May will be a momentous month for the St. Vital Historical Society with a number of milestones being reached.
For starters, this is the 100th anniversary of the old St. Vital Fire Hall, home to the St. Vital Museum, at 600 St. Mary’s Rd. The anniversary will be celebrated May 24 with a pancake breakfast catered by Smitty’s Restaurant (Grant Avenue and Pembina Highway) that will run from 9 a.m. until noon. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under.
A highlight will be the unveiling of the newly restored 1939 Fargo pumper truck, commonly known as St. Vital No. 1, which will be driven through a ribbon by restorers Leon St. Onge and Dave Reimer. The duo will be accompanied by Murray Davidson, the last member of the St. Vital Fire Department to drive to truck to a fire.
"I believe we had a flat tire on the way to a bush fire at the end of Sunset Boulevard," recalls Davidson, now 85.
In 1926, the building was expanded to house the St. Vital Municipal offices, when the community went bankrupt, plus the St. Vital Police Department and Magistrate’s Court.
Following the ceremony — which will see a major announcement made by Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and St. Vital MLA Nancy Allan — a procession will head to the Elm Park Bridge, which also opened in 1914 following two years of construction to replace a pontoon bridge.
The celebration will continue that evening with a salute to St. Vital musicians at Doubles Fun Club in the Travelodge East on Alpine Avenue. The show will headlined by Ray St. Germain and his band. Also confirmed are Spice of Life, a band featuring Bill and Alan McDougall; and Robbie McDougall, who will be joined by former Sugar & Spice mainstay Maureen Murphy (The Cruel War). Former Guess Who member Donnie McDougall (yes, there are four of them) is also slated to drop in and jam.
Tickets for the concert are $20 and available at the front desk of the Travelodge, McElhoes & Duffy, 604 St. Mary’s Rd., the Red Top Restaurant, 219 St. Mary’s Rd. and Saturdays at the St. Vital Museum, 600 St. Mary’s Rd.
The following weekend, the museum will be part of Doors Open Winnipeg, where folks get to see the inside of building normally closed to the public.
Bob Holliday is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org