A longtime search ended July 12 when Gord Wilson walked into the St. Vital Museum with a bundle of E.J. Casey posters.
Who is E.J. Casey, you ask, and what is the significance to St. Vital?
Well, read on..
There was a time when E.J. Casey Shows had the biggest midway and sideshows in Manitoba, or even possibly Western Canada, and the company’s head office was at 567 St. Mary’s Road just north of the junction.
St. Vitallers got to spend their money when the St. Vital Agricultural Society held its annual fair and exhibition on the land just south of Regal Avenue, before moving to Riel Park, where it became the Greater Winnipeg Exhibition, which in 1954 attracted 108,000 visitors. The midway was eventually taken over by Royal American Shows and also included a rodeo.
The posters have to be framed but will soon be on display at the Museum after being unveiled at this year’s Ag Fair at the St. Vital Arena, Aug. 13-14.
There was also a time when Casey operated Rendezvous Park, located in Lockport, where thousands of students went on a school excursion to celebrate the end of the school year by going on the ferris wheel, merry-go-round and bumper cars plus the fun house.
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A record was set last month when 23 students from Windsor School crammed into the cell at the back of the St. Vital Museum. The Museum was once home to the St. Vital Police Department, and one of the holding cells has been restored. The cells and the 1939 Fargo fire truck are the two most popular exhibits with kids.
The Museum has a line on a 1951 Pontiac once used by as a detective car. The current owner even has the bill of sale from Dickson Motors. Stay tuned.
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Congratulations to Riel MLA Chris Melnick and city councillor Brian Mayes for spearheading the construction of the Arden 7 Memorial Plaza in Jules Mager Park, located at River and St. Michael’s roads.
The $75,000 plaza was officially opened July 12 with lone survivor George Peterson cutting the ribbon to honour the members of the Winnipeg Grenadiers who were captured by the Japanese Imperial Army on Christmas Day, 1941.
The men — Fred Abrahams, Bill Lancaster, twins George and Morris Peterson plus the Shayler brothers: Alfred, Ed and Harry — spent the rest of the war as prisoners of war. The directors of the St. Vital Historical Society were happy to have played a part.
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The Museum — located at 600 St. Mary’s Road — is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Bob Holliday is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org