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West Kildonan boasts its own newspaper row

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The Exchange District has long been home to Winnipeg’s historic ‘Newspaper Row.’
A plaque on the Telegram Building on Albert Street was mounted in 2009 to pay homage to the Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Telegram, prominent newspapers located there from 1882-1920.

It was the days before the automobile, when horses and oxen and wagons were common sights on the city’s unpaved streets and people often gathered around the buildings to catch the latest news of the day.

Many may not know, however, that West Kildonan is home to its very own ‘newspaper row’ of sorts. An area between Jefferson Avenue and Inkster Boulevard on the east side of McPhillips Street proudly proclaims streets such as Dafoe Boulevard, Payne Street and Macklin Avenue, all named for prominent Winnipeg newspapermen of long ago.

According to Vince Leah, Douglas McKay, a former West Kildonan councillor, and a printer for the Free Press for many years, moved after World War II to dedicate the streets to a handful of newspaper notables.

Dafoe Boulevard remembers John Wesley Dafoe, the renowned editor in chief of the Manitoba Free Press from 1901-1944. Payne Street commemorates Walter Payne who started out as a printer for the Free Press in 1881 and later became the executive head of the news department. He died in 1930.

Macklin Avenue remembers Edward Macklin, who began as an office boy in 1870  and eventually became general manager and president of the Free Press. He retired in 1935.

McCurdy Street is named for Wesley McCurdym who worked as an advertising manager for the Free Press in 1905 and later became publisher of the Winnipeg Tribune in the 1930’s.

Richardson Avenue, according to the Manitoba Historical Society, is named for Robert Lorne Richardson, a journalist who came to Winnipeg in 1882 and helped found the Winnipeg Tribune.

Carruthers Avenue honours George Carruthers, who was the joint editor and proprietor of the Manitoba Gazette for several years in the 1870s.

Not in this area, but over on the east side of Main Street, sits Luxton Avenue, named for W.F. Luxton, reportedly the first school teacher in Winnipeg and the founder, along with J.A. Kenny, of the Free Press in 1872. He is also remembered by Luxton School and Luxton Community Centre.

And of course Douglas McKay, who started it all, and who was also a direct descendant of the Lord Selkirk Settlers, was honoured with a street of his own just off Diplomat Drive near Leila Avenue in Garden City. He was born in 1885 on the family farm in Kildonan, where Kildonan Park sits now, and died in 1972.

Perhaps one day we will have a street named after Margo Goodhand, the first woman named editor of the Free Press.

Cheryl Girard is a community correspondent for Riverbend. You can contact her at girard.cheryl@gmail.com.

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