September 1: Dugald train disaster; Medway Court burns; "Let's Go"; Corn and Apple Fest begins; Anishinaabe unveiled.

Dugald, Manitoba
September 1, 1947 - The train known as the Minaki Campers' Special is returning to Winnipeg with over 300 hundred cottagers aboard. At 9:44 p.m. it passes Dugald but instead of switching to a siding, it continues on the main line and collides head-on with an east-bound transcontinental passenger train stopped at the Dugald Station.


The Dugald Train Disaster claimed 31 lives and seriously injured dozens of others. Only seven bodies could be positively identified, the others were buried at a mass funderal in Brookside Cemetery. It remains Canada's third worst train disaster.

Related: Time Magazine; Manitoba Historical Society, CKND video segment from 2006; images of the memorial at Dugald, Manitoba. Also, see my series on Manitoba's deadliest train crashes.

Manitoba Free Press September 3, 1929

September 1, 1929
- The Medway Court fire on Edmonton St. at Ellice Ave. kills nine people. It and the Haselmere Apartment fire of 1974 are among the deadliest fires in Winnipeg's history.

September 1, 1976 – The Winnipeg-based children's TV show “Let’s Go” debuts. Hosted by Janis Dunning it was a Manitoba Theatre Workshop project to showcase young talent. Some folks who appeared on the show included singer / songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, actor Scott Bairstow and acclaimed classical music composer Victor Davies.

Let’s Go taped 214 half-hour episodes and finished in September 1987.

September 1, 1980 - After 135 days and over 5,000 kilometres Terry Fox announces that cancer has spread to his lungs and that his Marathon of Hope would have to be abandoned. Fox died the following year. (CBC Archives.)
September 1, 1958 - CJOB bans rock and roll on their station, opting instead for ‘easy listening’.
 .September 1, 1991 – Anishinaabe is unveiled at Winnipeg Beach. Carved by Hungarian-born, B.C.-based artist Peter “Wolf” Toth.

The statue was the 67th in a series of carvings called Whispering Giants started by Toth in the 70’s. The goal was to create one monument in each province and state in Canada, the US and Mexico honouring the First Nations that live(d) there.

September 1, 1931 – The Municipal Hydro Electric Generating Station at Slave Falls MB generates its first electricity.

September 1, 1937- Streetcar service from Winnipeg to Selkirk, MB ends and is replaced by bus service. This 1937 Twin Coach was one of the buses that replaced it.

Manitoba Free Press June 17, 1933

September 1, 1933
– Peter Piniak, 25, is hanged at Headingley Gaol for the murder of Martha and Eddie Squarok near Winnipeg Beach.

Piniak was not well liked in the community. Police received numerous complaints from neighbours and townspeople, especially women, claiming harassment. His life had recently taken a turn for the worse when his infant child died, his wife left him and he had to move in with his mother. 

The Squaroks, who lived on a neighbouring farm, were of the opinion that Piniak was directly responsible for the death of his son by 'allowing him to freeze to death' and not afraid to tell anyone who would listen. This angered Piniak who eventually went to the Squarok house, beat Martha with a piece of wood so badly that the judge referred to it as 'a diabolical butchery', then drowned her five year-old son Eddie by tossing him down the well.

At Piniak's trial even his mother
testified that he was "lazy" and "no-good." He was found guilty and sentenced to death. One newspaper report said that as the sentence was read, Piniak calmly chewed his gum then cracked a small smile when told "May the Lord have mercy on your soul."

On the morning of his hanging Piniak played solitaire until moments before being led to the gallows. While on the trap he inquired about the length of drop that the hangman 'Edwards' was allowing. He received no response. When the black hood was being fitted over his head he protested and his last words were "I don't want ....."

The family wanted to bury Piniak at the family grave site but the community wanted nothing to do with that. Instead, he is buried at Headingley Jail cemetery.

August 28, 1967 Winnipeg Free Press

September 1 - 3, 1967 - The town of Morden hosts the first Corn and Apple Festival as a centennial project. Events included a farmers' market, street dance, costume contest, threshermen's contest and bicycle races. The Dugald Costume museum also held a fashion show in the school gym.

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