May 29: Empress of Ireland sank; Sunday Chorale began; Transit went public.

May 29,1914 - The Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River. Over 1,000 people went down with the ship, including about 30 Manitobans. For more on the disaster and the Manitoba victims, see my West End Dumplings post.

May 29, 1942 - The Choristers, a Winnipeg chamber choir, began weekly broadcasts on CBC radio. In 1952 the program's name became Sunday Chorale and continued until 1969. The choir was the basis for today's The Winnipeg Singers.

May 29, 1953 – The privately-owned Winnipeg Electric Company was taken over by the crown corporation the Greater Winnipeg Transit Commission to make it a city-wide public transit system. For more on Winnipeg's Transit system.

May 29, 1977 - The Airliner Drive-In Theatre closed for good. For more about Winnipeg's Drive-Ins.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 28: Falcon captain dead; Floodway deal signed; Isbister remembered.

May 28, 1884 - Alexander Kennedy Isbister died. Isbister was of Metis heritage and started life as an HBC fur trader and explorer. He ended up one of Manitoba’s senior educators, constitutional lawyers and a philanthropists.

May 28, 1936 - Wilfred Bonnin killed 19-year-old Maurice Garvie during an armed holdup of the Union Bank branch at Logan and Sherbrook. He was hanged at the Vaughan Street Jail the following January.

May 28, 1962 - Manitoba signed a $63.2 million agreement with the Feds to build the Red River Floodway. It would become the second largest earth-moving project in the world after the Panama Canal.

May 28, 1970 - The directors of the Hudson's Bay Company voted to transfer the head office of the company to Winnipeg.

May 28, 1979 - Frank Frederikson died. Born in Winnipeg to Icelandic parents, he was the captain of the Allan Cup and Olympic gold medal-winning Winnipeg Falcons.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 27: Stevenson Aerodrome; Remembering the Rocket.

 May 27, 1882 - The Winnipeg Electric Street Railway Company was incorporated.

May 27, 1919 - In Winnipeg General Strike news.

May 27 / 28, 1928 - The Winnipeg Flying Club officially opened its airfield in the R.M. of St. James. It was named Stevenson Aerodrome after Captain Fred J. Stevenson, a decorated war pilot and pioneer bush pilot in Manitoba.  It was the forerunner to what is now the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

May 27, 2000 - Maurice "The Rocket" Richard died.

May 26: Remembering "Cactus Jack"

May 26, 1999 – Winnipeg broadcaster John Hampson “Cactus Jack" Wells died following complications during surgery.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 24: The King's speech; Assiniboine Park Pavilion; Souris' library.

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May 24, 1911 - Kildonan Park is formally opened and was an instant hit with its wooded stands, vast lawns, and easy access to the Red River. A Winnipeg Free Press reporter wrote at the time, “Wild in the beauty of unrestricted nature, Kildonan Park will in time become the most beautiful of Winnipeg's big recreation grounds." (For more about its history.)

May 24, 1930 - Victoria Day. The new Assiniboine Park pavilion opened to the public. The original, built circa 1909, burned down the year before.

Winnipeg Evening Tribune May 25, 1939

May 24, 1939 - His Majesty King George VI and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I were on the Winnipeg portion of their Canadian royal tour. The King delivered a Victoria Day message to the Empire from Government House. This was months before the speech made famous in the Academy Award winning 2010 film.the movie. For more on the King's Winnipeg speech.

May 24, 1955 - The first regional library in Manitoba opened in Souris.

May 20: Manitoba's first LG; Luxton dies; Brandon strikes; Falcon Lake's UFO.

May 20, 1893 - The Janet Skinner King Memorial Window was unveiled at Bryce Hall at the University of Winnipeg.

May 20, 1870 Sir Adams George Archibald was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. A lawyer from Nova Scotia, he held a number of senior cabinet posts and was a strong supporter of the expansion of Canada.

Though Archibald spent just a couple of years in the position, he laid some important foundations for the province such as the establishment of the first police forces and negotiating the first two treaties between Manitoba and its First Nations.

Archibald later served as L.G. for of Nova Scotia from 1873-83. Archibald Street is named for him.

May 20, 1907 - William Fisher Luxton died. He came to Manitoba in 1871 to be a schoolteacher but the following year partnered with John Kenny to create the Manitoba Free Press. (Also see.)

May 20, 1919 - Brandon's workers chose this day to start a sympathetic general strike. Over 100 CNR workers and 125 CPR workers were the first to walk off the job.

May 20, 1967 - A prospector encountered two 'flying saucers' while working near Falcon Lake, Manitoba. After an investigation the Department of National Defence consider the matter 'unsolved'.

May 20, 1979 - The Jets beat the Edmonton Oilers 7-3 to win the Avco World Trophy of the WHA. This was the Jets' third cup and the final one presented. It can be seen at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 19: Frankin set sail; Red River Crests, Post Office permit issued.

May 19, 1845 - Explorer John Franklin left England with his ships Erebus and Terror to find the North West Passage. They became icebound in July and over a period of three years died off while awaiting rescue. 

The wrecks of the ships were found in 2014 and 2016 after years of searching. Britain gifted the ships to Canada in 2018 and they are now a National Historic Site.

May 19, 1919 - The Winnipeg Citizen newspaper began publication. It is owned by the pro-business Citizen's Committee of One Thousand.  

May 19, 1950 - The Red River crested in Winnipeg.

May 19, 1955 - A building permit was issued for the new Dominion Post Office on Graham Avenue. At $9.5 million, it was the largest permit ever issued in the city to that point.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 19: Farewell Bannatyne; James Kirkcaldy born; Gray's "zero tolerance" for strikers.

May 18, 1866 - James Kirkcaldy was born in Scotland. He settled in Brandon and became its police chief and later a politician and administrator.

May 18, 1889 A. G. B. Bannatyne, (also see), died en route to Winnipeg from St. Paul, Minnesota.

Reporting on his death, the Manitoba Free Press wrote: "Mr. Bannatyne was one of the landmarks of the old Red River Settlement and his name will ever remain interwoven with Manitoba."

In the formative years of Winnipeg there was very little that Bannatyne wasn’t involved in. He was the first postmaster of Fort Garry, first president of Winnipeg Board of Trade, the first police magistrate for Winnipeg, the long-time MP for Provencher and was also involved in the establishment of the Winnipeg General Hospital and served as president of its board of trustees.

December 9, 1905, Winnipeg Free Press

Bannatyne's business interests and landholdings made him a wealthy man, but that did not last. A Winnipeg Tribune article of June 25, 1910 says that he wasn’t “wise with the ways of the world” and the flood unscrupulous land speculators and businessman that came to the city in its early years took advantage of that: "...because of his faith in humanity, his kindly desire to help things along and his inability to resist the unscrupulous forces with which he was suddenly called upon to intend, he became financially overwhelmed and his magnificent prospects disappeared.…”

Bannatyne lost most of his wealth in bad business deals that tanked in a recession and land bust and spent the last years of his life living mostly in seclusion.

May 18, 1919 - Mayor Gray issued a zero tolerance proclamation for civic unrest during the Winnipeg General Strike: "Let me make this absolutely clear. If the food supplies and the protection of life and property are not maintained I shall take whatever action may be necessary to secure them and maintain the authority of the government as it is established by the voice of the people".

May 18, 1974 - Singer / songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk was born in Winnipeg.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 17: Winnipeg Fire Dept created; Citizens Committee of 1000 created; HMCS Dauphin commissioned.
Source: Winnipeg In Focus

May 17, 1882 - Winnipeg's volunteer fire brigade was replaced with a full-time force. Chief William McRobie, a veteran of the Montréal fire department, was chosen from a long list of applicants for the position. He presided over a staff of 32. (for more Winnipeg Fire Department history.)

May 17 1919 - Concerned about the growing number of workers joining the general strike, the Citizens Committee of 1000 was created.


May 17, 1941 - The HMCS Dauphin was commissioned at Montreal.

May 17, 1973 - The PPCLI barracks in Winnipeg were renamed Kapyong Barracks to honour a battle fought in the Korean war in 1951.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 16: Bachman left The Guess Who; first policewoman graduated; Garrick Cinema opened.

May 16, 1919 – The Winnipeg General Strike entered its second day and attracts the attention of the New York Times.Continues. (Above article from the N.Y. Times. Also see my 1919 blog.)

May 16th, 1960 - Helen Woollard was the first woman to graduate from a full recruit class at the Winnipeg Police Academy. She was also the first supervisor for the 999 (now 911) emergency service in 1959. (For more early Winnipeg policewomen.)

May 16, 1968 - The Garrick Cinema opened. It was Winnipeg's first modern-era cinema and its first multiplex, featuring two screens under one roof. 

May 16, 1970 - Randy Bachman left the Guess Who. (For more.)

May 16, 1973 - Bomber great Leo Lewis was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame. He played 11 seasons (55-65) and made six trips to the Grey Cup, winning four. The "Lincoln Locomotive" rushed for a total of 8,861 yards and racked up 5,444 kickoff return yards.

May 15: General Strike began; Riel surrendered; Uptown Theatre went dark; Planetarium opened.

May 15, 1885 - Louis Riel surrendered to to Maj. Gen. Middleton after defeat at the Battle of Batoche. He was taken to Regina, imprisoned and tried for treason. (Image: 'Riel as prisoner in Middleton's camp, 16 May 1885', Library and Archives Canada / C-003450).

May 15, 1919 - The winnipeg General Strike began. At 7:00 am the first workers leave their jobs. By lunchtime, 25,000 workers from 94 unions filled the streets. For more, see the May 15 entry at my 1919: The Winnipeg General Strike blog. (Image: May 15, 1919, Winnipeg Tribune.)

May 15, 1964 - Mayor Juba laid the cornerstone for the new Winnipeg Civic Centre.

May 15, 1960 - The Uptown Theatre on Academy Road showed its final film. The interior would be demolished to create a bowling alley.

May 15, 1968 - The 286-seat Manitoba Planetarium opened. At the ceremony, Sam and Saidye Bronfman were thanked for their $500,000 donation towards the project.

May 15, 1974
- The City of Winnipeg began enforcing a new fire code for all existing apartment buildings, regardless of when they were built, after the tragic Haselmere Apartments fire.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

May 13: Winnipeg's mass evacuation; Transcona's first mayor; Soldier's Relatives' Monument unveiled.

May 13, 1912 - Colin J. E. Maxwell becomes the town of Transcona’s first mayor by acclamation. For more on the early days of Transcona.

May 13, 1919 - The results of the vote are in: Winnipeg workers voted in favour of a General Strike. (For more).

May 13, 1923 - The Soldier's  Realtives' Memorial on the Legislature ground was unveiled. It contains 1,600 names, of what is believed to be every Winnipegger killed during World War I. (Also see.)

May 13, 1950 - A convoy of 3,700 vehicles and trains began the evacuation of more than 100,000 people from Winnipeg as the city sinks under the flooding Red River. It is the largest evacuation on Canadian soil.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

Apr. 22: Naval Reserves created; Teachers' Society formed; State of emergency for '97 flood.

April 22 , 1919 - The Manitoba Teachers' Society held its inaugural meeting at the Industrial Bureau building at Main Street and Water Avenue. For more MTS history.

April 22, 1923
– The Winnipeg Division of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve was created. It was the forerunner to the HMCS Chippawa, now on Smith Street. For more on Manitoba's naval history

April 22, 1997
- A state of emergency is declared in Southern Manitoba as the Red River rises. The military begins evacuating the first wave of what would be tens of thousands of Manitobans from the region. (Also see CBC Archives.)

April 21: 1950 flood's first death; Manitou became a village; Flood of the Century began.

April 21, 1897 - Manitou is incorporated as a village. One of its most famous citizens is Nellie Moody who came from Ontario to teach in the local school. In 1896, she married Wes McClung, the local pharmacist.

April 21, 1950 - The first of two fatalities related to the Red River Flood of 1950 took place. Roland Sicotte, 41, a farmer near Ste. Elizabeth, Manitoba and his 14-year-old son were trying to cross the swollen Marsh Creek that ran through their property. The boat capsized and Sicotte drowned. He left a widow and seven children ranging in age from a newborn baby to fourteen years old.

April 21, 1997 -  Canadian Forces are deployed to Emerson to fight the "Flood of the Century". (See CBC Archives.)

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy

Apr. 2: Mall Centre preview; Singer Building opens; golfer Dan Halldorson.

April 2, 1930 - The Singer Building on Portage Avenue was opened by the singer Showing Machine Company.
pril 2, 1952 - Golfer Dan Halldorson was born in Winnipeg. He qualified for the PGA Tour in 1975 and played on the tour for over 20 years. He won events in 1980 and 1986.

April 2, 1963 - A full-page ad in the Free Press introduced the design for the Mall Centre to be constructed at Portage and Colony. It featured a seven storey office tower, 300 car parkade, retail mall and the city's central bus station.

© 2012, 2020 Christian Cassidy