Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Thomas C. Dunwoody 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 at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

July 17, 1917, Winnipeg Tribune

Lance Corporal Thomas Cosbie Dunwoody was born in Northern Ireland in 1894, one of three sons of Alexander and Annie Dunwoody.  The family came to Winnipeg in 1911, first settling at 322 Kennedy, then on to 3 Lenore Street. Alexander became a long-time accountant with the city's power and light department, eventually Winnipeg Hydro.

March 30, 1930, Winnipeg Tribune

Thomas immediately got a job with Shipman Electric but on his first job, the construction of Kelvin High School, he fell. After just two weeks in Winnipeg he found himself in hospital recovering from two broken wrists and an injured leg. 

His next job had less perils. He was an office clerk at the real estate firm of C. H. Enderton and Co. The company was founded in the early 1890s by Charles Henry Enderton and was an early developer of retail buildings along Portage Avenue after Eaton's announced it was building a department store there. In 1912 they began selling property in their new subdivision called Crescentwood.

Circumstances of Death Register Library and Archives Canada

Dunwoody, who was single, went overseas in 1916 as part of the Canadian Army Medical Corps but at the front was transferred to the 43rd Cameron Highlanders. He was wounded in June 1916 but was back at the front after a few weeks in hospital.

In the fall of 1916 he was in charge of a platoon at Regina Trench and ordered to infiltrate a German position. He went missing during that mission and was never found. In July 1917 he was declared officially dead on October 8, 1916. He was 22 years old.

Dunwoody's remains were later found and buried in the Regina Trench Cemetery at Somme, France.

James Dunwoody, ca. 1918

Thomas' brothers also fought in the war. 

James Moore Dunwoody served as a trooper with Fort Garry Horse and was wounded twice, both times requiring months in hospital recovering. He survived and remained in the military after the war, rising to the rank of colonel. He commanded the mounted troops that the government called in to quash the Winnipeg General Strike, and in 1921 created accounting firm Dunwoody and Company, a forerunner to BDO Canada.

The other brother, Harold Dunwoody, was serving with the Canadian Engineers when he was injured. The interview with James Dunwoody linked to below indicates that he was buried alive and suffered from shell shock for the rest of his life.

This message board entry notes that he married a war bride, Rosina Davis, and they had three children. His brief 1966 obituary states that Harold worked for the post office for thirteen years starting in 1927 and retired 1941. As he died at the age of 69, that meant he retired in his mid 40s perhaps an indication of his war injuries.

Canadian Great War Project entry
Attestation Papers Library and Archives Canada
Canadian Virtual War Memorial Veterans Affairs Canada
Circumstances of Death Register Library and Archives Canada
Dies leading Men Against Hun Army Winnipeg Tribune, July 7, 1917
An interview with James Dunwoody Manitoba Historical Society

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Radio Edition for May 25, 2015 - Podcast

Check out the podcast for this edition of West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition on 101.5 UMFM.

Carnegie Library / City of Winnipeg Archives

The U of W's Kevin Walby joins us to talk about his appeal to support renovations to the City of Winnipeg Archives building/ former Carnegie Library on William Avenue. The building has been closed since a summer 2013 storm leaving the archives in limbo.


We'll also talk to Cindy Tugwell of Heritage Winnipeg about Doors Open Winnipeg which takes place next weekend. There are dozens of buildings and a few special events on tap !

Music by Oh My Darling and LaShun Pace and Sophie Tucker. (Be sure to check out The Outrageous Sophie Tucker at the Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival, May 26 - June 6 in Winnipeg !)

Preview of today's Free Press Column: Fallen Airmen

My column in today's Winnipeg Free Press started on a Jane's Walk of Elmwood cemetery earlier this month.

While strolling around, I noticed this headstone for two men buried together. It reads: “In memory of George O Mackie, aged 22 years (pilot) and Leonard Blackwell, aged 19 years (engineer) who lost their lives in Lake Winnipeg while on a rescue flight, August 17, 1934. Greater love hath no man than this.” It includes the logo of their employer, North West Aero and Marine.

My curiosity got the best of me and I knew I simply had to find out what the back story was. 

These are some additional links and photos that could not be included in the article, including more details about the de Havilland DH.60X Moth.

July 10, 1931, Winnipeg Tribune

August 27, 1934, Winnipeg Free Press

Remembering Stevenson Field (video)

Forestry Plane
Bush pilot in action

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Instead of Terry Fox Day, why not recognize hundreds of Manitobans?

The Manitoba Government is introducing legislation to change the name of the Civic Holiday to Terry Fox Day. (Interesting side note: it appears that it was Winnipeg's first mayor, Frank Cornish, who introduced the Civic Holiday in Winnipeg in 1874 and other cities adopted it. I still need to fully fact check this - stay tuned !)

This post is in now way meant to slag the memory of Terry Fox, but before the only two holidays we have a lot of latitude to rename get named for people (in perpetuity), let's consider New Brunswick's Heritage Day.

Heritage Day is what New Brunswick named their third Monday in February holiday, what we call Louis Riel Day. That Monday happens to be known as Heritage Day nationally, though it is not a national holiday. That is why, for instance, Heritage Canada, Heritage Winnipeg and other history-related groups and museums already did special events that day.

What Nova Scotia did with their Heritage Day is something unique. Each year, the day honours a different historic figure !

For instance,  2015, their first Heritage Day, was in honour of African Nova Scotian Viola Desmond who was arrested when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946. They then rolled out the names of the next six people to be honoured.

What a great way to honour the memory and explore the achievements of not only icons like Terry Fox, but unsung heroes who built our province and are a forgotten footnote in a history book, if they were mentioned at all.

Every community has them. They are from every walk of life, every occupation, every race, religion and colour. You could even do them in groups, (for instance, the centenary of the Winnipeg Falcons winning the first gold medal in men's Olympic hockey is in 2020.)

Of course the sucky thing about doing this in August versus February is that schools are out and you might find key people at museums and archives on holidays. Still, for a city and province that is already pretty meh about celebrating history, we have a chance to celebrate hundreds of Manitobans over the next century if we do this right.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Sunday's building losses: 175 Donald and 543 Bannatyne

Sunday was a bad day for100+ year old residential buildings in Winnipeg's core.

543 - 545 Bannatyne Avenue

Bottom: 1918 ad, Winnipeg Tribune

Fire appears to have completely destroyed the apartment buildings at 543 - 545 Bannatyne. They were empty, undergoing renovation so no tenants were affected.

This was a pair of adjoined buildings constructed a year apart as investment properties around 1910. The building on the west was built first, ca. 1909. It was known as Shipley Court, 545 Bannatyne, by architect V. W. Horwood. To the east is the ca. 1910 Bannatyne Apartments, 543 Bannatyne,  G.W. Northwood, architect.

Over time the Shipley name appears to have been dropped and both apartments were referred to as Bannatyne Apartments.

As a number of people have pointed out, this is the same apartment block used on the cover of The Guess Who album So Long, Bannatyne. So long, indeed.

175 Donald Street

Lonely House
Lonely House 3 - Donald Street
Around Downtown

On a completely different scale, one of the last remnants of central downtown's residential past has been demolished. I've always meant to do a full history of this house knowing that one day I would drive by and it would be gone. A bit too late for that now ! Here, though, are a few notes about its past.

ad ca. 1904

It is pre-1900 and has had many incarnations. Early on, it housed a couple of lodgers at a time, one of them being physician Correl C. Field who lived and practised from there until 1904.

When he moved out in 1905, the Family of John E Holland moved in. He was a manager at J C Wilson Ltd, a Montreal-based paper company that just opened a branch in the city. His son, also John, was a bank clerk. They stayed there for over 20 years.

June 18, 1934, Winnipeg Tribune

In the late 1920s and 30s it went back to being a duplex. Tragedy struck one of the families living there, the Dorans, in 1934 when their 11-year old son drowned in the Red River near the Norwood Bridge while swimming with friends.

After the war, the residential fortunes of the downtown began to change as new suburbs were developed. In 1948 this house started a new chapters a commercial building, home to W. J. Schadek Realty who rented out the upstairs suite, usually to pensioners. That firm stayed until 1960.

Lonely House .. gone
Lonely House .. gone

It then became home to R and H Realty. Around 1964 they were joined by Canadian Chamois Co., who appeared to not to sell the product form this site but, for a time anyway, manufactured them there.

the R and H / Canadian Chamois were the last tenants as the sign above the door at the time of demolition attests. The last mention of the address in the Free Press comes in 1981, a classified ad seeking part time bookkeeping help. It did not specify what company placed it.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Winnipeg's oldest home furnace !

October 31, 1936, Winnipeg Tribune

A local company, The Furnace Experts, recently held a contest to find Winnipeg's oldest working furnace. The prize? A brand new furnace system !

This Global News story covers the winner. A Luxton Avenue homeowner who had a 79-year old beast taking up most of her basement, still churning out heat until this past winter.

Western Foundry Co, Wingham Ontario, ca. 1907 (source)

The photos indicate that it was an Acme brand furnace. Acme was a line made by the Western Foundry Co. of Wingham, Ontario. The company formed in 1902 and a few years later signed an exclusivity agreement for its stoves and furnaces with with Eaton's that lasted through the 1950s. (Read more about Western Foundry here.)

As you can see form the above ad from the year the Luxton Avenue home got its furnace, the purchase price was around $100, making it excellent value for the money ! Eaton's also offered a financing plan in 1936 because, after all, it was the tail end of the Depression and not many working class homes would have had $100 in savings built up.

The company has moved on to another contest: the oldest air conditioning unit in Manitoba !

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

My take on the Alberta NDP win, for what it's worth

Back when I started blogging, I used to dabble in political commentary so here's a throwback. My take on the NDP win in Alberta, for anyone who cares what my opinion is is that it is interesting, a bit surprising, but I wouldn’t use words like "shocking".

Over the past couple of decades Alberta’s population has swelled due to two reasons: international immigration, where having a leftish or labour governments is not foreign to them; or migration from other provinces, most of which have had NDP governments in recent memory. For either group an “NDP (or like) government” is not some strange anomaly. In fact, having a single party ruling for 40-something years and expected to rule for 40 more would only be familiar to those from places like China or the Eastern Block.

Off the top of my head, I can think of four or five friends who went out there as young 20-somethings to make gobs of money and party good portions of it away on the weekends. They had a ball. Now, those people are older, most are homeowners, some have kids. I’m guessing if you asked them to rank their priorities, “make gobs of money” and “great parties” probably don’t rank number one and two on their life lists anymore.

There are tens, surely, hundreds of thousands of people like them in Alberta and they simply supplanted what the rest of the country thinks of as the stereotypical Albertan.

Thanks to U.S. election coverage and U.S.-style campaign tactics and hate ads here, its been ingrained that there are huge differences between the parties. But I am guessing in Alberta, just as here, the differences aren’t as great as the bogeyman makes them out to be.

I am sure if you took three middle years from Filmon’s tenure, a couple of years from Carstairs’ Liberals and three middle years from Doer’s tenure and put them side by side, erasing any part names, you wouldn’t see many remarkable differences, just variations on a theme. That's the reality of politics - you can't just unleash your party's policy convention resolutions on a province. Alberta will survive this.

Some trivia: if you think Selinger’s 1% PST increase got people going, it was the TORIES that brought in the PST in the first place in the 1960s – from nothing to 5%! The last balanced budget the province had was under the Liberals. Duff Roblin had unprecedented spending levels during his reign - I would imagine record setting. He spent hundreds of millions, probably tens of billions if converted for inflation to today’s dollars, to construct university buildings, hospitals and the Red River Floodway.

Yet, if you asked people what the provincial parties traditionally stand for, they'd run off a list of what they THINK the parties stand for, not reality.

Good luck to the NDP in Alberta, they'll need it. Going from the wilderness to governing overnight is a huge leap and not all parties make the adjustment well. they'll also find out why its important to choose candidates wisely, even in seats that you think you would never, ever win !