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Showing posts from October, 2018

The Old Kildonan Church and Cemetery - "Where the Selkirk Settlers Sleep"

Have you been to Old Kildonan;
Seen the Red, with gentle sweep,
Guard the little, rude God's acre
Where the Selkirk settlers sleep? From "Old Kildonan", by John Mackay, D. D.

The Selkirk settlers, the very first wave of immigrants coming to settle purposely on the banks of the Red River, came from Ireland and Scotland, seeking stability, prosperity, and safety, escaping the  Highland Clearances of the early 19th century. Of course, the legendary volatility of the Red River made that a little harder than what was originally advertised by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk. First the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816 caused the Selkirk Settlers to flee upriver, then the flood of 1826 turned the eventual site of Winnipeg into a small lake, the echo of great Agassiz - stability wasn't exactly the right word to describe the experience.
Nevertheless, they persisted. More settlers had arrived in 1814, from Sutherlandshire in the Highlands - specifically, from the parish of Kildonan…

The Mysterious Independent Order Of Odd Fellows Hall

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall is located at 72 Princess Street in the West Exchange District. This historic building was built in the late 19th century for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal order founded in 1819. The Odd Fellows Hall was given municipal heritage designation on September 8th, 1986. 

Winnipeg, as a growing city in the 1880's, had just received the distinction - and boost - of being the through-point for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the province of Manitoba. More and more people came to settle in Winnipeg, following jobs, family, or adventure, and began to form groups, as people tend to do. Groups ranged from religious, ethnic to fraternal. One such groups was the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with an admittedly interesting name, they had been established in the United States in 1819 as an import from Great Britain. The Odd Fellows had a reputation for being quite different that posh country clubs, considering that many if not most …

The Massey Building: Prairie Prosperity

The Massey Building at 294 William Avenue in the West Exchange District is part of a cadre of buildings in Winnipeg's early commercial sector. The Massey building was given municipal heritage designation on September 12, 1983, and is currently owned by Red River College. 

The Massey building, built for father-son duo Daniel and Hart Massey, was constructed in 1885 on a design by architect George Creeland Browne. Daniel Massey was a farmer who had gotten into farm equipment sales in the 1830s, and his son Hart, an inspired salesman who saw the company grow into the largest exporter and producer of agricultural equipment in Canada. Although another plan had been drawn up a few years earlier by Barber and Barber, the boom of 1881/82 gave way to a depression in spring 1882, and plans were put off. By 1885, economic recovery was well underway. Browne created a stately building in the Market district in Italianate style. The resulting block was done primarily in brick, with the ever-pre…