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Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Main Street Underpass Makeover

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wintorbos/4324434310/

With news that the Main Street Underpass is getting a makeover with new paint and lighting, I thought I would look back at the history of the structure, which opened in 1904.

Interestingly, right from day one there was controversy about its unsafe, "tunnel like appearance".

You can check out my research here.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Meadows Grain Elevator 1947 - 2017


The ca. 1947 Meadows, Manitoba Paterson Grain elevator is being demolished.

Meadows was created ca. 1882, established by the CPR. It took until 1905 before the settlement was large enough to ask the R. M. of Rossburn for permission to open their own school. A train station was added in 1906.

October 5, 1922, Winnipeg Tribune

Settlers guides from the late 1880s show that there was grain collection from Meadows but it was an informal system where the grain was stored and scooped into rail cars. It wasn't until 1912 that it got its first formal elevator.

Initially, it was run by a local company then sold to the McLaughlin Grain Co. in 1915.

In 1922, Paterson Grain purchased the elevator.

According to the CPR, that year the town boasted a population of 150 with a  school, general store, elevator, oil tank and blacksmith. Before the year was out, however, a fire destroyed the village`s elevator, bank building and blacksmith`s shop.

Meadows`dual elevators, image ca. 1947 - 1953.

Paterson rebuilt a new, 30,000 bushel elevator. A second, 60,000 bushel elevator was added in 1947. An annex was added in 1953.

In 1976, the ca. 1922 elevator was demolished. A new annex was added later that decade.

(Elevator dates and dual elevator images from: The First Hundred Years: 1893-1993.)


When the Marquette elevator was torn down in 2003, rumours were that Meadows would be next, though a representative from Paterson Grain told the Stonewall Argus that there were no such plans at the time.

On June 28, 2017, a permit was signed off on for the demolition of the building structure.

For more images of the Meadows elevator.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Selkirk Treaty Celebrates 200 Years

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/7931398798/
Treaty document. Click on image for source.


Next week marks the bicentenary of the Selkirk Treaty, the first signed between First Nations and settlers in what would become Western Canada. There are numerous events taking place in the province, including Selkirk, Winnipeg, Peguis First Nation and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, to commemorate the anniversary.

Peguis and Lord Selkirk

In the short time since Selkirk’s settlers first arrived in 1812, Peguis had proved himself invaluable in preventing the destruction of the settlement through his skills as a peacemaker and diplomat.

The Selkirk Treaty, as it has come to be known, on July 18, 1817 at the HBC post Fort Douglas, located on what today is Waterfront Drive in Winnipeg, was meant to seal that alliance and friendship that had built up between the two peoples. The signatories were Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk and five Cree and Salteaux chiefs of the region, including Peguis.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/manitobamaps/2182564833
Treaty map. Click on image for source.

The document set out a very specific tract of land that the settlers could occupy in exchange for an annual payment of tobacco, (though that annual payment that never did take place.) The two groups successfully lived and worked together at a settlement at St. Peters until 1907 when those of First nations heritage were removed to nearby reservations.

The word "treaty" has taken on a negative connotation in recent decades, thanks to the "numbered treaties" offered by the Dominion Government starting 54 years later that forcibly relocated First Nations people from much of their land. The Selkirk Treaty, however, is still looked upon by many settler and First Nations organizations as what should have been the model for how the two peoples moved forward together.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Summer 2017 West End Walking Tours !



Join me Thursday evenings throughout July and August for historic walking tours of the West End !

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Former Safeway at 893 Portage gets a makeover

 Top: Before and during renovations.
Bottom: Canadian Safeway store ca. 1929.

The tanning spa outlet at 893 Portage Avenue is getting a makeover. After stripping away the faux log cabin motif, workers have revealed a remarkably intact original 1929 Safeway facade.

One of the unique features uncovered is the horizontal bank of windows that runs beneath the sign. Most of the remaining former Safeway buildings of that era, (go here and scroll down to see other examples), appear to have had them removed.

You can even see the screw holes from the hardware that held the original awning in place.

November 1, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

U.S. grocery giant Safeway came to Canada in 1929 and set up its head office in Winnipeg. Unlike local grocery chains of the time, Safeway used a "cookie cutter" method of retailing.

It custom-built its stores so that they were identical in appearance both inside and out. A customer could go to any part of the city and instantly recognize a Safeway by its design and, once inside, could find the same products in the same places.

The "Portage near Arlington" location opened on November 2, 1929 and was the eight store in its chain. By the end of the year, the chain boasted 16 stores.


In the early 1950s the Safeway relocated to a much bigger custom-built store two doors down,  what is presently the Food Fare, and 893 Portage began a long run as a drug store.

From 1954 until the mid-1970s it was Storr's Drug Store under owner William W. Storr.  Through the 1980s it was known as MediMart Drugs and through the 1990 to early aughties was Vimy Park Pharmacy.

After a brief stint sitting vacant it became a tanning salon in mid-2007.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Endre J. Cleven of Winnipeg

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look back at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.


Endre Johanssen Cleven was born in 1874 in Skudenes, Norway. At age 17, he settled at Inwood, Iowa, then New York City where he studied music. In 1903, after a return trip home, he resettled in Winnipeg where he became a key figure in the city's Norwegian-Canadian community and played in the Walker Theatre orchestra.

In 1912, he was employed by the Dominion Immigration Office. According to an article in an Iowa based Norwegian-language newspaper published after his death, he was "in charge of Canada's Scandinavian settlement program."  (You can read the translated article here. Note that the middle name is not the same as on his military records and in Winnipeg media articles, but it is the same person.)

As for his home life, in 1904 he married Margit (Margaret) Hoines on June 9, 1904 in Winnipeg. She, too, was from Skudenes and arrived in Winnipeg in 1903, so it is likely that she came back with him after his visit home. They raised their five children, Euare (1906), Harald (1910), Olf (1912), Odvar (1916) and Lillian (?). It appears that an infant daughter died in 1907.


When World War I was declared, Cleven was already a lieutenant in the 90th Regiment - Royal Winnipeg Rifles militia. He also had previous war experience, noting on his Officers' Declaration Papers that he had spent four years with the U.S. Army during the Spanish American War and a tour in the Philippines.

Given his connections in the Scandinavian Community and his rank in the 90th, During World War I, commanding officer Lt. Col A. G. Fonseca appointed Cleven as quartermaster of the newly-created 197th Overseas Battalion, nicknamed the Vikings of Canada.

July 14, 1916, Winnipeg Tribune

On July 3, 1916, Cleven and Fonseca, the commanding officer of the 197th Battalion, were to visit Camp Hughes where their men were being sent for training exercises. They first stopped at the Cleven household at 412 Toronto Street to have some lunch before embarking in a Lozier 4 car.

At about 4:00 pm they were three miles east of high Bluff, Manitoba, near Portage la Prairie, when the driver swerved to avoid a pothole. The car touched the shoulder and rolled into the ditch. Cleven was thrown from the vehicle and killed. (Fonseca spent weeks in hospital recovering and the driver had minor injuries.)
Cleven, who would never meet his youngest child, is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

Also See:
Farewell to 412 Toronto Street West End Dumplings
Military File Library and Archives Canada
Canadian Virtual War Memorial

I'm Speaking at the Heritage Winnipeg AGM!


Look what I’ve gotten myself into now!

I’m going to be the keynote speaker at the Heritage Winnipeg AGM on June 28th at the Millennium Centre. If you want to hear me jabber on for 20 or 30 minutes about heritage issues that are important to me, (who knows, I might be mildly controversial,) come on down!

It is an AGM, so you do have to be a member of Heritage Winnipeg to come. If you’ve thought about joining or were once a member and let it lapse, fees are $15 for seniors/students, $20 for individuals and $30 for families. (More info on membership and how to pay is here: http://www.heritagewinnipeg.com/store/)

You’ll be helping out the work that Heritage Winnipeg does, such as Doors Open, the Streetcar 356 Restoration Project, Heritage Preservation Awards and other good stuff. You’ll also get their newsletter, so you will know what’s happening in the world of local built heritage often before it hits the newspapers.