May 18: Farewell Bannatyne; James Kirkcaldy; Gray's "zero tolerance" for strikers.

May 18, 1889 A. G. B. Bannatyne, businessman, politician and a "founding father" of Winnipeg dies en route to Winnipeg from St. Paul, Minnesota. Reporting on his death, the  Manitoba Free Press of (May 20, 1889 noted that "Mr. Bannatyne was one of the landmarks of the old Red River Settlement and his name will ever remain interwoven with Manitoba." 

In 1851 he came to Red River, opened a store on the banks of the Red River between Lombard and what is now called Bannatyme Avenue. As settlement grew, so did his fortunes. 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, first police magistrate for Winnipeg, a long-time MP for Provencher. He was also involved in the establishment of the Winnipeg General Hospital and was president of its board of trustees.

With his land holdings and business enterprises, he was a wealthy man but that did not last. A  Tribune article of June 25, 1910 says that having spent most of his life in the West he wasn’t “wise with the ways of the world” and the flood unscrupulous land speculators and businessman that flooded into the city in the 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, 1866 - James Kirkcaldy is born in Scotland. He settled in Brandon and become its police chief and later a politician and administrator.

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

May 18, 1919 - Mayor Gray issues a zero tolerance proclamation for civic unrest during the strike.

No comments: