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Recent History News Items from 2014

November 2014

Congratulations to George Gray, who was elected Reeve of the RM of Dufferin in the October 22nd Municipal elections. George has been a long-time CDMHAC member and one of our staunchest supporters of local heritage. He comes by this interest naturally. George is the great-grandson of the George Gray for whom Graysville was named. He and his wife Noreen live on one of the oldest Century Farms in the municipality where they incorporated the original Gray dwelling into their own home.

Left–Right: Diane Gillingham (Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden), Candace Bergen (MP), Blaine Petersen (MLA) with George Gray (then Deputy Reeve, CDMHAC representative) at the WWI Anniversary service and monument dedication last July 1 in Roseisle.

We are delighted to have Georges Picton (Town of Carman) and Barrie Fraser (RM of Dufferin) back as Council representatives on the CDMHAC. Congratulations to both of them on being returned by acclamation in the recent municipal elections. Sheldon Harder, also elected in Ward 4 by acclamation, will serve as an alternate for the RM of Dufferin and will be a welcome addition to the committee.

Lorne Thompson, consultant for our “Special Places” heritage grant project, toured the district with CDMHAC members in October to get an overview of the heritage resources in Carman/Dufferin. Nice to get to know Lorne better. We are looking forward to working with him in the coming year.

More Support for Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden

Rod McPherson, on behalf of Carman Legion #18, presents a cheque to Marg Neumann, Diane & Grant Gillingham

Carman Legion #18 presented the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden Committee with a cheque for $500 to help fund a monument which was placed in the garden this summer in memory of local soldiers who died in WWI.

The CDMHAC also helped fund the monument and assisted students in researching the lives of the local soldiers who died in the conflict (see Old News from July 2014). On November 11, the students mounted a display of their research and took part in a well-attended Remembrance Day service.

Rod McPherson, Carman Legion #18

July 2014

Overcast skies and morning drizzle failed to dampen spirits or halt the WWI commemorative event July 1 in Roseisle. The community is known for its traditional Canada Day celebration—waffle breakfast, parade, tractor pull, lawn mower races, food, entertainment and spectacular fireworks. This year’s special heritage event added a new dimension to being ‘Canada Proud’.

Roseisle area sent 62 young men to war in 1914–18; eight of them did not return. Local students ages 10 to 15 each selected one of the soldiers to learn about their life and the circumstances of their death on the battlefield. On July 1, the students presented profiles of ‘their’ soldiers and placed name tags on roses they planted in a special section of the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden.

Students at Memorial Rose Garden ceremony

Candace Bergen, MP, Blaine Petersen, MLA, and George Gray, Deputy Reeve, brought official greetings to a large audience that included relatives of the fallen soldiers.

Speaking on behalf of the Carman/Dufferin Councils and Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (CDMHAC), George Gray lauded the project for providing young people of the community with tools to learn about their past and help preserve and promote local heritage. CDMHAC made a financial contribution towards the monument and members of the Committee helped guide the students in their research.

George noted that “Three to four generations after the First World War, there aren’t too any of us left who personally knew veterans of WWI. For most folks, these soldiers have simply become a name and an initial on a plaque. We have to thank our students for reminding that these were real people, the sons of local families. Their loss was mourned by the entire community, many of whom feared they might be next to receive the dreaded casualty notice.”

On behalf of Carman Legion #18, local veteran Rod McPherson dedicated a monument that marks the special area of the garden. He said that “this was the most beautiful thing the community could have done” for our war dead.

See also War Memorials for more information on the monument and profiles of the soldiers.

Visitors check out student displays

Hammond Avenue Home

Robert Martin of Calgary is trying to locate a photo of the home where his grandparents lived in Carman. He wrote: “In 1916, when my Grandfather when to war, the family, Jessie and George Wilson and children, moved to Carman, to an address the Census indicates as 226 Hammond Avenue [street or family number]. Current town maps show the new street and avenue numbers and not their original names…. The family chose Carman because my Grandmother’s family resided there (or in the vicinity). My Grandmother was a Harrison (Jessie Caroline), [sister of] John Harrison… “ The search is on; does anyone have information that would help Robert Martin locate a picture of the house?

Website Feedback: Olive Bowes on Changes in Carman

Olive Bowes, Carman teacher 1928–1969, is seated in the middle, front row. Does anyone know the other people in the group or the occasion of the gathering?


A number of items were forwarded to us by Eileen McIntyre, granddaughter of Dr. A. McGavin, who served the district from 1911 till his untimely death in 1948. With the collection was a letter written by Carman teacher Olive Bowes on July 4, 1969 to former students who were unable to attend her retirement reception in June of that year. Olive Bowes was born at Stephenfield in 1903 and taught in Carman for 41 years. Being a product of the prairies, she talks first about the weather and farming; she then describes some of the changes that occurred in Carman during her teaching years:

We have been having cool weather all spring. Our furnace has been on every day except four since January 1st. Lately we have been having very heavy rains. As a result much of the grain is standing in water. This is very serious as last year the farm crops received too much moisture. Then there was great difficulty in harvesting and later the work and cost of drying grain. Then there was little market for the grain.

As you all know the economy of Carman depends to a large extent upon the farmers. The landscape of Carman has also changed. The island has disappeared. The river now flows almost straight east from the Ryall Hotel to the former MacKenzie property. Highway No. 13 now runs directly north through the town and no longer circles the post office corner. I miss the island as I always thought it added to the beauty of the town. But for business purposes and travelling the new arrangement is much better.

Bridge over the Boyne River to ‘the island’

The Bank of Montreal and the Bank of Commerce have built new attractive banks. The old Bank of Commerce has been moved to the property south of the “Old School”. This year I believe it is to be used as an open area classroom for three grade two classes. But in the future the basement is probably to be made into a banquet room. The first floor is to be used as lodge rooms and the third floor is to contain two suites.

The new Boyne Lodge is located on the west road just east of the railway track or just north of the trestle bridge. It provides a comfortable, happy home for some seventy senior citizens. In the north end is the Legion Lodge, which provides most comfortable living quarters for single older people, or married couples.

Carman’s project for Manitoba’s Centennial Year is a new library, which the committee hopes to have built on a convenient downtown location.

The co-op has built a lovely new store where you can purchase drugs, clothing, hardware, meats and groceries. There is also a co-op lunch-room where meals and lunches are served. The co-op also sells fuel oil, fuel for engines, lumber and custom-made buildings.

There is a laundromat and there are two dry-cleaning establishments.

The water from the Boyne is filtered and purified and so is now used in almost all the homes. Wells have almost all disappeared. Little houses behind big houses are also a thing of the past. No longer do the police call at the school on Nov. 1st and take out a group of students to put up what they knocked down the night before because they have almost all disappeared.

The Carman memorial Hospital is very attractive and provides for forty patients. The hospital is serviced by two local men—Dr. Ken Cunningham and Dr. Clinton North—and a newcomer, Dr. Regehr. The hospital also provides ambulance service.

There are many lovely new homes scattered throughout all parts of the town and whole new streets of houses have been built on the eastern side of the town.The golf course is absolutely beautiful and boasts an attractive club house.

At certain times of the year the Ryall Hotel and the Carman Hotel have rustic beer gardens located on their premises. The Boyne Theatre is not nearly as well patronized as it used to be but perhaps this is due to the varied television programs. Good eating places are prevalent in town. Syl’s Drive-In, Co-op Lunch Counter, Fireside Inn, Ed’s Service Station, Campbell’s Lunch Counter, Ryall Hotel dining room, Rex Café and the York Café all provide nourishing meals. The B.C. Café opposite the post office has disappeared.

Remember the Boyne Theatre and the York Café next door?

Potatoes, carrots, and sugar beets are now produced in very large quantities. Aubin’s nursery produces fruit trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, etc. for an ever-increasing market. Mr. Hunt also has a small nursery. Vanderveen’s and Vandersluis’s have very large greenhouses where bedding plants are grown.

Riding horses are very popular and many young people are the proud owners of beautiful horses which they board on the neighbouring farms.

The collegiate is located on the eastern edge of the town and has ample space for outdoor sports. The elementary school located on the grounds where the old school was now has grades I to VIII located in it. But a large school building program is planned. Many rooms and a new auditorium are to be added to the collegiate and then the grades VII and VIII will be moved to the collegiate. New classrooms are also to be added to the elementary school. When I first taught in Carman, there were only eleven on the staff: now there are almost fifty on staff. Carman no longer has its own school board but the Midland Divisional Board has charge of all the schools in the area. Wingham, Elm Creek, Miami, Roseisle, Graysville, Sperling, Roland and Altamont are all under the Midland Board. Two of my former teachers live in Carman—Miss York and Mrs. Campbell.

The rink is now located in the park. The swimming pool run by the Kinsmen, is also in the park, which forms a beautiful setting for it.

Olive Bowes goes on to describe her June 29th retirement reception which was attended by over 800 guests. She also gives an outline of the program, gifts received and names of out-of-town attendees.

The letter provides a fascinating journey back in time and, even if the weather and the uncertainties of farming remain constant, other changes have continued to re-shape Carman in the forty-five years since Olive Bowes retired. The letter is now in the Dufferin Historical Museum, which also is the source of the above photos.

June 2014

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of WWI. In the Carman/Dufferin area, the Memorial Hall has served as a day-to-day reminder of the “war to end all wars” and of the impact it had on communities far removed from the European battlefront. Erected by local citizens in 1919–20, the building and grounds are well deserving of their Municipal Heritage Site status.

The Legion maintains the Memorial Room in the building; in 1987, they erected a cenotaph on the grounds

Do you remember? Far from being a static tribute to the dead, the Hall has served over the years as the hub of municipal government, housing the offices of the R.M. and Town as well as  other services. Some of you may remember the corner office where you got your first driver’s licence. “Can you drive? Fine, here you are! Good luck.” Or the days when the Hall was an active social centre—with drama productions, talent shows and graduations in the upper level theatre? Or the Saturday night dances in the basement, dancing to waltzes, foxtrots and polkas, with live local music. Women may recall when the Memorial Hall Ladies’ Rest Room was the place where women socialized or waited while husbands located machinery parts or dropped in for a visit at the men-only facilities in town. 

Memorial Hall (June 2014). Veteran’s groups and others have managed to maintain the integrity of the consecrated grounds, the exterior architecture and the Memorial Room. Inside the building, much has changed over the years. At present, the interior of the building is a blend of the old and new. In the front entrance, radiators, a visible reminder of  the traditional heating system, can be seen side by side with the current list of occupants of the Memorial Hall and the most recent addition to health and safety, an AED device.

Front entrance blends old and new          Original window maintains heritage

Council Chamber. See Vintage Photos for a 1925 view of the room and some of the same furniture.

In the basement, beyond the view of the general public, lie areas that remain largely immune to the passing of time such as the elaborate heating/plumbing system and the infamous holding cell or jail.

A glimpse at the depths of the basement including the early jail     


Ironically, the 100th anniversary of WWI also marks the year that plans for renovation of the building have finally come to fruition. With a thoroughness worthy of WWI destruction, the building is being gutted in preparation for complete renovation of the interior. 

Upper floor June 2014, ready for renovation

A disk and hard copies of these and other photos of the Memorial Hall 2014 will be kept in the CDMHAC filing cabinet.   


March 2014

The Old Swimming Hole on the Boyne River

CDMHAC appreciates help from the local community in identifying heritage sites that should be commemorated by cairns, signs or in other significant ways. One of the sites that was brought to our attention was the Old Swimming Hole on the Boyne River.

Margaret Riddell kindly forwarded a copy of an article she wrote for a special Homecoming Edition of The Valley Leader (July 10, 2000, p. 31) in which she reminds us of this intriguing piece of local heritage. Margaret wrote:

Wherever you find a river, you will find swimmers, and the Boyne is no exception. From the time of early settlement, there were many swimming holes along its shady banks.

In the mid-forties, the idea of a 'pool' in the centre of town was conceived. The Carman Swimming Club developed an area on a wide curve in the river just west of the present Riverview Legion Place. It quickly became one of the major recreation centres of the community.

Construction at the Boyne Swimming Hole

Crowds of up to 2000 people showed up to watch annual swim meets. Local people competed in races and relays and diving exhibitions, and young daredevils catapulted into the water from a rope on the great tree overhanging the river. The Carman Band often entertained from a bandstand on the south side of the Boyne.

The Carman Kinsmen managed the day-to-day operation of the pool until 1950, when they took over all the assets of the Swimming Club. The Kinsmen proceeded to enlarge and improve the site, which included tennis courts and horseshoe pits to the north of the river. They moved a building to the west side of the tennis courts to serve as a lunch stand and storeroom. Fine sand had to be hauled in on a yearly basis to maintain the beach area.

Boyne Swimming Hole showing bandstand on left and other amenities

By the late fifties, safety concerns were mounting. The Kinsmen opened a modern pool in Kings Park in 1960, and the recreation area next to the Boyne disappeared beneath a residential development.

All that remains of the once-busy pool is a set of small concrete steps which led down to the diving platform at the river's edge, and the remnants of concrete sidewalks leading to the change houses. Part of the low concrete wall that protected the sand beach area is still visible, but the great tree with the rope swing is long gone.

CDMHAC is looking into the type of signage that might be suitable to mark the location of the swimming hole, considering public access to the area. Note that the above photos are from the fine collection of pictorial images at the Dufferin Historical Museum. See this month’s Vintage Photos for more pictures featuring the Boyne River.


January 2014

Christmas at the Museum

Dufferin Historical Museum again is to be congratulated for another entertaining Christmas at the Museum. Members pitched in to decorate the Museum and plan an evening of fun, including carols by the Sonatrice Singers, a reading by author Lloyd Kitching, a vintage Santa, along with sleigh rides and refreshments.

Sonatrice Singers December 7, 2013 at Christmas at the Museum

100th Anniversary of WWI

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Carman/Dufferin district has two war memorials. The Memorial Hall in Carman is one of our designated heritage sites and the only building in Western Canada designed to commemorate those who fought in the “War to End all Wars”. The second site is the Roseisle War Memorial which records the names of local soldiers who served in WWI and later conflicts. Carman Legion #18 will announce plans shortly for holding commemorative services. In Roseisle, young members of the community are researching the lives and deaths of eight local lads who died in WWI. This summer they will plant roses in the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden in memory of ‘their’ soldiers.

Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden

Dr. A. McGavin

One of the first emails we received in response to our new website was from Eileen McGavin McIntyre, granddaughter of Dr. Andrew McGavin who practiced in Carman from 1911 until his death in 1948 while on call to the scene of an accident.

She also sent a poem her grandfather wrote about curling in Carman. The poem, titled Regarding "Fans" and Skips was written in February, 1936 and voices spectators’ views of the prowess of various skips and their teams. Dr. McGavin explains for the reader that “The "Fans" on the benches have all kinds of advice to give and one would think they knew the game better than anyone else. How often our forays into the past show us that some things never change!

Thanks to Eileen McIntyre for these and other anticipated gems from her collection. We are hoping to compile a booklet of Dr. McGavin’s poems about golfing, the hospital and other aspects of life in Carman. For more information on Dr. McGavin, see Memorable Manitobans: Andrew Edward McGavin (1876-1948).

Dr. McGavin in front of his office 1940.

Our Website Logo

Folks have been asking about our choice of the CDMHAC logo.The logo was designed by web consultant David McInnes, who drew from our website content and feedback from CDMHAC members to design a logo that is meaningful to the site.

David's inspiration came from the wheels in the A.A. Brooke paintings. In this context, they symbolize connections and the role of transportation in shaping and changing our community—from the ox cart that brought the first settlers, to the wagons that carried the grain, the trains that took the products to wider markets and gave people greater access to the world, and the cars and trucks that have changed our patterns of interaction and trade. The wheel also represents progress in our community—and the recognition that as we roll forward into the future, the present becomes the past and we generate new and ever-changing heritage. In our local context, the wheel represents the community as a whole, with Carman as the hub and the RM as the rim, joined by the spokes. Neither works without the other—rather they achieve their strength and function through interdependence.
The colour gold derives from a dominant impression of the area—the golden fields of grain, the golden prairie sun. From a less theoretical perspective, gold also complements the green colour band in the header. Black, the second colour, is the secondary colour that comes up.

Our thanks to David for simply and creatively conveying our heritage and purpose.