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Recent History News Items from 2018

News and Events December 2018

Heritage Resource Management Plan 2019-21. It’s that time of year again – the month of reckoning when we outline for our Councils what the committee has done for the past year and what we expect to accomplish in the year to come—with their financial support.

This year is special—it marks the end of our 2016–18 Heritage Resource Management Plan (HRMP) with a look ahead to the next three years. Two years from now, our Province will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. When John A. Macdonald’s government purchased the Hudson's Bay Company territory that became Manitoba, the sale unleashed a wave of westward migration that dramatically changed the socio-economic structure of the province. One of our objectives for 2020 is to gain a better understanding of the impact of these rapid changes in local population density, ethnic and religious make-up, patterns of land ownership and land use.

Breaking prairie sod
Click on the image for a larger view

We have two projects currently under way to ensure that early accounts of the transition are identified, preserved and made part of our efforts towards promotion of local heritage. Volunteer groups in each of the small communities that grew up across the municipalities are searching out local heritage resources, drawing up inventories to document their location, and where feasible, copying or otherwise preserving original sources.

The initial inventory from the Roseisle is now on this website (see Roseisle). Homewood documented much of their local history for their 2018 reunion. We’ll alert you to others as they go up over the next couple of years.

Carman/Dufferin MHAC also is collecting information and memories from owners and families of early homesteads and family farms in the area. These stories of why early settlers came to the area, how they arrived, what the country was like and how it developed over the years are fast becoming lost to memory. Few local residents still remember their homesteading grandparents or have documented their experiences.

Both of these projects focus strongly towards post-1870s settlers’ perspective on local history. An exception is the St. Daniel area where both written histories and the monuments such as the Îles-de-Bois cairn are reminders that local history didn’t begin with the arrival of predominantly Anglo-Protestant homesteaders. Elsewhere, awareness of our rich pre-1870 history is emerging through Carman/Dufferin MHAC’s project to replace the Missouri Trail sign. This project is due for completion by 2020.

For further information on our committee’s work over the past three years and our plans for 2019-21, see the full Heritage Resource Management Plan.

News and Events November 2018

Remembrance Day 2018. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. In addition to the annual Remembrance Day services in which we honour those who lost their lives in the war, the centenary is being commemorated worldwide with special ‘Bells for Peace” services and other events.

At Roseisle, children representing the many ethnic groups who make up the community lined up at dusk to take part in ringing the ‘bell for peace’ under the guidance of ceremony
co-ordinator Diane Gillingham and husband Grant.

Lest we forget                        Carman Legion #18 laying wreath at cenotaph 

This year, the Royal Canadian Legion encouraged school children to learn more about the WWI veterans who are buried in our local cemeteries. These are the young men who made it back to Canada – and lived the rest of their lives with memories of the war. They didn’t talk about their experiences, one reason the camaraderie and support of the local Legion was so important to them.

Nursing Sisters. One aspect of military service that is often overlooked is the service of Nursing Sisters with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Anna and Grace Bruce were two local sisters who served with distinction in WWI. Their parents were early settlers in the Stephenfield district. The sisters both trained in Vancouver General Hospital. Anna received the prestigious Royal Red Cross for bravery while serving in Greece. She also was awarded the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1920. Grace served in England and France; among the patients she nursed was John McCrae, author of ‘In Flanders Fields’.

Their brother George also was a decorated WWI soldier. Read more about the family in “The History of the R.M. of Dufferin 1880–1980, p.358. The photograph of the three siblings is of interest—the caption notes that Anna and Grace could not pose in their uniforms because they were lieutenants and outranked their military brother.

Anna, George & Grace Bruce WWI

Agnes Wrightman Wilkie, a WWII Nursing Sister with local connections, has been in the news this Remembrance Day. Agnes’ grandparents homesteaded on SW 6-7-7w near Roseisle in 1887. Agnes graduated from high school in Carman then completed her Nursing program with distinction at Misericordia General Hospital.

She joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a Nursing Sister. She died when the S.S. Caribou on which she was returning to duty in St. John’s, Newfoundland after visiting her parents in Carman was struck by an enemy torpedo in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Agnes was the only Nursing Sister killed by enemy action in WWII. She was buried with full military honours.

Read more about her bravery and compassion and the many ways in which she has been honoured in Newfoundland, Carman and at Misericordia Hospital in a Facebook article by Dr. Barbara Paterson, chair of the MGH heritage collection.

News and Events October 2018

Leary Brick Works. The Leary Brick Works is the last semi-intact remnant of some 200 brick plants that once operated in Manitoba. Based on extensive research, architectural historian David Butterfield completed a study of the Leary brick plant in 2018.

The full report is here.

Please note: the remaining structures at the brick plant are unsafe and public entry to the site is prohibited.

“Special Places” signs.
The third phase of a larger “Special Places” project has just been completed. In 2015, we received support through the Heritage Grant Program to work with consultant Lorne Thompson on an inventory of over 150 significant heritage sites in Carman/Dufferin. The Historic Resources Branch (HRB) then applied set criteria to the information collected and identified a short-list of sites that warranted special recognition.

Nine of the sites already have Designated Municipal Heritage Site status; the remaining 21 structures were awarded certificates. In this latest phase of the program, we designed and distributed signs to further acknowledge the historic and architectural significance of the ‘certificate’ sites.

Marg & Dale Warkentin display their sign

To add to the interpretive and promotional value of the project, we also designed two new heritage tour brochures, one for the R.M. of Dufferin, the other, a revised tour of the Town of Carman. When these brochures are printed in 2019, free copies will be available at the Memorial Hall, Museum, and at several businesses around town.


News and Events August 2018

Homewood Reunion. A year and a half of hard work by the Organizing Committee more than paid off July 15th when around 300 residents of Homewood from past and present turned up for the reunion. They gathered to pay tribute to former Homewood School #1456 and to honour the Froebe brothers who are credited with having made the first helicopter flight in Canada. Two cairns were unveiled to mark these significant reminders of local history.

To see a larger view of the cairns, click on the images.

The Reunion Committee had a full program planned for the day. Official events included greetings from Reeve George Gray and MLA Blaine Pederson, a brief history of helicopter flight by Jim Bell of the Canadian Aviation Society and stories of Homewood’s past by MC Charlie Froese and Co-Chair Stuart Breckon.

A highlight of the afternoon was a surprise visit by the Stars Air Ambulance crew who paid tribute to the Froese achievement by landing where the first helicopter flight took place back in 1938. Volunteers put together displays of past memorabilia, vintage machinery, video interviews and an informative walking tour of Homewood. At the dinner that evening, former teacher Gwen Last gave an entertaining account of her days teaching at Homewood School.

Early Threshing machines

Stars Helicopter Ambulance Crew

Small sample of displays

And those were just the organized events. The highlight of any reunion is sharing memories with old friends and neighbours and, in this case, with former classmates from Homewood School. Many of these tales will resonate with anyone who grew up in a small Manitoba community and attended a one-room school—snow forts in winter, hide-outs in the lilac bushes, the smell of wet wool garments in the cloak room in winter, playing hide-and-seek, prisoners’ base, or softball at recess, school picnics, Christmas concerts, pranks that might just warrant getting ‘The Strap’ — more stories than tadpoles in a spring pond. Then there are memories of small-town prairie life— the elevators, country stores, curling rink, spring floods, catching gophers.

Homewood residents also have some strange and unique stories to tell about the local sugar beet industry, such as their memories of Japanese-Canadian internment families sent to work on the sugar beet farms and of later post-war migrants to the area. There are tales of resourceful farmers who built their own farm machinery, of teenagers literally ‘riding the rails’ and of kids just being kids.

Special credit goes to Merle (Cutting) Kluczkowski who collected these stories for the printed history book Homewood Reunion 2018. This rich collection underlines what many of us already knew—that growing up as a ‘free-range’ kid in a close-knit community and attending a one-room school can be a great way to start your life.

Part of the crowd at the Homewood Reunion

Collection and preservation of local heritage are among C/D MHAC’s priorities. Thanks to the history book, Homewood has a fine record of their past. Well done everyone. You did your hometown proud.

News and Events July 2018

Local Heritage Resource Inventories. Over the past half century, the thriving small communities that once dotted the RM of Dufferin have been on the decline. As schools, churches, businesses and local organizations close their doors, many local records are being lost. The Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee is organizing committees in these areas to complete inventories of local heritage resources and, where possible, ensure they are preserved.

As well as buildings and monuments, resource lists include written material such as minute books of local organizations, local histories, collections of newspaper articles, obituaries and cemetery records, along with interviews, photograph collections and more. Many of the resources are available to the public, either digitally or through museums and libraries; others are in private collections.

Our lists of heritage resources and their locations are designed to guide readers through the maze of available information to sources relevant to communities that have been a vital part of our local heritage.

The Roseisle community inventory is now online and can be accessed here. We’ll alert you to other inventories as they become available over the next few months.

Burial Locations. How do you know if someone is buried in a local cemetery? Even if you are on site, finding a grave can be a challenge. Many are unmarked; on others, time has obscured names and dates. As one of our projects, the Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee will be working over the next several months on making the names and location of Carman/Dufferin burials available through our website.

The first list is now online for Roseisle Cemetery. It can be accessed here. Burials are listed alphabetically by surname. We will alert readers to lists for other cemeteries as they become available.

News and Events May 2018

Stan Reitsma with his certificate
for 110-2nd Street SW, Carman

Heritage Certificates. In an earlier ‘News & Events’ (Recent History, February 2018) we told you about a project in which the Carman-Dufferin MHAC and the Historic Resources Branch (HRB) prepared an inventory of heritage sites in the Town of Carman and the RM of Dufferin. As part of the project, HRB consultants prepared a short-list of 21 sites warranting special recognition.

The HRB also designed, printed and framed certificates which have now been distributed to building owners. As promised, a list of these sites is now available on our website at Heritage Certificate Sites.

Museum Events. Trish Aubin, President of the Dufferin Historical society, was recipient this past month of the Individual Award of Distinction from Central Manitoba Tourism. The award recognized Trish’s outstanding leadership in promoting local heritage and attracting visitors to the Museum. Congratulations, Trish, on a well-deserved award.

The Dufferin Historical Museum held its Spring Tea Saturday, May 12 to honour veterans on the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

Other Museum events planned for 2018-19:

  • Pioneer Days Saturday June 9th (1 to 4 pm)
  • Paint Night Wednesday October 10th (6:30 to 10 pm, painting at 7pm)
  • Christmas at the Museum Saturday December 1st (5 to 9 pm)
  • Flea Market/Antique Sale Saturday May 25th 2019 (10 am to 4 pm)

Homewood Reunion Update.
The Homewood July 15 reunion is fast approaching. They are still looking for pictures of the railroad station, the Anglican Church and the curling rink.

The Planning Committee just sent out the following update:

Homewood 1950s


Dear friends of Homewood,

It is now only two months until the Homewood Reunion on July 15. Things are progressing well. Many of you have already indicated that you will be attending.

Here are the highlights of the Reunion:

  • 1:00 PM: Registration starts at the big tent to be set up in the old school yard (the Co-op yard)
  • 2:00 PM: Festivities – Free to all:
    • Dedication of “First Helicopter Flight” plaque
    • Dedication of Homewood School plaque
    • Walking tour of Homewood displays and socializing
  • 5:00 PM: Meal and Socializing

Please plan to join us—we’d love to see you. Well over 100 Homewood folks have already signed up for the evening meal. They are coming from California, from Nova Scotia and from many places in-between.

The dedication events are free and open to everyone. There is a charge for the evening meal at the Active Living Center in Carman ($25/person, $7 for under 12). For meal tickets send your cheque to:

Charles Froebe, Reunion Treasurer
P.O. Box 2023, Carman, MB R0G 0J0

Note that due to catering requirements the meal tickets must be purchased in advance so please get your meal tickets purchased.

If you have pictures or historical information that should be on the site, please forward them to my email address  and we shall include them. We are short on pictures of the railroad station; the Anglican Church and the curling rink so please send any that you may have.

The monument for the school will be funded by individual donations. Please consider donating towards the costs. Forward a cheque to “RM of Dufferin” and mail it to:

Charles Froebe, Reunion Treasurer,
P.O. Box 2023, Carman, MB R0G 0J0.

This is a tax-deductible donation. And think about it, if you donate now, you won’t have us chasing you during the reunion!

Plan to get your family history written so that it can be included in the Homewood History, even if your family was there a short time. Send them to:

Merle Kluczkowski
419-21 Clayton Dr., Winnipeg, MB R2M 1G2.
Phone: (204) 299 6059 or

Merle would also like you to send any memories about the school or village events that you would like to share. Jack Neufeld, who taught at Homewood School when Merle was in Grade 1, relates a story about how recess sometimes got extended when he and the students were playing football.

We look forward to seeing you on July 15, 2018! And please let your Homewood friends/relatives know about the reunion.

Homewood Reunion Committee:

Deanna Mutcher: Co-chair. Phone: (204) 745 2719 or email:
Stuart Breckon: Co-chair. Phone (281) 450 1884 or email:

News and Events April 2018

At this time of year, weather seems to dominate our lives and conversations even more than usual. The impact of weather is a constant theme that runs through local histories, life stories and early newspapers. Blizzards, floods and hailstorms are part of most memories of the past as well as accounts of current events.

Another common factor is the effect of lengthing days and sunshine. Spring is that rare time of year between grumbling about the cold and complaining about mosquitoes, when prairie folks come out of hibernation and actually beam at the world.

Here are a few comments on the subject from both our past and present:

St. Patrick’s Day. One time of year when a slice of our local heritage hits the spotlight is March 17th. People without a drop of Irish blood find something green to wear and small towns across the district hold their annual St. Patrick’s Day supper. It’s a welcome gathering with friends and neighbours after winter hibernation and maybe the green reflects a bit of longing for the green grass of Spring.


It is interesting to note that this tasty dinner, served at one of the local events, reflects how different groups and their traditons meld over time into the local scene. Here the traditonal Irish stew is replaced by a pork loin and beans, the cabbage appears as coleslaw, however the potato still holds true to its roots. And of course the punch was dyed green.

More thoughts on Spring. Now, a month after St. Patrick’s Day, there are unimistakable signs of Spring. Deer are back at the salt block, squirrels nipping buds from the awakening trees and tom turkeys on the prowl. Spring is definitely in the air as rural Manitoba turns to thoughts of mud and floods.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to find weather dominating local life in a farming community, just as it is now on everyone’s minds with talk of global warming and climate change.



An Early Settler on Weather.
Among some old family letters was one from an early settler who eloquently expressed the impact of overcast skies and who had her own interesting theories about weather anomalies and forecasting.

“Aunt Kate”, as she was known to everyone in her small community, was loved by all for her sharp wit, entertaining stories and for the Irish brogue that she never lost over a lifetime in this country. She lived to the age of 102, the last few years spent with her daughter in a city apartment where she dearly missed her rural home community. She wrote: “…it is the heavy black clouds that hurt me. All this month it has been so dark we sometimes put the light on.”

At her 100th birthday party, Aunt Kate still holds the rapt
attention of her audience.

Apparently unfazed by recent triumphs of science and technology, she goes on to give her own ideas about the reason for prolonged bad weather: “I wish those lads who went to the moon had stayed home as our weather has been broken at all times since they started climbing up there. What do you think?”

After a bit of family news, she continues on a brighter note: “Oh, my dear, I just looked out the window and we are having a nice day tomorrow. The sky is just pink over your house down to the south-west. We do not want any more rain for at least three weeks or more to give the poor farmers a chance.”

But don’t knock winter. I’ve always maintained that there is something positive to be found in any situation. At times, like this past winter when everyone was grumbling about the frigid temperatures and wind chill that kept them indoors, it took a bit of searching to recognize the obvious. Maybe this was an opportunity to scratch off an item that was high on that ‘Things to do in Retirement’ list made—how many years ago? Somehow, “Sort family letters” never quite made it onto the daily ‘to-do’ agenda.

We’re told that finding the family pack-rat is like a prospector discovering pay dirt. Our mother had lived through the Great Depression and never threw out anything because you “never knew when you might use it”. An initial sorting years ago—e.g., cutting out an obituary rather than saving the entire paper—turned up a few obvious nuggets of information and left three or four boxes of ‘tailings’ to rework at a later date.

The result of finally revisiting this cache was a rewarding and fun-filled trip down memory lane. It also made me think again about how we preserve our own family history or more often, how we don’t get around to preserving it.

1) Why do we put it off? Probably because we don’t really accept our own mortality or that of family members. We don’t do the family life stories because we somehow expect them to be around forever.

2) What should we save? Other than birth, marriage, death documents and the like, what would be useful to family historians a couple of generations from now? What about the hundreds of photos taken over a lifetime? For example, you likely don’t need to save 40 pictures of trees in Northern Alberta—well, maybe one, in case there aren’t any trees left fifty years from now.

3) Is everything labelled? A key question. This is likely the reason those lovely old photos get thrown out—no one has a clue who they are, whether they are family or friends or how they are related. Think of the value of attaching a short description of that artifact you kept and why was it kept, who the letter writer was, to whom they were writing and when.

4) Letters and photos call up vivid memories of people and events. Why not keep your phone or recorder handy and record those stories and memories while you reminisce? And have you made copies of important material?

5) Who gets what? Now that everything is sorted and labelled and remembered, who will be the custodian in years to come? This is often one of the big decisions. With luck and foresight, hopefully you have laid the groundwork by making sure at least one person in the next generation is as keen on family history as you are. You don’t really want to lose all your work sorting, labelling and preserving to have it all chucked out in the next 20 years.

6) A final bit of obvious ‘wisdom’ from someone who is feeling virtuous at having finally started re-working the family ‘pay dirt’—it won’t get done if you don’t start it.
So that’s our mother’s boxes sorted. Blame it on nature or nurture, but we also kept every letter, childhood drawing, school report, programs and the like from our own children and grandchildren. Let’s hope we soon get another long spell of nasty weather.

News and Events March 2018

Homewood Reunion Update. Merle Kluczkowski (nee Cutting) from the Homewood Reunion Committee is hoping to obtain as many family histories and pictures as possible for the Reunion Book they will be publishing for the July 15, 2018 reunion. She is looking for “short little memories or stories of things that happened in the district, or to yourself, [that] would help to make the book come alive for people who are reading it.

Homewood 1950s

Merle explains that “What we are looking for is a short write up about your family with things like when your family lived in the district, how you or your parents were connected to Homewood either through the school, church, curling, co-op, sugar beets, elevators or post office. It would be great if you could share who is in your family and what or where they are now living. Pictures and memories would also be appreciated.”

One of her own memories was of "the ditches swollen with water and kids out in the middle with homemade rafts with boots filled with water." That should bring back memories for a lot of us— that Spring run-off water was sure cold when you fell in!

You can send your history, pictures, memories to Merle by e-mail, letter or by giving her a call:

address:        Merle Kluczkowski
                              419 - 21 Clayton Drive
                              WINNIPEG, Manitoba  R2M 1G2
phone:         204-299-6059

Merle notes that: “You will not receive an immediate response from me from mid-April to about the second week of May. If you could get your information to me prior to that time it would be very helpful. I would like all information to me by the beginning of June.”

The books will be available at the reunion. CDMHAC looks forward to helping preserve this valuable heritage material and making it available later online as part of our ‘living history book’.

C/D MHAC Projects.
CDMHAC’s goal for 2018 is to complete our outstanding projects before taking on anything new. As the old saying goes: We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.

This winter’s bitterly cold weather hasn’t been conducive to holding meetings or doing outside work, but it has given us a chance to hunker down in our warm homes and catch up on background reading and online research. Two productive sources were the early digitalized newspapers and a local family history.

Old Newspapers.
So what was happening locally around this time of year a century or more ago? Back in 1899, news of the dedication of the new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Carman dominated the front page of the Dufferin Leader (Feb. 23, 1899). A week later (Mar. 2, 1899) the paper carried an attractive little sketch of the new church—an impressive structure that still stands strong today. It’s now a Bed & Breakfast and it’s one of the buildings short-listed in our recent heritage inventory.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Then and Now

Other items from the same edition suggest that much of the social life in outlying communities also focused around the local church. “Last Friday evening large sleigh loads of young and old people could be seen wending their way to the residence of Mr. Geo. Alexander, where they held the annual entertainment of Rosebank church. The house was well filled and a very enjoyable time spent in games, songs, etc., and in partaking of a liberal supply of good things. $8.40 was realized from the social.”

In the western part of the district, “The gospel meetings in Roseisle school house continue with increased interest.” But as folks coped with the unpredictable pre-spring weather, one news correspondent noted that, “The attendance, on Sunday at service, was rather small owing to the cold and stormy weather. You would think that when the preacher could drive 20 miles through the storm people could come one-half of a mile” to church. Seems the impact of February/March weather is one factor that hasn’t changed.

Some area residents were using the snow to good effect. From Ravenswood, north-west of Graysville, came a report that, “Moose and elk hunting is being surreptitiously carried on in the district, the hunters using snow shoes in their unlawful business.” Later in the same report, the correspondent notes that “Believing that a certain gentleman was out hunting on snowshoes, and being a law-abiding people, we thought it our duty to arrest the rascal if possible….So we traced the tracks through the bush, but the direction seemed kind of strange, and under the circumstances we deemed it wiser to return home, which we did. Why? Well, we did not wish our heads broken. The said gentleman was hunting “dear,” but not the kind we thought. As to whether he was successful, we are unable to state.” (Dufferin Leader, Feb. 23, 1899).

As the weather started to improve, one local correspondent cheerfully noted “At last the cold snap has passed and we now have splendid weather. Why, Mr. Editor, even our ideas were frozen.” As the snow started to disappear, farmers were busy moving their grain to local elevators, where they would store it until prices rose. Others were hauling wood down from ‘the distant mountain’ as the Pembina Hills were then known. And a local real estate agent reported “great activity in the sale of farm lands. During the last fortnight he disposed of over a dozen quarter sections of land at good prices.” (Mar. 2, 1899).

Family Histories. Also on the reading list was little gem that turned up in the form of a local family history – Jacob’s Flock 1735–1975 by M. Cummer Kiever.

What’s special about this book is the way in which the authors have gone beyond the usual ‘begat’ genealogy to fleshing out profiles of ancestors and providing a wealth of details and anecdotes portraying early homesteading life. In their words, “To attempt to tell of the lives of our forefathers without describing the life of the times would be like an effort to paint a picture without color and without perspective.” That’s a great reminder of how we should be recording our own life stories.

Jacob’s Flock gives a glimpse into the family’s life from their homesteading days in the forest land at the end of what now is Yonge Street in Toronto through migration to similar conditions in Manitoba, including several small settlement areas in what is now Carman/Dufferin.

In the process, the book highlights the tremendous changes that have occurred in every aspect of Canadian life over the past few two and a half centuries.

Take, for example, health care. At a time when health care concerns center around long waits in the ER and adequacy of Home Care, this history is a reminder that until recent decades, ‘Home Care’ meant pretty basic care in the home, by the family.

In winter, when the ‘grippe’ was epidemic, folks resorted to remedies like “Aunt Ida’s cure for a chest cold” (Jacob’s Flock, p. 270):

That dredges up old memories—of being told about a frail ancestor who wouldn’t have survived a childhood bout of the croup had he not been slathered with copious amounts of warm goose grease. Or, how grandmother might have lost her foot when she burned it with scalding tea, except for a salve she made of goose grease and Balm of Gilead buds (the sticky buds of black poplar). In retrospect, perhaps our grandmother’s ‘watch-dog’ geese—those detested birds that terrorized us youngsters by racing after us across the yard, hissing, their wings spread wide—just perhaps they were good for something other than gracing the New Year’s dinner table. Memories. That’s one reason we all should record our life stories for the generations to come, hopefully without being shy about including all the warts, wrinkles and family anecdotes.

Across generations, the members of ‘Jacob’s Flock’ are said to be motivated by a strong work ethic. Given that our committee is trying to complete a few outstanding heritage projects, anything having to do with motivation is sure to catch our eye. Here’s another bit of tongue-in-cheek ‘wisdom’ from the same family history (p.224), this one on how to deal with a balking horse (for those of you from the post-horse era, that’s one that won’t move):

Not much practical help in our case, but I’ll try not to smile when members refer to motivating their committees as ‘lighting a fire under them.’


News and Events: February 2018

“Special Places” certificates. Over the past couple of years, C/D MHAC has worked with the Historic Resources Branch (HRB) to do an inventory of heritage sites in the Town of Carman and the R.M. of Dufferin. As part of the project, HRB consultants examined each building or structure using specific criteria, such as historical importance, architectural significance and structural integrity, to prepare a short-list of 21 sites warranting special recognition.

The HRB also designed, printed and framed certificates which we will be distributing to building owners during the coming weeks. At that point, the information also will be made available on our website. To give our readers a sneak preview, here is one of the certificates.










We also received a heritage grant this year to follow up on the project by providing outdoor signs to mark the sites. The objective is to identify and encourage preservation of valued heritage sites. Recognition is strictly honorific and places no obligations on owners. More later on this important aspect of C/DMAHAC activities.

Missouri or Hunters’ Trail. A sub-committee under the capable guidance of Debbie Nicolajsen is working on a proposal to reinstall a monument marking the place where the Trail once crossed the Boyne River in the R.M. of Dufferin, about a mile and a half east of the Town of Carman. The original sign was put up in 1961 by the Dufferin Historical Society but later removed by a landowner.

The Trail is of historical interest to all Manitobans because, for centuries, it formed the pathway for buffalo herds, Indigenous tribes, fur traders and buffalo hunters from the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers to what later became the south-western part of the Province and northern U.S.A. From the birth of Manitoba in 1870 until the arrival of the railways 20 to 30 years later, it then became a major route through which settlers poured into the area to claim homestead lands.

Indentation still visible where the Missouri Trail crossed the Boyne River.

The challenge for Debbie and her team is to design a permanent, attractive marker, visible to passersby but not publically accessible because it will be on private property.

As well, they want to tell the fascinating story behind a trail whose last rutted traces across the R.M. are disappearing in the face of cultivation and development.

The committee has some neat ideas which will unfold between now and 2020, when we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Province. A big high-five to our volunteers!

Advice from the Past. I’ve realized over the past while that one part of our heritage we are losing is the old sayings our generation grew up on, those quaint bits of advice and wisdom our parents and grandparents passed along to us.

Some were short-cuts to family memories. Our family lived in a hard-water area and my grandmother prized her rain barrel of soft water for washing hair and other important things in life. She is said to have stood looking out the window at the rain and wistfully saying “Too bad you can’t catch all the rain that comes down.” I’ve found recently, as the volunteer commitments pile up, I am more and more often reminding people: “You can’t catch all the rain that comes down.”

When asked to recall old sayings, my peers chuckle over expressions they grew up on, like:

“Keep frowning and your face will freeze that way.”

“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

“When I was knee-high to a grasshopper…”

A hefty female was said, rather unkindly, to be “built like a brick outhouse.”

Getting older? You were “No spring chicken.”

Question: “How do you feel?” Responses: “Finger and thumb.” or “Fair to middlin’.”
Someone who was really ill had “one foot in the grave” or looked “like death warmed over” and an appliance or machine that broke down was said to have ”given up the ghost.”

A person who had “a bone to pick” or “an axe to grind” was likely looking for an argument. If they were more tolerant of others you might hear: “Everyone to their own taste (said the old maid as she kissed the cow).”

If you were in a big hurry, your parents probably told you to “Hold your horses.”

And one we all grew up on: ”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” - which is maybe a good place to end this month’s News & Events.

Louis Riel Day. If you are looking for some relevant reading for the Feb.19th Louis Riel Day holiday, check out “The Confrontations at Rivière aux Ilets-de-Bois” by Alan B. McCullough, published by the Manitoba Historical Society and available online.

Îlets-de-Bois monument commemorates early Métis presence

McCullough outlines the complexities around purchase of HBC territory by Canada and the resulting interpretations of competing land claims.

Although he focuses on this specific area of Manitoba, McCullough places local events within the broader context of regional, provincial and national politics. Useful background for understanding our local heritage.


Boyne Regional Library
. While you are online, why not update on recent happenings at the Boyne Regional Library. The Library Expansion/Renovation Committee recently unveiled a completely new, scaled-back version of their original two story renovation. They are confident that the new plan meets earlier goals of ensuring accessibility, expanding the children's section, and providing a tech resource centre to help patrons work with new devices and technology.

Of particular interest from a heritage perspective is the intent of organizers to ensure the plan maintains the integrity of the building as a designated heritage site. To achieve this outcome, the architects have worked closely with the Historic Resources Branch.

The new Library plan as seen on Library website. Note new accessible entrance on west side of building.

Homewood School Reunion.
Besides information on the reunion, organizing team members have posted photos of the town, the school, pupils and teachers through the years along with the early history of the district. They also have put out a call for stories of local history and families post-1980s. Keep up the good work!

C/D MHAC happenings.
The bitterly cold weather of the past couple of months has provided a great opportunity for getting immersed in heritage research and planning. And finally, time to browse through more of those old newspapers that C/D MHAC invested in digitizing through the Pembina Manitou Archive.

For decades, the Dufferin Leader was the main source of local and district news. Among the old ads, local happenings, extensive coverage of world events and ‘corny’ jokes are items that remind us of both changing times and in some ways, how things never really change.

Take, for example, changes in transportation. In recent times, local folks followed with interest as the Town made changes to traffic flow and parking. Back in 1900, transportation posed different challenges.

The Dufferin Leader, Sept. 13, 1900 reported that:

If the jail at that time was anything like the small cell built later in the Memorial Hall basement, this was likely a pretty good deterrent.

Just as it does today, politics was a topic that featured l prominently in early newspapers. Editorials, letters to the editor and other random comments left no doubt about party preference.

The Dufferin Leader, Nov. 8, 1900, p.2 noted that “The parrot owned by the genial proprietor of the Starkey House died a few days ago. Art Simpson is of the opinion the bird had heard so much Toryism of late he sickened and the overdose being too strong resulted in his death.” This is one of the milder ‘digs’ that probably helped boost newspaper circulation – at least amongst those of the same political persuasion.

Why not visit the old local papers (Carman Standard and the Dufferin Leader) in the Pembina Manitou Archive. You’ll be amazed at what you locate.

More old sayings.
Since our last update, several people have reminded me of old saying that were popular in earlier days. Some of the origins were pretty obscure so I finally consulted a little book titled “Why Do We Say It?” published by Castle Books, New York - another absorbing cold-weather diversion.

Do you know why we say:

‘He never even turned a hair’ meaning someone remained calm and collected? Supposedly it comes from horse racing, where a horse that ran without sweating and roughing up its coat was said to have ‘never turned a hair’. Seems to me the current expression ‘No sweat!’ is even more to the point.

‘Dead as a doornail’ was used because in the pre-doorbell days, the knob on which the hammer of a door-knocker struck was hit so often in a day, it surely couldn’t have much life left in it. Wouldn’t have guessed that one.

Closer to home, our most faithful reader * pointed out that the expressions ‘lock, stock and barrel’ (i.e., all parts of a gun or ‘everything’) and ‘half-cocked’ (on safety catch, so not properly prepared for action) both had their origin with guns.

* that would be our web manager, who makes sure everything on the website is ‘A1’, ‘above board’ and ‘in apple-pie order’.

Can’t promise there won’t be more of these sayings next update. Do you have any personal favourites?