the North West Company. In 1822 he was appointed the Councillor of Assiniboia.

Lord Kitchener School at Henderson Highway and Whellams Lane underwent an expansion in 1967 and was renamed John Pritchard School. it was fitting as the building sits on land that was once part of his homestead. Pritchard Avenue is also named for him.

October 14, 1941 - Sgt-Pilot Leslie Falardeau is killed in action. Months before enlisting he worked as an assistant and body double for actor Raymond Massey during the filming of 49th Parallel. He died before the Oscar-winning movie was released.

October 12: Floodway opens; Richardson Building 1.0; "Spanish" flu precautions; Pearson's Nobel Prize.

Floodway at Lockport
October 12, 1968 - The Red River Floodway is officially opened by Premier Walter Weir and energy minister J. J. Greene. Former Premier Duff Roblin, who led the charge to get the project built, left provincial politics that year to run for Parliament.

The 47 km channel took six years to build, cost $63m and was said to be the largest earth-moving construction project in history to that date. It has been used 20 times and is estimated to have saved over $10 billion in direct damages, (source).

Also See:
Duff’s Ditch" and CBC Archives.

Spanish Flu - Winnipeg
October 12, 1918 - Both Gordon Bell, chair of the Provincial Public Health Board, and A. J. Douglas, Winnipeg's Health Officer, issue orders closing all public places and forbidding all public gatherings. It was an effort to deal with Spanish Influenza which was beginning to circulate in the province.

October 12, 1934 - Sidney Smith is installed as the second president of the University of Manitoba. At the same ceremony John Dafoe is installed as its third Chancellor. For more U of M history.

October 12, 1876 - Mr. Steele of Steele Bros. Seeds in Toronto arrives in Winnipeg to pick up what would be the first wheat export order from Manitoba. The company that arranged the transaction was Higgins and Young. The two were also partners in a dry goods store.

October 12, 1957 - Lester B Pearson wins the Nobel Prize. As described by CBC Radio:

“A cable is sent from Oslo to inform Liberal MP Lester B. Pearson that he has won the Nobel Peace Prize. It arrives, but at the wrong house. Four hours later a reporter calls Pearson for an interview and unknowingly becomes the bearer of marvellous news. Pearson is shocked and honoured. The prize honours Pearson's creation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), deployed the previous year to help bring peace in Egypt, following the Suez Crisis”.

October 12, 1929 - Excavation begins on the "James Richardson Building" at Portage and Main. By the end of the month the project was put on hold due to the stock market crash. It took until 1967 for James Richardson and Sons to re-announce the construction of their headquarters at the famous intersection.

October 10: Manitoba Club opens; Travellers' Association created; Jets' first NHL game; Pumping Station retired.

October 10, 1882The North West Commercial Travellers’ Association is formed at a meeting at the Grand Union Hotel, 200 Princess Street. The aim of the association: "to secure traveling and personal benefits for commercial travelers, manufacturers’ agents, sales executives and proprietors of wholesaling and distribution companies."

Downtown Winnipeg
Along with the HBC, the NWC (as it's now called) is the only surviving original member of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. The organization's first main headquarters was the Traveller's Building off Old Market Square. In 1946, they took over the Inglis Building on Garry Street. They are now located at 715 Portage Avenue.

October 10, 1979 -The Winnipeg Jets play their first NHL regular season game. It is 4 - 2 loss on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins. For more Jets history.

Manitoba Club
October 10, 1905 - Governor General Earl Grey opens the Manitoba Club's new building at 194 Broadway.

October 10, 1870 - Manitoba's first police force, the "Mounted Constabulary Force" is ready for action ! For more on early policing in the province.

October 10, 1986 - The James Avenue High Pressure Pumping Station, which supplied pressurized waster to downtown Winnipeg since 1907, is retired. The building stills stands near Waterfront Drive.

October 8: Countess of Dufferin; Queen unveils Golden Boy; Lockport Dam; CJOB to 680.

Winnipeg Rail Museum
October 8, 1877Joseph Whitehead's Countess of Dufferin arrives in St. Boniface by barge from the U.S.. She is the first locomotive in Western Canada and in thirty years of service hauled much of the infrastructure that opened up the region.

The Countess was restored in 1910 and is currently on display at the Winnipeg Railway Museum.

October 8, 1900 - The sod turning for the St. Andrews Lock and Dam at Lockport takes place. (Also see here and here)

October 8 to 9, 2002 - Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Winnipeg during her Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) celebrations. One of their duties was to unveil the restored Golden Boy.

October 8, 1871 - Not Manitoba history but considering the rivalry that would develop between the two, it was big news here. The Great Chicago Fire begins. It destroyed 17,450 buildings, killed 250 people and left 90,000 homeless.

October 8, 2010 - Businessman and philanthropist Gerry Gray dies. 

October 8, 1957 - CJOB moves to its new frequency at 680 AM.