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Recent History News Items from 2023


Whether you are a visitor to our community, are researching your family roots, need background on an historic building or are just interested in local history, this website is your one-stop source of information on our heritage. 

The site offers you a glimpse of the history of Dufferin Municipality from the pre-settlement era to the post–1870 influx of homesteading families, and from the arrival of the railways to the rise and decline of the small towns and communities along its path.

You will also discover the wealth of historic buildings, cairns, plaques and other heritage resources that our communities have to offer.

Let us know of any omissions or errors. If you have information or photos you'd like to share, please contact us. Check out this site each month for our Special Features, including vintage photos from the area.

Please visit our Acknowledgements page, which recognizes the many people who contributed towards making the website possible, including the backbone of any endeavour—the volunteers who contributed material, researched, edited or proofread content, and gave in so many ways of their time and talents.

News and Events, September, 2023

The making of a project. Our committee had one major project lined up for the summer months – placing a memorial monument at the long-abandoned Kennedy Burial Site.

In the early days of settlement, before the establishment of official cemeteries, people who died from accidents, disease or old age were buried in local burial sites. We identified five of these now-abandoned sites in the Carman/Dufferin municipalities. [link to Cemetery guidebook on website]. The burial ground for which we have the most information is the Kennedy Burial Site.

If everything had gone according to plan, this update would be featuring photos and a description of the unveiling ceremony. But we all know Robert Burns' observation from that "The best laid schemes of Mice and Men/Gang aft agley…" Or as Murphy's Law puts it, "If anything can go wrong, it will." So, instead of documenting an unveiling with photos and the wise words of dignitaries, we're going to look instead at what went on behind the scenes.

Kennedy Burial Site project. In 1875, a typhoid epidemic took the lives of four members of the fledgling Boyne Settlement. They were all related to Samuel Kennedy, the first white settler in the area, and were buried on the Kennedy homestead (29-6-4w) one and a half miles east of the present-day Town of Carman. Over the next few years, at least ten people were buried at the site. In later years, grave markers were removed from the plots and all traces of the burials vanished. How, then, could we locate the graves?

Samuel Kennedy on homestead prior to 1903

[Photo credit:: DHM]
Samuel Kennedy on homestead prior to 1903

An early photo showed the Kennedy homestead, but it provided no further clues to the location of the burial site. Local histories placed it just west of the point where the Missouri Trail crossed the river. Dowsing provided further evidence of burials in this area.

But who was buried there? Thanks to the persistent efforts of an earlier Kennedy descendant, we had a significant amount information about the burial site and its occupants.

Margaret Glanfield's quest. Margaret Viola (Kennedy) Glanfield (1917- 2006) was a descendant of the first Kennedy settlers. She was incensed by the fact that a later landowner had removed gravestones from the site. To add insult to injury, when the Kennedys took the owner to court for perceived desecration of a cemetery, they lost the case. Over the years, Margaret corresponded with local residents and compiled a list of burials, dates and relationships. She also sent the list to the Carman newspaper. When she learned that at least three gravestones had been retrieved rom the riverbank and stored in the Billings monument workshop, Margaret arranged to have these markers placed on the Kennedy plot in Greenwood Cemetery.

Margaret Viola Glanfield Margaret Glanfield Marker
[Photo credit:Trish Glanfield]
[Photo credit: IJB]
Margaret Glanfield née Kennedy Glanfield Plot in Greenwood Cemetery


[Photo credit:: IJB]
Gravestones on Kennedy plot at Greenwood

Recent activities. We were fortunate to have another Kennedy descendant on our committee in the person of Nikki Falk. Her great-great-grandmother, Margaret McCullough, was Samuel Kennedy's sister-in-law. She was said to have been the first person buried at the site. Nikki had already collected copies of the Glandfield materials, as well as these photos from the Kennedy family collection.

Samuel & Jane Kennedy Margaret McCu8llough
Samuel & Jane Kennedy
Margaret McCullough

She enlisted the help of two of her cousins to work on the project. With a determination that would do their ancestors proud, the group took up Margaret Glanfield's earlier quest. Using online sources that hadn't been available in earlier days, they were able to confirm or correct our source material. They also discovered valuable new information. For the first time, for example, we learned more about the background of the Kennedys' neighbours, the Ryer Olsen family. Their child may be the only non-Kennedy buried in the site.

Meanwhile, other committee members met with the landowners to ensure they were fully on board with our plans. Together, we decided on a natural rock memorial, on a gravel base, placed near a maple tree where it would blend in with the landscape. C/D MHAC stalwart, Edwin Pritchard, cleared the area of new growth. The site was ready to receive the rock.

Burial site on the banks of the boyne river

[Photo credit: IJB]
The burial site on the banks of the Boyne River

At this point, a neighbour from the adjoining property had a welcome surprise for us - a piece of one of the early gravestones family members had located years ago on the riverbank. The marker had previously been repaired. Parts of two words can be see. There is no way of telling which grave it was from.

  [Photo credit: IJB]
Piece of gravestone, donated by Vandersluis family

At this point, we confidently set a deadline for unveiling the memorial. It would be done before mid-September so we could include a surprise guest who would be visiting from Ontario. What could go wrong?

The team set off to locate a suitable large rock. After a number of queries, we headed to the escarpment to spend a sunny afternoon examining dozens of rocks in the huge Collet Gravel quarries.

kennedy  burial site rock hunting

[Photo credit: IJB]
Selecting the memorial rock at Collet Gravel site

[Photo credit: IJB:
The 2-ton granite rock the team selected

Having made a selection, the next issue was how to get it to the site? The gravel company generously offered to donate the rock to our committee with just a small loading fee. Nikki arranged for her husband, Bob, to transport the two-ton rock to the site with his truck and trailer. A friend with a forklift was recruited to help unload and place the rock at the site. Everything was clicking into place.

Meanwhile, the team had been busy arranging for the memorial plaque. It would be bronze, in keeping with other C/D MHAC heritage signs, with names and details of everyone known to have been buried at the site. This activity interfaced with ongoing research. We edited, exchanged rounds of emails, edited some more. Our long-time colleagues at Checkers Signs drew up drafts with our editorial changes.

Murphy joins the team. Then, after we had submitted our final draft, someone discovered an error in a date on the plaque, one that four pairs of eyes had missed. Checkers Signs came through like champions with a replica that could be used to ensure we met our deadline for the unveiling ceremony.

Kennedy burial site plaque

The replica plaque - make larger

Then it rained. Given the muddy mess heavy machinery would make at the site, we reluctantly agreed to postpone moving the rock. This was hugely disappointing, since our out-of-province guest would be leaving shortly. Common sense prevailed and the unveiling ceremony was postponed. A week or so later, the move was made successfully and as originally planned.

[Photo credit: N. Falk]
Bob Falk and Vic Baleja watch as Norbert Major lifts the rock

[Photo credit: N. Falk]
Rock in place awaiting the plaque

By now, Murphy's Law was becoming bit of a nuisance. Like most people, we figured this was an ancient bit of wisdom rooted in the depths of the Celtic lore. No wonder the law asserted itself at the place where Irishman Samuel Kennedy, an ardent member of the Orange Lodge, had renamed the local Îlets-de-Bois River after the Battle of the Boyne.

As so often happens, an online check suggested a very different origin. The general concept behind the rule has been around in some form or other for a long time. However, the name "Murphy's Law' and the current statement of the rule are attributed to an aeronautical engineer, United States Air Force Captain Edward A. Murphy, who stated it circa 1950 with regard to devices they were testing. The point he was making was that errors and malfunctions are a reality of any undertaking. To avoid problems, you need to anticipate and plan for all possible mishaps. It was intended as a call to excel rather than a message of hopelessness and gloom. From that perspective, if we had barged ahead to meet our deadline, no matter what, the official unveiling of Kennedy Burial Site project could well have taken place in a field of mud, with an incorrect date on the plaque.

Acknowledgements. The most heart-arming aspect of this review of the project is the fact that it reminds us of the large number of people and organizations who donate hours of their time, along with their expertise and resources, towards making our heritage projects happen. It is with that recognition that C/D MHAC extends a sincere "Thank you" to the following people/businesses whose donations and volunteer assistance helped us make the Kennedy Burial Site project a reality: landowners Vince Southern & Judy Duthie; Collet Gravel, Notre Dame de Lourdes; Checkers Signs, Morden; sub-committee members Linda Baleja & Rhonda Davidson; Bob Falk & Norbert Major; Alice & Gerry Vandersluis; Trish Glanfield and other Kennedy family contributors.

News and Events, August, 2023

C/D MHAC activities. C/D MHAC is focussing this summer on one major project – placing a marker at the site of the abandoned Kennedy Burial Site east of Carman. This is one of four known sites where early, post-1870 settlers were buried before ‘official’ cemeteries were established in the Carman/Dufferin area. 

Kennedy Burial Site. In 1875, four people in the Boyne Settlement died from typhoid fever and were buried on the Samuel Kennedy homestead, close to where the Missouri Trail crossed the river. Between 1875 and 1889, at least ten people were buried at this location. Some thirty years later, a new landowner removed the grave markers from the site. Three of the gravestones were later retrieved and placed on the Kennedy plot in Greenwood Cemetery. The site itself has remained unmarked. 

kennedy burial site

The abandoned Kennedy Burial Site
Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

The names of the people buried at the site might also have been lost were it not for the work of Margaret Glanfield, a descendent of the Kennedy family. Through correspondence with local contacts and letters to the newspaper, she drew attention to the site and provided information about the people buried there. Now, a couple of generations later, three more Kennedy descendants – Nikki Falk (whose great-grandmother and her daughter were the first burials at the site), Linda Baleja and Rhonda Davidson – are working with C/D MHAC to ensure their ancestors and others buried there are not forgotten.

The plan is to install a rock-based monument that will blend in with the natural riverbank landscape. The search for a suitable granite rock took the team on a rock-hunting venture to the west escarpment where rocks and gravel are mined from huge open gravel pits.

kennedy burial site rock picking

Linda Baleja (center) and Nikki Falk (right) search for the perfect rock at the Collet gravel site

Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

The escarpment was once the bank of Lake Agassiz, formed in the post-Ice Age when glaciers melted. They left behind the lake that once covered most of Southern Manitoba along with  huge boulders and gravel deposits that form part of the escarpment. It is a graphic reminder of how little of our heritage is represented in our post-1870 written accounts, compared with oral and natural histories of the area.   

The rock-hunt was a success. The sub-committee also assembled an informative packet of research and located new information about the people buried at the site.  Their names are being permanently recorded on the bronze plaque that will be affixed to the rock to ensure they are remembered by generations to come. Our challenge now is to get the rock on a foundation and the plaque on the rock, all before the planned unveiling this autumn.

More on the escarpment. Rocks and gravel aren’t the only deposits of interest on the escarpment. This past week, news media announced the discovery of an 83-million-year-old mosasaur skeleton on a site just south of the R.M. of Dufferin near Miami, MB [LINK]. The fossil remains, which are 75 percent intact, are a smaller version of “Bruce”, the spectacular, large mosasaur skeleton in the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. 

Life stories from children who grew up on the escarpment also tell how they searched for dinosaur bones in local shale deposits.  Between about 1885 and the 1950s, these same deposits provided the raw material for the local brick-making industry. This is an area of local history that we’ve been trying to research these past years. In 2018, C/D MHAC posted David Butterfield’s comprehensive study of the Leary Brick Works on this website.  It’s unclear whether there was a connection between this site and the Carman brick plants.

Argyle Brick & Block Museum. The grand opening on July 15 of the Argyle Brick and Block Museum revved up new interest in the history of the industry. Through an extensive display of professionally laid out exhibits, the Argyle Museum documents the history of around 200 brick-making plants that once operated in Manitoba.

A glimpse of displays at the Argyle Brick & Block Museum, Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

Leary Brick yard in autumn

Leary Brickyard kiln and chimney.
Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

Unfortunately, information and samples from the Carman area brick works remain sparse. This is an area of local heritage in which we have been trying for years to untangle the written accounts and to obtain bricks with local markings. On a recent visit to Carman, Argyle Museum President & CEO Shayne Campbell went door to door asking owners of brick homes if they had any loose samples of bricks from their dwelling. Those that turned up had no markings. The puzzle continues. The Argyle Museum hopes to access technical equipment at the University of Manitoba to analyze samples and perhaps provide greater insight into the makeup and source of the material.

So, back to our Kennedy Burial Site for a postscript to the story. On a recent visit to the site, we noticed a brick lying on the riverbank. Could it be an elusive Carman brick? Mortar obscured the face, so we took it home, soaked, chipped, and sanded until letters began faintly to appear. – "L" "E" "A"… it was a Leary brick. The search goes on.

Natural History. Any discussion of our natural environment these days will almost always involve some mention of the weather. Our 'natural' history has recently, in fact, been decidedly unnatural. Hot temperatures, severe localized storms, tornado and air quality alerts, and over 1000 wildfires burning across Canada. As a result, a number of scheduled events had to be postponed or cancelled One victim was the Boyne River Keepers' (BRK's) ceremony for naming of the trestle near their original dock on the Boyne River. We'll look forward to having that news for you later this summer – weather permitting.

Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 


News and Events, June, 2023

Condolences.   C/D MHAC members join the rest of the community in mourning the loss of Dennis Smith, husband of our website manager, Marilyn Smith.  Dennis had the distinction of being the longest living kidney transplant recipient, having received the gift of a kidney from his sister 47 years ago. Our sincere condolences to Marilyn and the family.

Heritage doings.  A number of heritage activities are planned for the summer months. 

Our C/D MHAC sub-committee is working towards placing a monument at the former Kennedy Burial Site to commemorate the individuals buried there back in the late 1870s.  Sub-committee Chair Nikki Falk’s great-great-grandmother and other relatives were among the early settlers who died during a typhoid outbreak. They were buried near the Missouri trail on land then owned by Samuel Kennedy, the first settler to take up a post-1870 land grant in the area. A recent meeting with the current landowners was most encouraging and we’re looking forward to seeing exciting results from the sub-committee this summer.

kennedy site markers

Two damaged grave markers retrieved from the Kennedy Burial Site

The Boyne River Keepers (BRK) held a successful Ladies' Night event to help raise funds for the boat dock they plan on building at the central Ryall Park location. The folks at the Museum also have been busy with two major fund-raising events - a garage sale which was held June 3 and a duck race scheduled for July 12. Watch for their posters.

Local artist Chris Larsen will be sharing her insight into Métis culture and heritage in an upcoming exhibition at St. Boniface Museum (the former Grey Nuns residence). The exhibition portrays the resilience of Indigenous women and will be featured as part of their process of reconciliation. The event runs from June 17 until September. Congratulations, Chris.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is recognizing the outstanding achievements of Roseisle artist Ione Thorkelsson's fifty years of magic with glass in retrospective showings and sales of her early work. We are proud to feature Ione Thorkelsson as the latest addition to our gallery of notable people.

Notable people. Over the past few decades, Ione Thorkelsson has been working quietly away in her studio on the edge of the escarpment, making the world a more beautiful place, one piece of glass at a time.

ione thorkelson

Ione Thorkelsson in her studio Photo: Cal Bailey

Ione studied architecture at the University of Manitoba in the late 1950s.  After a few years working in the world of theatre, she became intrigued with glass. Apart from studying the basics of glass work at the Sheridan College School of Design in Ontario, Ione has been largely self-taught.  She established her own private studio in 1973 and the rest, as we like to say, is heritage. 

Starting with smaller glass-blown pieces such as paper-weighs and perfume bottles, Ione  experimented with glowing, translucent colors, transitioning gradually into larger works of blown glass. She then began experimenting with a whole new world of natural forms and moulded glass. She has received due recognition over the years through provincial, national and international displays of her work. Among the more publicly recognized is her display of glass wings at Winnipeg’s International Airport. In 2010, she was awarded the Governor General’s Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Fine Craft.  For images of her creative works of art, browse online or check out websites such as:

Natural History. We’ve had an interesting Spring season this year.  Here’s a look back at a couple of Mother Nature’s special treats. 

Plums are still among the more common wild fruits found in local bushlands.

wild plum blossoms

Wild Plum Blossoms

When temperatures finally started to climb last month, a tell-tale cloud of white suddenly appeared among the newly greening trees. It will be a while yet before the fruits fully form and ripen to tasty, purple-red fullness. If you’re tempted to try them before they are dead-ripe, you’ll never forget their mouth-puckering sourness. We’ll be sure to check out these trees again this autumn.

Did you notice you were doing more coughing and sneezing and feeling more congested than usual this Spring? It could have been a reaction to oak tree pollen.  Our wooden walkway had 

oak tree pollen

Source of oak tree pollen

just been washed down earlier in the week, but, by the weekend, it was covered again by a fine green dust. The recent strong winds had brought with them a heavier than usual dusting of pollen from the oak trees. A-a-ch-o-o!


News and Events, April, 2023

Past, Present, Future. Can knowledge of the Past help us plan for the future? That's the question that has been in our thoughts since we were invited to meet with other local organizations to share insights and perspectives on the future of the community. What mightlocal heritage contribute to the discussion?

The visitor who in the lovely Manitoba summer days, stops at the town of Carman, romantically . . . abound on every hand of our fair town


Heritage is often seen by communities in terms of tourism – museums, heritage sites, the house where so-and-so was born, or statues that are in some way symbolic of the area – think pumpkins, turtles, or in Carman/Dufferin area, the namesake Roseisle Rose.

Roseile Rose


Perhaps, through hindsight, knowledge of local heritage also can identify strengths and limitations of the community and in that way help define our future. 

Early Visions. Back in 1907, shortly after the Carman incorporated as a Town, a local newspaper reporter asked “What does Carman want?” (Carman Dufferin Leader, 1907-01-03).  They then provided their own view of what the town needed. This included development of local industries to provide essential goods such as wire, bricks, shoes, and white-wear, along with employment for everyone at good wages. To achieve this would require a united and aggressive effort by everyone in the community and action, not just words, on the part of local leaders. 

Over a century later, those goals still sound rather familiar. Although the list of essential industries has no doubt changed, the goals remain relatively the same.  Given the recent call for input from the community, it even seems possible that a fresh, new breeze of collaboration might be wafting through the community. 

Notice that the 1907 article focussed on community needs or deficits. Other newspaper reports from that era reminded readers that the community also had special assets on which to build a vibrant future.  

The Natural Environment – Then & Now.  An earlier Carman Dufferin Leader (1898-05-12) waxed eloquent about the community’s natural setting:                      

The visitor who in the lovely Manitoba summer days, stops at the town of Carman, romantically nestling in the encircling windings of the River Boyne and sheltered by its bordering fringe of stately virgin oaks, is heard to remark “Why, what a lovely spot.” For beauty of situation Carman is not excelled by any other town in the province. Sheltered and embowered by a magnificent belt of oak, ash, maple, elm, bass wood and poplar, it is hard for a visitor who hails from a timbered country to realize that this is indeed a prairie town….It should be said for the originators of the town that their appreciation of the beautiful has preserved to us as far as possible the original trees, which gives to many of our streets the appearance of broad avenues, picturesquely lined with tall and stately trees.  Here and there the visitor catches glimpses of beautiful vistas of river and woodland scenery, a worthy inspiration to either artist or writer. This feature has gained for our town a reputation of almost provincial note and it is becoming more widely known as a favorite resort for excursions and picnics. 

Being situated only 57 miles by rail from Winnipeg, each summer finds a great number of Winnipeg citizens leaving their business and cares behind for a day’s outing to breathe the fresh pure air, enjoy the bright cheering sunshine, or promenade beneath the arched and embowered walks that abound on every hand of our fair town. 

A couple of decades later the paper reported that “Miss Margaret Johnston, garden page and horticulture editor of the Manitoba Free Press…regards Carman as the most beautifully treed town she has seen in the province.” (Carman Dufferin Leader, 1926-06-10).

What is missing in these accounts is the reason these magnificent stands of trees formed an oasis in the midst of the open prairie grasslands, i.e., the existence of the river that threaded its way across the Carman/Dufferin area from the escarpment in the west to the Great Swamp in the east.  It was aptly named the Rivière aux Îlets -de-Bois (“islands of wood”), later known as the Boyne River.

Our history of the river stresses its significance as the main source of water and, as such, as the lifeblood of the region. Over the centuries, Indigenous hunter-gatherers, Métis buffalo hunters and early settlers all relied on the river and its surroundings for water, shelter, fuel, and food. The Town of Carman grew up at this specific location largely because of the nearby water-driven Clendenning mill that ground grain and sawed lumber to build homes and businesses. 

During the post-settlement years, the river also became known as a source for recreation.  For many years, Carman’s Old Swimming Hole was the gathering spot for the community. In winter, swimming and boating gave way to skating. 

Over the years, newspapers frequently pointed out the impact of a growing population on the water supply – pollution from using the river as a dumping ground for sewage, farm manure and garbage, as well as ongoing concerns about flooding and the need for dams and bridges. During these years, the community also began to show an interest and pride in beautifying gardens and home properties.  Mayors such as S.J. Staples were noted for their efforts towards encouraging this trend by offering garden prizes, a practice that persists today. 

In recent years, the community has rediscovered and begun to build upon these environmental assets.  Groups such as the Boyne River Keepers (BRK) are leading the way in promoting the recreational potential of the river along with concern for water quality. They also have fostered a growing interest in the natural vegetation and wildlife along what has become the remaining wildlife corridor across the Carman/Dufferin municipalities. in recent years, the local Communities in Bloom (CIB) group has put the community even more firmly on the map with their colourful floral displays and pocket parks.  

Thanks to the Stephenfield Park dam and water plant, the river now provides water for both the Town and R.M. and serves as a well-used recreation centre. As farms expanded and ponds and sloughs were drained, the river also has become a source of irrigation for agriculture and refuge for wildlife. 

These observations carry significance in that they are being recorded on April 22, this year’s Earth Day.

Stephenfield Park

Stephenfield Park

The Economy – Then & Now.  Much of the impetus for local planning comes from a desire or need to develop the economy. Local histories record how the post-1870 arrival of homesteaders in the area resulted in a rapid socio-economic and cultural transition from centuries of hunting/gathering/ trade and buffalo harvesting to a land-owning, agricultural society. The Carman Dufferin Leader, (1898-05-12) pointed out that 

This district is being rapidly filled up by a well-to-do and pushing class of farmers. With such backing as this a stability is assured to the mercantile and trades interests of which none in the province can boast of better.

Arrival of the railway and construction of local elevators meant that “As a market there are few places in Manitoba so favorably situated.” (Carman Dufferin Leader, 1898-05-12). This comment underlines the importance of transportation to the growth and survival of the local economy. 

Until 1889, a spur line came as far as Barnsley (“End-of-Line”) north of the Carman settlement. The plan was to extend the line east of the Carman settlement to connect at Roland with a line from the U.S.A., hence going westward along what is now Highway 23. Thanks to the influence of local land-owner and politician R.P. Roblin and colleagues, the line veered westward near Carman, ensuring the future of the community and opening the way for other Dufferin settlements at Graysville, Stephenfield and Roseisle.

Train att Roseile early 1900s

Train at Roseisle early 1900s Photo: J.B. Coleman

The significance of this coup can be appreciated by contrasting the outcome with Nelsonville, in South Dufferin. That rapidly growing community was certain it would soon become the Winnipeg or Brandon of the south - as soon as the railway arrived. When the line was routed instead through Morden, the bustling town of Nelsonville vanished from the map. Other local communities such as Bates met a similar fate. 

Today, the Town of Carman stands at the junction of newly resurfaced highways that connect human and other resources from all quadrants of the R.M. to the Town of Carman as well as providing access to Winnipeg and other areas of South-Central Manitoba. This places it favourably to become a centre for whatever economic future it decides to pursue. 

Health Care – Then & Now. Given the pandemic and current health care crisis, this is one area of community planning that will no doubt be identified as a priority.  Carman has long been an important centre for health care with its hospital, doctors, a fine training school for nurses.See more.

1905 Carman Hospital and Nurses Residence

First Carman Hospital and Nurses’ Residence opened 1905      Photo: DHM

Health care has taken on even greater significance as the town has become a major retirement community.  This has increased the need for chronic and long-term care as well as other age-appropriate recreational and social activities designed to maintain the physical and mental health of our senior population.  Availability of health care also is a key consideration in attracting young families and workers to the area. 

Sports and Recreation -Then & Now.  Both recreational activities and competitive sports are key components of a healthy lifestyle.  Sports have always been a strong point of the community, for both men and women of all ages See more.

The competitive side of activities has been well-balanced by a wide range of recreational activities, from the earlier days of the Old Swimming Hole and skating on the river to recent years, when leisure activities have included walking the well-used pathway around the community.  Both sports and recreation are key to maintaining a physically, mentally, and socially active population,  and a healthy and keen pool of volunteers. 

Hopefully, the community will plan towards a future built around support for a healthy, active, lifestyle for all age groups.

Carman swimming hole

Old Swimming Hole Photo: DHM

Business Centre – Then & Now. So far, we’ve been looking mainly at the natural strengths of the community, and their role in providing a foundation for an even brighter future. What are some of the limitations? To go back to the earliest views of the Town, (Carman  Dufferin Leader, 1898-05-12) you’ll find that the actual town and business centre drew less enthusiastic applause than the natural setting:

The town itself takes a longer acquaintance before the stranger fully realizes the extent of its importance. It may be a matter of some regret that those who had the modeling of the town in its infancy did not look more to building up the business portion of it in a more consolidated manner perhaps because it just grew without recognition it would become a thriving centre.

A decade or so later, there were exceptions to that lukewarm portrait when  the striking new post-office (now the Boyne Regional Library) and the then community-centered Memorial Hall were bult.  One visitor even compared the Memorial Hall to the glorious Alamo in Texas (Carman Dufferin Leader, 1931-03-19). 

Carman Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall

What is the business centre image today? Most local businesses excel when it comes to customer service. The buildings themselves may be another matter. Looking at the Town with an outsider’s eye at this time of year, the business section probably appears a bit tired-looking, drab, in need of a good power-wash and a touch of paint. Other than the library, Memorial Hall and older residential heritage homes, the main streets have limited ‘wow’ value. 

The recent development of Ryall Park as the new gathering spot for community activities makes this corner an exception to the tired look. In a couple of months any drabness will be offset by the CIB’s colourful summer plantings and growing number of pocket parks. But there is still room for more flower boxes, planters, a few touches of paint, as well as a few surfaces that might benefit from tasteful murals. 

What can Heritage Contribute?  What can C/D MHAC contribute to the Plan – other than awareness of local history – our strengths, what has worked in past, and possibly past mistakes.  

In the interests of promoting both healthy activity and knowledge of our roots, we can continue to add historical signage and distribution of our heritage walking tours of the Town.  

Collaboration is a concept that is dear to the heart of the C/D MHAC.  Since its formation, the committee has worked closely with the local museum and library on preservation and promotion of local heritage. Over the past few years, we also have nurtured ties with local groups such as the BRK, shared ‘heritage moments’ with them and applauded their rediscovery of the local lifeline and recreation potential of the river and its environs.  We’ve also worked with the CIB towards projects that would honour both our heritage and natural history and serve as a local tourist attraction.  

The Future?  History can provide some insight into our strengths and what worked or failed in the past, but it can’t foretell the future.  What is clear is that Mother Nature is sounding ever more persistent and vocal warnings about climate change.  Locally, erratic weather patterns and recent drought have heightened awareness that climate change isn’t something that is just affecting other parts the world. With that in mind, the community might do well to look carefully at its reason for existing – the natural environment – and favour development of industries that ensure water security and protect our environmental legacy.  

We could, for example, become a hub for solar, geothermal and other earth-friendly industries. Cheap, clean energy in turn could pave the way for other innovative approaches such as year-round greenhouse ‘farming’.  The community might well become the ‘green’, clean-energy capital of South-Central Manitoba. Hopefully these initiatives would place emphasis on jobs and training and help keep younger generations in in the community. Time and local initiative will tell.

Personally, I look forward to the day when Mother Nature can relax and smile on us again rather than bombarding us with her ever more vocal wake-up calls on climate change. It’s just so unmotherly.  And I’m looking forward to the day when I can visit heritage sites in my self-driven, solar-powered flying car. 

Meanwhile, back in real time, it will be fascinating to hear input and perspectives from other sectors of the community such as agriculture, health, recreation, or the Chamber of Commerce.  Hopefully, we have moved well beyond 1907 and will focus on action not just words.

Natural History. Spring seems to be just a bit late arriving this year:

snow in april 2023

April 21, 2023

Finally, in recognition of Earth Day and in respect for Indigenous views of Nature, we’ll leave you with this Apache Blessing: 


May the SUN bring you new energy by day

May the MOON softly restore you by night

May the RAIN wash away your worries

May the BREEZE bring new strength to your being

May you walk through the world and

Know its BEAUTY all the days of your life.


News and Events, March 2023

Bridge. If you are heading for Roseisle between now and July, expect a short detour from Highway 245 into the community. The concrete bridge that has provided access over the south branch of the Boyne River for the past 100 years is being replaced by a wider two-lane structure.

roseisle bridge

The bridge that is being replaced is one of several featured in Gordon Goldsborough’s Manitoba History article on bridges in Manitoba and on the MHS website  In these  articles, the author notes that the “concrete beam bridge was built in 1923 by the contracting firm of J. C. Badger & Sons, using Plan 1000, for $7,782.”   His photos from 2013 illustrate the post and beam structure found in this and other bridges in the area.  Note the rough upper surface of the railings which suggest that some part of the structure is missing. 

We don’t have records of an earlier bridge at this location and, so far, the search for early photos of the 1923 structure have hit the proverbial brick wall. It seems, unfortunately, that this was one of the years the local newspaper didn’t have the usual newsy input from a Roseisle correspondent. But, as often happens, this is where oral histories come to the rescue. 

An early resident recalled that the bridge originally had higher railings with concrete balusters. When a large three-story house was being moved out of town, he had watched the movers jack the house up high enough to clear the railing. From his description, it seems likely that the bridge was similar to the concrete beam bridge no. 929 over the Boyne River between Graysville and Stephenfield. Boyne River Bridge  So what happened to scale it down to the present height?  The same interview throws light on the subject. 

Our informant chuckled as he recalled what happened:

This bridge – do you remember when it was higher – had those pillars on it?  [Name deleted] was going to blast some fish out of there with dynamite.  He put a stick of dynamite in a tobacco tin – he thought it would sink – but it didn’t sink, and just at the time it blew, it was underneath the bridge – and it loosened all those big pillars. They had reinforced steel in them too.  It loosened every one of them.

It's too bad we don’t have other records of the local reaction to an event that must have shaken the small community.  Or maybe our image of a quiet little hamlet guided by three local churches isn’t quite spot on.  The above interview continued as follows:

He [the ‘fisherman’] was a wild guy. One Halloween he and [another local lad] put half a stick of dynamite under a cream can on the station platform and that cream can went up in the air higher than the elevator.

So maybe the bridge story wasn’t even newsworthy? 

The new bridge is scheduled for re-opening by July – hopefully in time for the July 1st celebration that is the highlight of the year in Roseisle. At present, the huge piles are being driven in place and the construction crew report that work is ahead of schedule. The new bridge will be wide enough for two cars to pass. This is not the case at present where one vehicle now has to pull up and wait. 

Meanwhile, this story serves as a reminder that you can learn a lot from the recorded facts and events of history but the memories and stories behind the event are often a lot more fun. If you happen to know of any early photos of the Roseisle bridge, we’d be delighted to see them. Incidentally, have you begun yet to record your own life story? 

Black History Month. February also was Black History Month. Along with news about earthquakes, the anniversary of the war in the Ukraine and the weather, the media carried any number of stories about the experience of being Black in Canada. 

Locally, memories of our brief brush with Black history are likely positive and self-congratulatory. The Carman Cardinals were one of five teams that made up the Manitoba-Dakota or Man-Dak League. The league was formed in 1950 following integration of major league baseball and operated until 1957.  It included a number of talented players from previously segregated American Black Leagues. Carman has always been a sports-minded town. The baseball team was the pride of the community, and the Man-Dak baseball league is one of the bright spots in local heritage.

It may be surprising, then, to look more closely at the broader context of Black history in Canada. It was a bit of a shock for some Canadians to see the new Chloe Cooley postage stamp acknowledging the presence of slavery in 18th century Canada. Weren’t we the chosen land at the end of the underground railway?

 If Cecil Foster’s “They Call Me George” was one of your choices for reading during Black History Month, you likely had even more enlightenment in store. Foster relates how Black porters on our railways struggled until the late 1960s for the right to equal promotion, to bring their families to Canada, and to break the quota barrier that limited immigration of non-white applicants, including those who were British subjects. Foster points out that it wasn’t until 1973 that Canada, in the person of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, officially declared the country ‘multi-cultural’, where every citizen, regardless of racial or ethnic origin, is ‘Canadian’. This included our Indigenous population, who, Foster notes, were as multi-lingual and multi-cultural as any of the early white European colonists. 

It’s a part of our history that most of us didn’t learn much about in school. For much of the local population, the Man-Dak League was one of their first contacts with racial diversity. What we don’t find in our local recorded histories are stories of social interaction or of baseball players remaining in the district and becoming an integral part of local community.  Nor do we have this history from the player’s perspective. Understanding the broader context may help fill in some of the gaps in our local history.  It also may help us frame questions that should be asked about the experience of other ethnically and racially diverse members of the community. 

Natural History.  March arrived bright and sunny, cold, but still pretty much like lamb. Given the erratic weather patterns that have swept across the continent the past couple of months, we have to wonder what it might mean if it goes out like a lion. 

Meanwhile, the weather hasn’t put a damper on local heritage activities.  Presentations of Chris Larsen’s and Nikki Falk’s video “Voice of the River” have been warmly received by both the local Councils and residents of Riverview Legion Place retirement home This creative video tells the story of this local lifeline from the perspective of the river itself. You can view the video on the Boyne River Keepers website. Well done, ladies.

News and Events, January 2023

Transition. This February update marks the end of an era. David McInnes, our long-time web manager, has decided it's time to move on to new challenges. As many of you know, the website was developed over a decade ago as an initiative of the Historic Resources Branch (HRB). From a survey of 96 municipalities in Western Canada and the USA, they found that local municipal websites had little or no heritage content.

As always, the active and creative minds at the HRB had a solution to the problem. They worked with the Gimli MHAC to develop a template that could be used by MHACs across the Province. Our committee had the good fortune of being asked to pilot the new template to see if it could be used across sites. HRB also provided access to the services of website manager David McInnes. To use an appropriate cliché – the rest is history. Together, we've developed what we now refer to as a 'living history book' - a growing source of information on all aspects of local heritage from the distant past to recent events or 'history-in-the-making'. We try to provide basic content on heritage topics along with findings from ongoing research, feedback from website contacts, and links to more detailed sources of information.

Much of our inspiration has come from our web manager. From his work with museums, David McInnes brought years of knowledge, experience and appreciation of local heritage. He also had a keen interest in mastering new skills, such as his intriguing roll-over 'Then-and-Now' photos. Thank you, David, for a decade of inspiration, challenge, and learning. And good luck in your next re-retirement venture. C/D MHAC will miss you.

We now look forward to the next phase of our website's history, as we welcome on board our new website partner, local business-woman Marilyn Smith of AccentWeb.

Finlay Booth. What better way to start off our new era than with a story of hope and inspiration. A local resident brought to our attention the story of one of our local history's many 'notable people', Finlay Booth. As you will see from these photos from the History of the R.M. of Dufferin, 1880-1980, Booth was what we now would call "disabled".

finlay booth

Back in the days when health care was a thing of the future in the Boyne Settlement and the nearest medical practitioners were in Winnipeg, Finlay Booth demonstrated the remarkable resilience and will of many of our early settlers as he learned to overcome his physical challenges.

In 1871, the Booth family joined the westward trek from Ontario to the claim homestead land in the newly formed Province of Manitoba. They left Winnipeg in November of that year, overnighting in Headingly before making their way southward along the Missouri Trail to the new Boyne Settlement. The family of seven travelled in a cart and rig with seventeen-year-old Finlay herding the family cow. Their second day on the Trail, the bright, sunny skies suddenly clouded over and the Booths found themselves in the midst of a raging prairie blizzard. Finlay became separated from the family and spent the night sheltered in a small thicket. When he finally arrived at the family cabin next day, his hands, feet and parts of his face were badly frozen. A physician was brought in from Winnipeg. After a valiant attempt to endure the pain, Finlay finally agreed to amputation of both hands and feet. His face also was disfigured.

Rather than remain dependent, Finlay determined to regain as much function as possible. Over the ensuing years, he learned how to mount and ride a horse and became employed herding cattle. He made adaptations that allowed him to shoot and learned how to perform such fine tasks as making change and threading a needle. Finlay saved his earnings from herding and purchased protheses. As these wore out and had to be replaced, Finlay was faced with selling his own herd of cattle to pay for replacements. The R.M. of Dufferin Council recognized this remarkable man's achievements by giving him the funds, no strings attached, to pay for the protheses. For more information on Finlay Booth's family, his ordeal and accomplishments, see:

The History of the R.M. of Dufferin, 1880-1980, pp. 345-8; available online.

Rev. Hamilton Wigle from Winnipeg also interviewed Finlay Booth and told his story in a temperance treatise titled: The Life Story of Finlay Booth, available online.

Natural History. If you had to choose one word to describe the first month of 2023, it could be 'white'. A pattern of unusual weather conditions brought a lengthy spell of morning fog. Freezing fog droplets resulted in both treacherous driving conditions and hauntingly beautiful coatings of rime on trees and vegetation.

rime on trees in winter

The white landscape also made it even more difficult to spot some of our local animals. Most local animals adapt to winter by growing heavier coats or hibernating, others like rabbits or weasels very cleverly adapt by changing the colour of their coats. One of our local nature photographers, Lynette Stow, captured these delightful photos of a weasel enjoying the snow.

weasel white weasel
white weasel white weasel


Local skiers have been just as excited as our furry friends over the quantity and quality of this year's snow cover. Some no doubt ended up in the same poses as our little weasel.
Hopefully everyone has a few fond memories of this winter that they can record in their own life stories for the pleasure of generations to come.