Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net

Recent articles of Jim Smith

The beginning of John Pritchard School

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The beginning of John Pritchard School

Jim Smith 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022

John Pritchard School, located at 1490 Henderson Hwy., opened in 1915 and was originally called Lord Kitchener School, in honour of the British military commander until 1967, when it was renamed to honour John Pritchard, an early fur trader and Red River pioneer. The school is located on property formerly owned by Pritchard

According to the Manitoba Historical Society, the original structure was designed by architect John Danley Atchison, built at a cost of $75,000 and consisted of five large classrooms, a large basement, and an auditorium on the second floor with a stage, now the site of the present school library.

The school’s cornerstone ceremony was held May 28, 1915, in front of 500 students from the East Kildonan and North Kildonan area, along with several hundred adults. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. A. J. McDougall, wife of the secretary-treasurer of the East Kildonan School Board. Taking part in the ceremony were 60 army cadets, each armed with a small rifle. Col. Hosmer of the Canadian Army inspected the cadets. Refreshment for the event was water from the natural spring located in the grove of trees by the riverbank.

Placed in a metal box behind the cornerstone were copies of the three daily newspapers, a copy of the Schools Act, Canadian silver coins and the names of King George, the Governor General of Canada, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Manitoba, the Manitoba Minister of Education, and all members of the school board. This time capsule has never been opened.

Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022

John Pritchard School was known as Lord Kitchener School for the first 52 years of its existence.

The story of North Transcona School

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The story of North Transcona School

Jim Smith 2 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

North Transcona School was one of three one-room schoolhouses that were once located in North Kildonan, the others being McIvor School, at the southwest corner of McIvor Avenue and De Vries Avenue, and Rosewell School, located at northwest corner of McLeod Avenue and Molson Street.

North Transcona School was located one kilometre east of Lagimodiere Boulevard, on the north side of Springfield Road, where Kilcona Park is now situated. Despite the name it was not located in Transcona but several kilometres north. It opened in 1905 and closed after the 1948-49 school year.

The area called North Transcona had been created in 1914 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a new railway yard to allow railway traffic not bound for Winnipeg to bypass the crowded Central Winnipeg yards and the school was located in what was planned as the residential area for the workers at this railway yard. The yards opened in 1914, just before the beginning of the First World War and the expected growth did not occur. Some optimistic projections predicted a residential population of 50,000 but no more than 200 people actually lived in the area at its peak. The C.P.R. even built a small hotel in the area, but it closed in 1918. Many streets are shown on maps of the era, but the vast majority were never built and those that did exist were never anything but mud roads.

When North Transcona School opened, at a cost of $3,000, it was expected to exist until the population justified a much larger school. The railway yards, which were expected to have 5,000 workers, never had more than 300 and were closed in 1932. They remained as a storage area for railway cars with just a few employees remaining until the 1980s.

Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

North Transcona School was built to serve an area that was expected to become populated by workers at C.P.R.’s North Transcona Yards but the expected population boom did not happen. The yards themselves, pictured here, fell out of use by the 1980s.

City archives a gold mine of information

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City archives a gold mine of information

Jim Smith 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

More and more people in Winnipeg have become interested in the history of Winnipeg and the place with the largest amount of archival material dealing with the history of Winnipeg and the former cities, town and municipalities that now make up the City of Winnipeg, is the City of Winnipeg Archives. Located presently at 50 Myrtle St. it contains written records of the City of Winnipeg going back to 1874.

Like many archives it is only open during regular business hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One must make an appointment to visit, as space is very limited for researchers. Staff can be reached at archives@winnipeg.ca or 204-986-5325. Your best bet is to be very specific about what you are looking for, as the collection is vast and staff members bring materials out to the research area.

Among the records in the archives are photographs but they have very few of individual house – most pictures show public buildings, public parks, and other city-owned properties.

What the archives do contain is all the City of Winnipeg’s council minutes, bylaws, and many other written records, such as building permit records, and property tax assessment rolls. The assessment rolls contain on the owners of a property in a specific year, the amount of municipal and school taxes assessed, as well as local improvement charges. The council minutes and bylaws books are a gold mine of information about what went on in the community in specific years that you will not find anywhere else. If you’re interested in learning when sewer and water was installed on your street, when the street was created and paved, when the sidewalks were built, even when local parks were created and when your local schools were built and expanded you can find out here. If your family members or distant ancestors were municipal employees that information can be often found in the council minute books, as well as when they were hired and what their salaries were.

Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

The City of Winnipeg Archives on Myrtle Street contain written records of Winnipeg and its constituent municipalities, dating back to the 19th century.

Tracing the development of East Kildonan

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Tracing the development of East Kildonan

Jim Smith 5 minute read Friday, Feb. 4, 2022

 The large-scale development of East Kildonan began in 1954, when an agreement was signed with the British American Land Development Company (which later became BACM in 1961 and  was bought by Genstar  in 1971). Simkin Construction was given the contract for the local improvements with Tallman Gravel and Paving Supply given a major paving contract with other sub-contractors providing other work. British American company was given all the municipally owned property in East Kildonan which, in 1954 consisted of nearly 40 per cent of all the land in East Kildonan. Individual lots were sold to builders who constructed private homes, apartments, business and industrial sites. Development began in 1955 with construction of the sewers, water mains and street paving in the first phase between Munroe Avenue and Leighton Avenue from Roch to Raleigh streets. Home construction began in 1955 and continued until 1958 in this first phase, with over 900 new homes built during this period. A new commercial district was created along Watt Street between Helmsdale and Chelsea avenues and Neil Campbell School was constructed as part of the agreement. In 1959, construction of new homes began in the area east of Gateway Street between Simpson Avenue and Montrose (Larsen) Avenue east to nearly Molson Street. This Morse Place district of East Kildonan had first been settled in the early 1900s but there were still many vacant lots in the area, with sewer and water service still lacking on streets with homes that had been built decades before. The late 1950s to the early 1960s saw the construction of the Munroe Shopping Centre and the industrial area south of Kimberly Avenue to Munroe Avenue between Raleigh and Golspie streets. South of Munroe Avenue, some industrial plants dated back to the early 1910s but tje new construction resulted in an expansion of the area. The development of the Pleasant Bay and the area north of the Rossmere Golf Course to Oakland Avenue (the East Kildonan/North Kildonan boundary), east to Raleigh occurred in the period between 1959 and 1962 The main development west of Henderson Highway mnorth of Leighton Avenue to the north end of Fraser’s Grove Parkm occurred from 1953 to the early 1960s. The apartment blocks on the west side of Molson Street were built in the late 1960s and early 1970sDevelopment of the Valley Gardens district began in 1970.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

The large-scale development of East Kildonan began in 1954, when an agreement was signed with the British American Land Development Company (which later became BACM in 1961 and  was bought by Genstar  in 1971). 

Simkin Construction was given the contract for the local improvements with Tallman Gravel and Paving Supply given a major paving contract with other sub-contractors providing other work. 

British American company was given all the municipally owned property in East Kildonan which, in 1954 consisted of nearly 40 per cent of all the land in East Kildonan. Individual lots were sold to builders who constructed private homes, apartments, business and industrial sites.

Friday, Feb. 4, 2022

Supplied photo
Neil Campbell School, at 845 Golspie St., opened in November, 1956, during the first phase of construction in East Kildonan by British American Land Development.

Tracing the path of old McLeod Creek

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Tracing the path of old McLeod Creek

Jim Smith 4 minute read Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021

There is a portion of the original McLeod Creek that still carries water from what is now Whellams Lane, travelling under the Chief Peguis Trail and then emptying into the Red River. You can still see the outlet into the Red when travelling west on the Chief Peguis Trail between Henderson Highway and the Kildonan Settlers Bridge.McLeod Creek was originally much longer, starting east of what is now Molson Street in what was a swampy area before settlement. It flowed west through the Morse Place area, where it was big enough that a bridge was built to cross it at Munroe Avenue and Grey Street. From there it flowed northwest, crossing Gateway Street, Centennial Park behind Neil Campbell School, then running across the Rossmere Golf Course, where a portion of it is a water hazard. It crossed through Pleasant Bay and then between Maxwell Place and McLeod Avenue to Henderson Highway.It was at this location, somewhere between Brazier Street and Henderson, that a grist mill existed in the 1850s and ’60s to grind the grain of nearby settler. The mill stones were driven by the moving water of the creek. Two of the four original millstones are located in the small park at Edison Avenue and Henderson, another is located in the back yard of a private residence on Grandview Avenue, and the fourth is lost to history.McLeod Creek had another branch that flowed into the main creek just south of the intersection of McLeod and Henderson Highway. This branch came from the south, roughly parallel to Henderson Highway. It can be seen today in the dip in the streets of the 200 block as far south as Bronx Avenue. This branch of the creek crossed Leighton Avenue in front of Lord Wolseley School. Until the 1950s there was a footbridge across the front of the school grounds, which is now buried under the earth used to fill in the creek.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

There is a portion of the original McLeod Creek that still carries water from what is now Whellams Lane, travelling under the Chief Peguis Trail and then emptying into the Red River. You can still see the outlet into the Red when travelling west on the Chief Peguis Trail between Henderson Highway and the Kildonan Settlers Bridge.

McLeod Creek was originally much longer, starting east of what is now Molson Street in what was a swampy area before settlement. It flowed west through the Morse Place area, where it was big enough that a bridge was built to cross it at Munroe Avenue and Grey Street. From there it flowed northwest, crossing Gateway Street, Centennial Park behind Neil Campbell School, then running across the Rossmere Golf Course, where a portion of it is a water hazard. It crossed through Pleasant Bay and then between Maxwell Place and McLeod Avenue to Henderson Highway.

It was at this location, somewhere between Brazier Street and Henderson, that a grist mill existed in the 1850s and ’60s to grind the grain of nearby settler. The mill stones were driven by the moving water of the creek. Two of the four original millstones are located in the small park at Edison Avenue and Henderson, another is located in the back yard of a private residence on Grandview Avenue, and the fourth is lost to history.

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021

Supplied photo
McLeod Creek as it looked in the early 1920s, near McLeod Avenue and Brazier Street.

The origins of Neil Campbell School

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The origins of Neil Campbell School

Jim Smith 5 minute read Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021

The creation of Neil Campbell School can be traced to an agreement signed between the then Municipality of East Kildonan and BACM (the forerunner of Genstar Community Development, founded in 1950 by the Simkin family) in April 1954. The agreement gave the company all of the municipally owned land in the area from Neil Avenue north to Leighton Avenue from Roch to Raleigh streets. The company was given the right to develop the area for residential, commercial and industrial development and was to provide all of the local improvements required such as sewer and water, street paving, paved sidewalks and streetlights. Prior to this development, the area was lightly dotted with homes so there was no elementary school in the district. Students living in the area went to school at either Lord Wolseley or Prince Edward schools. As part of its agreement, BACM was required to build a new, eight-room elementary schooat a cost of approximately $120,000, and then turn it over to the East Kildonan School District. The first location looked at for the new school was the east side of Watt Street between Hazel Dell Aand Oakview avenues but the decision was soon made to move the location one block to the east, at 845 Golspie St.The building of the new homes in the immediate catchment area of Neil Campbell School began in 1955 in the 400 blocks of Kimberly, Helmsdale, Dunrobin, Oakview, Linden, Greene and Roberta avenues. Home construction in the 500 blocks began in 1956, and construction of new homes in the 600 blocks began in 1957, 1958 and 1959.Prior to 1955 there had been a small number of homes on these streets buthere were homes on the south side of the 600 block of Oakview to the power lines, as well as one house in the 600 block of Hazel Dell. These two 600 blocks were eliminated when Neil Campbell School was built. Some of the old homes in the 400, 500 blocks and 600 blocks that still exist today date to the early 1920s. when Oakview Avenue east of Henderson Highway was called Hawarden Avenue and Hazel Dell Avenue east of Henderson Highway was called Donegal Avenue.These streets were changed to their present names in the late 1920s. Most of what is now the school grounds was used as a grazing area for a small number of cattle.Neil Campbell School opened in November 1956.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

The creation of Neil Campbell School can be traced to an agreement signed between the then Municipality of East Kildonan and BACM (the forerunner of Genstar Community Development, founded in 1950 by the Simkin family) in April 1954. 

The agreement gave the company all of the municipally owned land in the area from Neil Avenue north to Leighton Avenue from Roch to Raleigh streets. The company was given the right to develop the area for residential, commercial and industrial development and was to provide all of the local improvements required such as sewer and water, street paving, paved sidewalks and streetlights. 

Prior to this development, the area was lightly dotted with homes so there was no elementary school in the district. Students living in the area went to school at either Lord Wolseley or Prince Edward schools. As part of its agreement, BACM was required to build a new, eight-room elementary schooat a cost of approximately $120,000, and then turn it over to the East Kildonan School District. The first location looked at for the new school was the east side of Watt Street between Hazel Dell Aand Oakview avenues but the decision was soon made to move the location one block to the east, at 845 Golspie St.

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021

Manitoba Archives
Neil Campbell, who lived from 1857 to 1916 was an East Kildonan municipal councillor and school trustee whose contribution to the community was remembered by naming the school at 845 Golspie Street after him.

The origins of Fraser’s Grove Park

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The origins of Fraser’s Grove Park

Jim Smith 5 minute read Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

The modern history of the area in which Fraser’s Grove Park is located stretches back to the 1830s. The physical boundaries of the current park, between the Red River and Kildonan Drive, were determined when the Municipality of Kildonan began the process of obtaining the land for Kildonan Drive in 1912 and 1913. It was originally called East Kildonan Drive, and the Municipality of East Kildonan, which was created in the division of Kildonan in 1914, continued this work.The park was named for William Fraser, who owned one of the original parish lot farms which stretched back two miles from the Red River. There were also three parish lots owned by others that make up what is now Fraser’s Grove Park. Fraser himself moved to this area from West Kildonan around 1880.After Fraser’s death in 1909, his land was sold off, along with the other properties to a speculator for a proposed subdivision called Rossmere Grove and a portion was sold to the municipality. In 1910, 50 acres of this property was offered to the University Manitoba free of charge and another 150 to 300 acres offered at low prices to the University of Manitoba to establish its campus in the area. In 1912 ,the university chose instead its present location in Fort Garry.The Rossmere Grove subdivision was not a success, as little property was sold and, by the 1920s, the municipality became the owner of most of it due to the non-payment of the property taxes.In the 1930s and 1940s the land of Rossmere Grove between the Red River and Henderson Highway was used as a picnic ground and for camping groups of adults and youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from all over Greater Winnipeg area. The municipality charged a small fee for camping but no municipal services were provided; it was strictly a wilderness experience. A small number of summer cottages were constructed on nearby Kildonan Drive as summer getaways from the urban community.The sale of property to home builders began in the early 1950s in the southern end of Rossmere Grove and continued into the early 1960s at the northern end. The City of East Kildonan retained the property along the riverbank for park space, but little work had been done until the park was taken over by Metro Winnipeg in 1961, which led to the development of the park in its present space. In the mid-1960s Metro closed a portion of Kildonan Drive to create an undivided park space. While the original amenities, such as playground equipment and benches, have been replaced little has changed in the park except for riverbank erosion.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

The modern history of the area in which Fraser’s Grove Park is located stretches back to the 1830s. The physical boundaries of the current park, between the Red River and Kildonan Drive, were determined when the Municipality of Kildonan began the process of obtaining the land for Kildonan Drive in 1912 and 1913. It was originally called East Kildonan Drive, and the Municipality of East Kildonan, which was created in the division of Kildonan in 1914, continued this work.

The park was named for William Fraser, who owned one of the original parish lot farms which stretched back two miles from the Red River. There were also three parish lots owned by others that make up what is now Fraser’s Grove Park. Fraser himself moved to this area from West Kildonan around 1880.

After Fraser’s death in 1909, his land was sold off, along with the other properties to a speculator for a proposed subdivision called Rossmere Grove and a portion was sold to the municipality. In 1910, 50 acres of this property was offered to the University Manitoba free of charge and another 150 to 300 acres offered at low prices to the University of Manitoba to establish its campus in the area. In 1912 ,the university chose instead its present location in Fort Garry.

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

Manitoba Archives
Fraser’s Grove Park as it appeared in 1920.

A brief history of Elmwood Park

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A brief history of Elmwood Park

Jim Smith 5 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021

 

Elmwood Park was the first park created after Elmwood joined the City of Winnipeg in 1906, from the Municipality of Kildonan, the land for the park was bought from the Municipality of Kildonan in 1909. Often called Roxy Park, the legal name for the park has always been Elmwood Park, there was nothing in the area called Roxy until 1929 when the Roxy Theatre opened, and it was located in a separate municipality, East Kildonan, which did not become part of Winnipeg until 1972.When the park was created in 1909 there was still a house on the site which had to be removed. In the early years and until the mid 1960s there was a full-time gardener who maintained the park from early May to the middle of October. Elmwood Park was full of flowers as every spring up to 1,200 flowers were planted by the gardener until the mid 1960s. In the early 1920s the first washrooms and wading pool were built, these original features were replaced in the 1970s by newer ones that exist today.The Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Winnipeg organized recreation activities for younger children and these were held in the park from the 1930s to the early 1960s during July and August.In the mid 1930s residents of Elmwood petitioned the City of Winnipeg to build a full-size outdoor swimming pool, but that petition was rejected, citing the lack of money. The land adjoining the north boundary of the park, the present Bredin Drive and Roosevelt Place was offered for sale by East Kildonan to the City of Winnipeg to enlarge the park to by almost three times its size but again the City of Winnipeg wouldn’t spend the money.This vacant piece of land owned by East Kildonan had the unofficial name of the Roxy Grounds until it was sold by East Kildonan to developers in 1947 to create Bredin Drive and Roosevelt Place. The Roxy Grounds were used by East Kildonan for baseball, soccer and other sporting events from as early as 1920. Fairs were held on the grounds as well as illegal crap games during the 1930s where one player complained to the East Kildonan Police that he lost $260 in one of these games.If this land has purchased by the City of Winnipeg, Elmwood Park would have been a much more active park than it is todayJim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.netElmwood Park was the first park created after Elmwood joined the City of Winnipeg in 1906, from the Municipality of Kildonan, the land for the park was bought from the Municipality of Kildonan in 1909. 

Often called Roxy Park, the legal name for the park has always been Elmwood Park, there was nothing in the area called Roxy until 1929 when the Roxy Theatre opened, and it was located in a separate municipality, East Kildonan, which did not become part of Winnipeg until 1972.

When the park was created in 1909 there was still a house on the site which had to be removed. In the early years and until the mid 1960s there was a full-time gardener who maintained the park from early May to the middle of October. Elmwood Park was full of flowers as every spring up to 1,200 flowers were planted by the gardener until the mid 1960s. In the early 1920s the first washrooms and wading pool were built, these original features were replaced in the 1970s by newer ones that exist today.

Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021

 

Elmwood Park was the first park created after Elmwood joined the City of Winnipeg in 1906, from the Municipality of Kildonan, the land for the park was bought from the Municipality of Kildonan in 1909. Often called Roxy Park, the legal name for the park has always been Elmwood Park, there was nothing in the area called Roxy until 1929 when the Roxy Theatre opened, and it was located in a separate municipality, East Kildonan, which did not become part of Winnipeg until 1972.When the park was created in 1909 there was still a house on the site which had to be removed. In the early years and until the mid 1960s there was a full-time gardener who maintained the park from early May to the middle of October. Elmwood Park was full of flowers as every spring up to 1,200 flowers were planted by the gardener until the mid 1960s. In the early 1920s the first washrooms and wading pool were built, these original features were replaced in the 1970s by newer ones that exist today.The Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Winnipeg organized recreation activities for younger children and these were held in the park from the 1930s to the early 1960s during July and August.In the mid 1930s residents of Elmwood petitioned the City of Winnipeg to build a full-size outdoor swimming pool, but that petition was rejected, citing the lack of money. The land adjoining the north boundary of the park, the present Bredin Drive and Roosevelt Place was offered for sale by East Kildonan to the City of Winnipeg to enlarge the park to by almost three times its size but again the City of Winnipeg wouldn’t spend the money.This vacant piece of land owned by East Kildonan had the unofficial name of the Roxy Grounds until it was sold by East Kildonan to developers in 1947 to create Bredin Drive and Roosevelt Place. The Roxy Grounds were used by East Kildonan for baseball, soccer and other sporting events from as early as 1920. Fairs were held on the grounds as well as illegal crap games during the 1930s where one player complained to the East Kildonan Police that he lost $260 in one of these games.If this land has purchased by the City of Winnipeg, Elmwood Park would have been a much more active park than it is todayJim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.netElmwood Park was the first park created after Elmwood joined the City of Winnipeg in 1906, from the Municipality of Kildonan, the land for the park was bought from the Municipality of Kildonan in 1909. 

Often called Roxy Park, the legal name for the park has always been Elmwood Park, there was nothing in the area called Roxy until 1929 when the Roxy Theatre opened, and it was located in a separate municipality, East Kildonan, which did not become part of Winnipeg until 1972.

When the park was created in 1909 there was still a house on the site which had to be removed. In the early years and until the mid 1960s there was a full-time gardener who maintained the park from early May to the middle of October. Elmwood Park was full of flowers as every spring up to 1,200 flowers were planted by the gardener until the mid 1960s. In the early 1920s the first washrooms and wading pool were built, these original features were replaced in the 1970s by newer ones that exist today.

No gold in E.K.’s Eldorado Drive-In

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No gold in E.K.’s Eldorado Drive-In

Jim Smith 5 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021

 East Kildonan once had its own drive-in movie theatre called the Eldorado Drive-In. It was located on land bounded by Henderson Highway and Brazier Street, between Lord Wolseley School and the Curtis Hotel, an area now occupied by the Northdale Shopping Centre.  Opening on June 29, 1950,the Eldorado was built at a cost of $170,000 and was advertised as the largest drive-in theatre in Canada at the time, with a capacity of 720 cars. The screen was 20 metres by 19 metres with concrete piles set almost three metres into the ground, designed to withstand winds of 320 k/h. Its lot featured a holding area for cars to help with traffic problems on Henderson Highway, with exits on both Henderson Highway and Brazier Street. There was also a kiddies’ playground on the site with slides, teeter-totters and sandboxes for young children bored with the movie. The site also included a monkey village with animals borrowed from the Assiniboine Park Zoo. It also had a large concession bar to meet the needs of its patrons. The advertising slogan was “a little bit of the west in East Kildonan,’’ with the western theme emphasized by all employees wearing cowboy outfits. The first movie to play the opening night was the western Tulsa, with adults charged 60 cents, while children 12 to 16 paid 25 cents, and children under 12 were admitted free. During the first couple of years of the Eldorado’s existence there were frequent traffic tie-ups on Henderson, with the line of automobiles waiting to enter sometimes reaching as far south as Melbourne Avenue. There are stories of people hiding in the trunks of cars being driven into the theatre with just one person in the passenger section and the rear of the car almost dragging on the ground. A theatre employee would then hang around in sight of the suspicious vehicle, not allowing the people in the trunk to get out.After a while, someone would usually yell out “Get me out of here!” As many as four people would pile out of the trunk and sheepishly pay the proper admission price. After the first two years, drive-in attendance dropped off, to the point that in the Eldorado’s last year of operation, 1955, free admission was brought  in, with food and drink being the only source of revenue. Unfortunately, the move failed and the Eldorado was forced to close.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

East Kildonan once had its own drive-in movie theatre called the Eldorado Drive-In. 

It was located on land bounded by Henderson Highway and Brazier Street, between Lord Wolseley School and the Curtis Hotel, an area now occupied by the Northdale Shopping Centre. 

Opening on June 29, 1950,the Eldorado was built at a cost of $170,000 and was advertised as the largest drive-in theatre in Canada at the time, with a capacity of 720 cars. The screen was 20 metres by 19 metres with concrete piles set almost three metres into the ground, designed to withstand winds of 320 k/h. Its lot featured a holding area for cars to help with traffic problems on Henderson Highway, with exits on both Henderson Highway and Brazier Street.

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021

Supplied image
A newspaper advertisement for the opening night of the Eldorado Drive-In in East Kildonan.

Remembering Elmwood’s local theatres

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Remembering Elmwood’s local theatres

Jim Smith 4 minute read Saturday, Jul. 17, 2021

Elmwood has had two movie theatres over the years, both were small and seated about 500.The Garden Theatre was located on the west side of Henderson Highway between Hespeler and Hart avenues, and opened on Sept. 18, 1915. It was a silent-movie theatre with a piano player providing the background music. The theatre was built at a cost of $20,000 by owner Manuel Gonsalves and offered evening shows at 7:15 p.m. and matinees on Saturdays and holidays at 2:15 pmThe Garden closed in 1930 owing to the arrival of the Great Depression and the coming of ‘talking pictures’. The building burned down in the early 1930s due to arson but the empty shell remained on the site until around 1940. For a number of years after the fire, children would climb the fence surrounding it to collect pieces of glass that had melted into round balls.The Elm Theatre was located at 392 Talbot Ave., and was also called the Cameo Theatre and the Elmwood Theatre for short periods of time. It opened in 1910 as Morrow Hall, which was mostly used for public meetings for the first 24 years of its life.In 1934, the Elm became a second-run movie theatre showing films that had already been shown elsewhere in Winnipeg movie theatres. As a second-run theatre, its admission prices were lower – adults paid just 15 cents and children 10 cents. It closed in 1947 due to the competition of the much larger downtown theatres.In 1947, the building was bought by the Roman Catholic church and used as a mission building for St. Gerald’s Parish.In the late 1950s it began showing German-language movies to serve the growing German-speaking population of northeast Winnipeg. It closed for good as a theatre in 1960 and was used as a meeting hall for a number of yearsFrom the ’60s to the early 2000s it was used as meeting place, a beauty and barbers hop and as a grocery store. In the late 2010s ,the building was torn down after almost 100 years of use.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Elmwood has had two movie theatres over the years, both were small and seated about 500.

The Garden Theatre was located on the west side of Henderson Highway between Hespeler and Hart avenues, and opened on Sept. 18, 1915. It was a silent-movie theatre with a piano player providing the background music. The theatre was built at a cost of $20,000 by owner Manuel Gonsalves and offered evening shows at 7:15 p.m. and matinees on Saturdays and holidays at 2:15 pm

The Garden closed in 1930 owing to the arrival of the Great Depression and the coming of ‘talking pictures’. The building burned down in the early 1930s due to arson but the empty shell remained on the site until around 1940. For a number of years after the fire, children would climb the fence surrounding it to collect pieces of glass that had melted into round balls.

Saturday, Jul. 17, 2021

Supplied photo
The Elm Theatre on Talbot Avenue, as it appeared in the 1990s.

Roxy Lanes began life as a movie theatre

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Roxy Lanes began life as a movie theatre

Jim Smith 2 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2021

The building at 385 Henderson Hwy. which today houses Roxy Lanes began its life as a movie theatre called the Roxy Theatre back on Christmas Eve, 1929.

The original prices for evening performance were 35 cents for adults, 25 cents for children and 50 cents for loge seats. Matinee shows on Saturdays and holidays cost just 15 cents for children until 5 p.m.

When it was built, it was one of the most modern suburban theatres in Canada at the time; it contained Simplex Projectors and an elaborate sound system for the era that allowed for the sound to be heard equally in all parts of the theatre. Like the Uptown Theatre on Academy Road, it was built by local architect Max Blankstein and owned by Jacob Miles.

The main floor sat 800 people, including 100 people in whicker loge seats. Yhe balcony contained 400 seats. There was a small stage that was used on occasion for concerts and fundraising events. The stage was draped with a Spanish-style draw curtain. The ceiling consisted of a blue-sky image with lights in the ceiling creating an image of twinkling stars and slowly drifting stars. The inside walls were decorated in the style of Spanish Moorish houses with sloping tile roofs and windows which were curtained and lighted. The lobby contained a stone fireplace built from Manitoba Tyndall stone

Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2021

Manitoba Historical Society
The Roxy Theatre as it appeared in 1930.

Old school building filled many roles over years

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Old school building filled many roles over years

Jim Smith 4 minute read Wednesday, May. 19, 2021

 

East Kildonan School was located on the west side of Henderson Highway, north of McLeod Avenue on what is now the Kildonan Village Shopping Centre; it replaced the earlier Kildonan East School which had opened in 1871.It was built at a cost of around $10,000, by the Elmwood contractor Peter McCalman and it opened on Nov. 16, 1908 as a two-storey structure with one classroom on the main floor and one on the second floor, each classroom was designed to educate 60 students. In 1913 a two-room addition was built at the back of the school at a cost of $11,000 as the enrolment had climbed to about 175 students. The now four room school was now designed to educate 200 students, but the actual enrolment was 230 students when it closed as a school in June 1915.The building had a relatively short existence as a school building from November 1908 to June 1915 with both Lord Wolseley School and Lord Kitchener (now John Pritchard School) opening in 1915 replacing it.In 1915 it became the municipal hall for the Municipality of East Kildonan which had split off from West Kildonan in 1914, The building was purchased from the East Kildonan School District for $15,000. It remained the municipal hall for the next nine years but with the Municipality of North Kildonan splitting off from East Kildonan in 1925, it was now located within the boundaries of the new municipality which now became its new owner.North Kildonan had no need for so a large municipal hall so after a number of attempts to sell it off, it was rented out as the Plaza Inn from 1927 to 1931 and the Coconut Grove 1934 to 1937 and the Big Apple Night Club, from 1937 to 1941.The surrounding school grounds were sold in 1931 to commercial interests with the Redekopp family opening their first store, the Roadside Store behind the building in 1939. The Redekopp’s later purchased the entire property establishing the well known Redekopp Lumber business.The old school building remained on the site until the mid-1960s when it was demolished. It was known as the yellow building for many years as it was painted yellow.In 1986 the entire property which had originally been the school and the school grounds was sold by the Redekopp family to create the Kildonan Village Shopping Centre.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net  

East Kildonan School was located on the west side of Henderson Highway, north of McLeod Avenue on what is now the Kildonan Village Shopping Centre; it replaced the earlier Kildonan East School which had opened in 1871.

It was built at a cost of around $10,000, by the Elmwood contractor Peter McCalman and it opened on Nov. 16, 1908 as a two-storey structure with one classroom on the main floor and one on the second floor, each classroom was designed to educate 60 students. In 1913 a two-room addition was built at the back of the school at a cost of $11,000 as the enrolment had climbed to about 175 students. The now four room school was now designed to educate 200 students, but the actual enrolment was 230 students when it closed as a school in June 1915.

Wednesday, May. 19, 2021

Supplied photo
East Kildonan School opened in November 1908, and was built at a cost of $10,000.

The story of Kildonan East school

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The story of Kildonan East school

Jim Smith 4 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021

Kildonan East School, built in 1871, was the first public school in northeast Winnipeg. Located on a three-quarter-acre parcel of land on the west side of Henderson Highway, just north of what is now Rowandale Avenue, it was a one-room log cabin building measuring 36 feet by 24 feet, built at a cost of $799 including land, building costs and furnishings. Snow and rain often came often came through the cracks between the logs. Although the school was part of the Protestant School Division, it was not run as a Protestant school but as a public school open to everyone in the community. A school board of eight was created with Peter Kauffman as chairman. George Munroe was one of the early teachers. His 1877 salary was listed at $. In 1871-1872, Mr. Whimster taught in the first half of the year with Mr. A Sutherland teaching in the second half. A total of 59 students in grades 1 to 5 were taught in the first year. By 1876, enrolment had increased to 93 students but barely half came to school on a regular basis and around 20 per cent of all potential students in the community were never registered at all because there was no legal requirement for children to attend school until 1915.From the 1870s to the 1890s, the classes taught included spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history and bookkeeping. Generally, more boys attended school than girls with Grade 6 being the last year for almost all students, with many leaving after just Grade 4. To continue after Grade 6, students had to travel outside East Kildonan or study by correspondence. As the only public building in the area, the school building was used for other purposes such as school board meetings, public meetings, concerts and elections. By the early 1900s the school was outdated, too small and too far away for many students to attend on a regular basis. This was especially true for students living in the northeast corner of the municipality so, in 1906, a new school, Rosewell School, was opened. In 1908, Kildonan East School was closed, and the building was torn down when a new school opened where the current strip mall is located.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Kildonan East School, built in 1871, was the first public school in northeast Winnipeg. 

Located on a three-quarter-acre parcel of land on the west side of Henderson Highway, just north of what is now Rowandale Avenue, it was a one-room log cabin building measuring 36 feet by 24 feet, built at a cost of $799 including land, building costs and furnishings. Snow and rain often came often came through the cracks between the logs.

 Although the school was part of the Protestant School Division, it was not run as a Protestant school but as a public school open to everyone in the community. A school board of eight was created with Peter Kauffman as chairman. 

Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021

Kildonan East School, built in 1871, was the first public school in northeast Winnipeg. Located on a three-quarter-acre parcel of land on the west side of Henderson Highway, just north of what is now Rowandale Avenue, it was a one-room log cabin building measuring 36 feet by 24 feet, built at a cost of $799 including land, building costs and furnishings. Snow and rain often came often came through the cracks between the logs. Although the school was part of the Protestant School Division, it was not run as a Protestant school but as a public school open to everyone in the community. A school board of eight was created with Peter Kauffman as chairman. George Munroe was one of the early teachers. His 1877 salary was listed at $. In 1871-1872, Mr. Whimster taught in the first half of the year with Mr. A Sutherland teaching in the second half. A total of 59 students in grades 1 to 5 were taught in the first year. By 1876, enrolment had increased to 93 students but barely half came to school on a regular basis and around 20 per cent of all potential students in the community were never registered at all because there was no legal requirement for children to attend school until 1915.From the 1870s to the 1890s, the classes taught included spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history and bookkeeping. Generally, more boys attended school than girls with Grade 6 being the last year for almost all students, with many leaving after just Grade 4. To continue after Grade 6, students had to travel outside East Kildonan or study by correspondence. As the only public building in the area, the school building was used for other purposes such as school board meetings, public meetings, concerts and elections. By the early 1900s the school was outdated, too small and too far away for many students to attend on a regular basis. This was especially true for students living in the northeast corner of the municipality so, in 1906, a new school, Rosewell School, was opened. In 1908, Kildonan East School was closed, and the building was torn down when a new school opened where the current strip mall is located.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Kildonan East School, built in 1871, was the first public school in northeast Winnipeg. 

Located on a three-quarter-acre parcel of land on the west side of Henderson Highway, just north of what is now Rowandale Avenue, it was a one-room log cabin building measuring 36 feet by 24 feet, built at a cost of $799 including land, building costs and furnishings. Snow and rain often came often came through the cracks between the logs.

 Although the school was part of the Protestant School Division, it was not run as a Protestant school but as a public school open to everyone in the community. A school board of eight was created with Peter Kauffman as chairman. 

Early Elmwood history, part 2

Jim Smith 5 minute read Preview

Early Elmwood history, part 2

Jim Smith 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021

The name ‘Elmwood,’ covering the district from Harbison Avenue and the area to the south, only came into existence after the creation of the Elmwood Cemetery in 1902, according to the research I have done. The irony of this fact is that, in the area west of Henderson Highway closest to the Elmwood Cemetery, now called Glenelm, many current residents of that area do not wish to use ‘Elmwood’ to describe their area. Glenelm was only created by those residents in the 1990s. It is named after the only school in Elmwood west of Henderson Highway which was not even the original name of the school built in 1929, which was called Glenwood School.Prior to the Elmwood name coming into existence, the area was referred to as the Louise Bridge District or Kildonan Village, as Elmwood was part of the Municipality of Kildonan until 1906, when it became part of the City of Winnipeg. Many street names in Elmwood have changed over the years, especially in the early years after 1906. The southern part of Elmwood was part of the Town of St Boniface prior to 1896, which accounts for some of its French street names.Henderson Highway in the 1800s was called the East Road to distinguish it from the West Road, which was Main Street. By 1900, all of Henderson Highway was called Birds Hill Road. In 1909 the City of Winnipeg renamed its portion Kelvin Street while the area to the north was renamed East Kildonan Road and in 1929, Henderson Highway. Kelvin Street remained the Elmwood portion of the road until 1963, when it, too, became Henderson Highway.In 1906 several street were renamed. Chambers Avenue became Chalmers Avenue; Jackson Avenue became Johnson Avenue; Lemoine Avenue became  part of Nairn Avenue; Minto Street turned into Grey Street; Nairn’s Road became Nairn Avenue; Palk Avenue became Sandhurst Avenue; Railway Street turned into Raleigh Street; Regent Street became Rodent Street; Stewart Avenue became Hart Avenue; Taylor Avenue became Talbot Avenue; Plessis Avenue became Newton Avenue, which was changed again in 1973 to William Newton Avenue.Later street name changes include Vaudreuil Avenue to Midwinter Avenue in 1939; Montcalm Street south of Chalmers Avenue to Archibald Street in the early 1950s, and then to Watt Street in 1960. Panet Road became Birds Hill Road in 1909 and was then changed back to Panet in 1970Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

The name ‘Elmwood,’ covering the district from Harbison Avenue and the area to the south, only came into existence after the creation of the Elmwood Cemetery in 1902, according to the research I have done. 

The irony of this fact is that, in the area west of Henderson Highway closest to the Elmwood Cemetery, now called Glenelm, many current residents of that area do not wish to use ‘Elmwood’ to describe their area. Glenelm was only created by those residents in the 1990s. It is named after the only school in Elmwood west of Henderson Highway which was not even the original name of the school built in 1929, which was called Glenwood School.

Prior to the Elmwood name coming into existence, the area was referred to as the Louise Bridge District or Kildonan Village, as Elmwood was part of the Municipality of Kildonan until 1906, when it became part of the City of Winnipeg.

Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021

Manitoba Historical Society
The area now known as Glenelm was named for Glenelm School, which was called Glenwood School when it was built in 1929 (not to be confused with Glenwood School in Old St. Vital).

The early settlement of Elmwood

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The early settlement of Elmwood

Jim Smith 4 minute read Monday, Mar. 8, 2021

Many people may think Elmwood was the first area settled in northeast Winnipeg but in fact it was last; there were farms in East Kildonan and North Kildonan before there were any in Elmwood.The reason for this was the early parish lot houses were located near the Red River and, of the three areas, Elmwood was the lowest in elevation in relation to the river, much of the area was swampy and flooded frequently, making it undesirable for farming.  In the years before the Selkirk Settlers arrived in 1812, the Seine River which now flows into the Red River in north St. Boniface flowed into the Red further north, in what is now Elmwood. The evidence for this can be seen along Brazier Street and Johnson Avenue, where the roadway dips, and near Chalmers Avenue and Henderson Highway, where the former river channel can be seen. Much of what is now Glenelm, the area west of Henderson Highway, was a low-lying, swampy area prior to the 1890s. As late as the 1880s it was considered an ideal location for duck hunting in the fall.What really began the settlement of Elmwood was the building of the original Louise Bridge in 1880 and the first area to be settled intensely was the area close to the bridge along Nairn Avenue. This was the first area to develop businesses in the district.The southern part of Elmwood was actually part of the town of St. Boniface until 1896, when the small English-speaking population voted to separate from largely French-speaking St. Boniface and join the English-speaking Municipality of Kildonan, which then consisted of present-day East Kildonan, North Kildonan, West Kildonan and Old Kildonan as well as part of the North End.By 1905, as Elmwood grew, the local residents of Harbison Avenue and the area to the south wanted more city services, which the municipality was unwilling to provide so a vote was taken and Elmwood joined the City of Winnipeg in 1906. It would take another 66 years before the area to the north became part of Winnipeg. With the opening of the Redwood Bridge in 1908-09, the centre of the community, along with the main business district, shifted to the Henderson Highway part of Elmwood.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Many people may think Elmwood was the first area settled in northeast Winnipeg but in fact it was last; there were farms in East Kildonan and North Kildonan before there were any in Elmwood.

The reason for this was the early parish lot houses were located near the Red River and, of the three areas, Elmwood was the lowest in elevation in relation to the river, much of the area was swampy and flooded frequently, making it undesirable for farming.  

In the years before the Selkirk Settlers arrived in 1812, the Seine River which now flows into the Red River in north St. Boniface flowed into the Red further north, in what is now Elmwood. The evidence for this can be seen along Brazier Street and Johnson Avenue, where the roadway dips, and near Chalmers Avenue and Henderson Highway, where the former river channel can be seen. 

Monday, Mar. 8, 2021

Photo by Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg
The building of the original Louise Bridge in 1880 (present-day version is pictured) helped facilitate the settlement of what was to become Elmwood.

Interested in the history of our area?

Jim Smith 4 minute read Preview

Interested in the history of our area?

Jim Smith 4 minute read Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

 

The North East Winnipeg Historical Society covers the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area and has existed since 2010. Its mandate is to collect and preserve the history of the area for present and future generations. I am the current president of the organization and we meet on the third Wednesday of every month (except July and August) at 7 p.m. at the Bronx Park Community Centre but, owing to the present pandemic situation, we have met only three times in the past year.Once restrictions on gatherings have been lifted and it is safe to do so, we will begin meeting again. Everyone is welcome to attend society meetings.Society members attend many community events and we also create our own events. We have had guest speakers on historical matters of interest and we have also created a dozen different historical walks of the area which have proven popular We have our own website - www.newpghs.com - where one can find some of my original research, along with articles from local newspapers on historical events of the area and a large selection of historical maps.We also have a very large and active Facebook page at North East Winnipeg Historical Society.One of our largest projects has been the creation and publication of three books on the history of the area. All three are available for sale and . can be obtained from Maureen Silk at mtsilk@shaw.ca or myself at jimsmith@mts.net or by calling 204-338-7753. We have sold hundreds of each of our volumes already but if you haven’t obtained a copy yet or you know of someone who may be interested, please contact us.I believe that in order to know where we are going we need to now where we came from and the North East Winnipeg Historical Society attempts to do this. We are hopeful that in the future we will have a location of our own.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net The North East Winnipeg Historical Society covers the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area and has existed since 2010. 

Its mandate is to collect and preserve the history of the area for present and future generations. I am the current president of the organization and we meet on the third Wednesday of every month (except July and August) at 7 p.m. at the Bronx Park Community Centre but, owing to the present pandemic situation, we have met only three times in the past year.

Once restrictions on gatherings have been lifted and it is safe to do so, we will begin meeting again. Everyone is welcome to attend society meetings.

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Supplied image
The North East Winnipeg Historical Society has published three volumes of local history.

The oldest hotel in northeast Winnipeg

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The oldest hotel in northeast Winnipeg

Jim Smith 4 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020

The LaSalle Hotel at 346 Nairn Ave. is the oldest hotel in the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area, built in 1914 at a cost of $130,000. It was not the first hotel in Elmwood, though; that honour belonged to the Riverview Hotel built in 1906 at 322 Nairn but it was destroyed by fire just a few years later.The LaSalle was built by John Beaman and W. J. Holmes, who were also the original owners. They remained the owners until the mid-1920s when the Shea Brewery Company took over and maintained their ownership into the 1950s. The hotel was built with 52 rooms, two parlours and a restaurant with an outside dining room overlooking the Red River. A billiard room on the main floor contained five pool and billiard tables. Balconies were built on the second and third floors, allowing guests a view of the river.  A boathouse was also constructed that could hold 25 rowboats and canoes. In 1914, building regulations were much less strict than they are today, which allowed the hotel to be built right on the riverbank — something that would not be allowed today. This has caused the hotel to be threatened by flood waters on many occasions but it has fortunately avoided serious damage.Room rates in 1914 were $1.25 per day for single occupancy and $2 per day for double occupancy. A liquor license was obtained in 1914 despite the opposition of many local residents and the temperance movement. Prohibition came to Manitoba in 1916 and lasted until 1923, which shut down all liquor trade in the hotel.During the worst of the Spanish influenza pandemic of October and November 1918 the hotel served as a satellite hospital for local residents in dire need of medical attention with no family members to help look after them.The LaSalle has often been the first location in which many young people from Elmwood and elsewhere have enjoyed their first legal drinks.In recent years the hotel has been renovated and updated.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

The LaSalle Hotel at 346 Nairn Ave. is the oldest hotel in the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area, built in 1914 at a cost of $130,000. It was not the first hotel in Elmwood, though; that honour belonged to the Riverview Hotel built in 1906 at 322 Nairn but it was destroyed by fire just a few years later.

The LaSalle was built by John Beaman and W. J. Holmes, who were also the original owners. They remained the owners until the mid-1920s when the Shea Brewery Company took over and maintained their ownership into the 1950s. 

The hotel was built with 52 rooms, two parlours and a restaurant with an outside dining room overlooking the Red River. A billiard room on the main floor contained five pool and billiard tables. Balconies were built on the second and third floors, allowing guests a view of the river.  A boathouse was also constructed that could hold 25 rowboats and canoes. In 1914, building regulations were much less strict than they are today, which allowed the hotel to be built right on the riverbank — something that would not be allowed today. This has caused the hotel to be threatened by flood waters on many occasions but it has fortunately avoided serious damage.

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020

Supplied photo
The LaSalle Hotel and Nairn Avenue in 1917, viewed from the Red River.

E.K. was once home to an oil refinery

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E.K. was once home to an oil refinery

Jim Smith 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

Many people today may not be aware that there once was an oil refinery in the heart of East Kildonan. Located along the south side of Munroe Avenue from Golspie to Raleigh streets, the property today is owned by Jeld-Wen. It was run by the Radio Oil Company (ROCO) and was their only oil refinery. At its peak in the late 1960s, ROCO had 32 gasoline stations in the Greater Winnipeg area and 38 stations in Manitoba, owned by the Hechter family of Winnipeg. By today’s standards it was a small refinery at its peak capacity, producing 2,000 barrels of oil per day. Crude oil was brought to the refinery from the United States by truck and the refined products were also taken out by truck. Construction of the refinery began in 1920 and it opened the following. It was the first oil refinery in Manitoba and operated with just over 100 employees at its peak. In 1949, the Hechter family wanted to expand the refinery by closing Munroe Avenue and expanding to the north side of Munroe Avenue but over 1,000 residents of East Kildonan signed a petition against expansion and the East Kildonan Municipal Council turned down the proposal. As a result, the refinery was shut down by the late 1950s and became a storage facility for oil and gasoline products, as a well as a boat manufacturing facility. It suffered four serious fires from the 1930s to the 1960s which threatened the area around the refinery and required the combined efforts of the East Kildonan and Winnipeg fire departments to extinguish. In the days before the sewer was built along Munroe Avenue in the late 1950s, an open ditch ran alongside the plant, into which the various oil products often leaked, creating a situation where stray cigarette butts or matches often started small fires.In the 1960s, a lack of maintenance meant local residents became increasingly concerned about the safety of having an oil storage facility in the community. By the early 1970s, the storage facility was shut down but nothing was done to clean up the site and remove the derelict equipment until 1979. ROCO was sold to Husky Oil in 1978.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Many people today may not be aware that there once was an oil refinery in the heart of East Kildonan. Located along the south side of Munroe Avenue from Golspie to Raleigh streets, the property today is owned by Jeld-Wen.

 It was run by the Radio Oil Company (ROCO) and was their only oil refinery. At its peak in the late 1960s, ROCO had 32 gasoline stations in the Greater Winnipeg area and 38 stations in Manitoba, owned by the Hechter family of Winnipeg. By today’s standards it was a small refinery at its peak capacity, producing 2,000 barrels of oil per day. Crude oil was brought to the refinery from the United States by truck and the refined products were also taken out by truck.

 Construction of the refinery began in 1920 and it opened the following. It was the first oil refinery in Manitoba and operated with just over 100 employees at its peak. In 1949, the Hechter family wanted to expand the refinery by closing Munroe Avenue and expanding to the north side of Munroe Avenue but over 1,000 residents of East Kildonan signed a petition against expansion and the East Kildonan Municipal Council turned down the proposal. As a result, the refinery was shut down by the late 1950s and became a storage facility for oil and gasoline products, as a well as a boat manufacturing facility.

Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

Manitoba Archives
This 1962 photo shows the ROCO oil refinery facility on the left, along Munroe Avenue.

Historical society wants your old photos

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Historical society wants your old photos

Jim Smith 5 minute read Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

Many people are in the process of downsizing or having to deal with objects owned by a parent or other relatives. Often when people do this, old photographs or old documents are not valued and are just thrown out. This is a loss to the community, as these old photographs and documents are part of the history of the community and can help tell the story of our past.I would encourage people to consider donating these to an archive or a museum or —  in the case of people living in the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area — to the North East Winnipeg Historical Society. Photographs and documents relating to this area can play an important role in telling the history of the area. So much of the history of northeast Winnipeg has been lost over the decades. This area is one of the oldest settled areas in all of Manitoba; the first resident, John Pritchard, was here even before the first group of Selkirk Settlers arrived in 1812. He started the first school in the area in the late 1820sWe at the North East Winnipeg Historical Society would greatly appreciate the donation of such items. We will keep such photographs and documents that are relevant to the area and either return the items we cannot use to you or dispose the items in a way that will protect your personal privacy and that of your family.We have been looking for years for pictures of local businesses that no longer exist. Some items that come to mind are pictures of the old Eldorado Drive-in Theatre, which existed for six years from 1950 to 1956 or the Radio Oil refinery (ROCO) which existed on the current Jeld-Wen property along Munroe Avenue from 1931 to the early 1970s.These are just some examples of what we’re looking for. If you have pictures of certain locations in the past these can be of great value for remembering and preserving our history. Even pictures of family members can be important, especially if they played an important role in the community. Once these pictures and documents are just thrown out, they are lost forever.If you do have any pictures or documents relating to the Elmwood, East Kildonan or North Kildonan area, please email Maureen at mtsilk@shaw.ca, info@newpgh.com or call Donna at 204-339-2547  Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

Many people are in the process of downsizing or having to deal with objects owned by a parent or other relatives. Often when people do this, old photographs or old documents are not valued and are just thrown out. 

This is a loss to the community, as these old photographs and documents are part of the history of the community and can help tell the story of our past.

I would encourage people to consider donating these to an archive or a museum or —  in the case of people living in the Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan area — to the North East Winnipeg Historical Society. Photographs and documents relating to this area can play an important role in telling the history of the area. 

Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

Supplied photo
The North East Winnipeg Historical Society is looking for old photos from the area, such as this picture of the Smith-Blatherwick Gas Station at the southwest corner of Kimberly Avenue and Henderson Highway late 1920s or early 1930s.

The origins of high school in East Kildonan

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The origins of high school in East Kildonan

Jim Smith 4 minute read Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

This September marked the 100th anniversary of Prince Edward School on Brazier Street and, while most people think of it as an elementary school, it has been much more than that over its history. The first high school in all of northeast Winnipeg, called East Kildonan Collegiate, was established at Prince Edward School in 1921 with 41 students in Grade 9.  September 1922 saw Grade 10 added for a total of 74 students and in 1923, Grade 11 was added for a total of 98. In 1926-27, its last year at Prince Edward, East Kildonan Collegiate had 110 students. In September 1927, East Kildonan Collegiate moved to the second floor of Lord Wolseley School on Henderson Highway due to a shortage of classroom space in Prince Edward, which also contained students in grades 1 through 8. Lord Wolseley also housed grades 1 to 6 on its first floor but, due the much smaller elementary population, sufficient space existed for high school students at Lord Wolseley. In its first year at Lord Wolseley, the high school’s enrolment was 134 students and it increased rapidly in the years that followed, reaching a peak of 407 students in the 1936-37 school year — all crammed into six classrooms on the second floor and two extra classrooms created in the basement. The boys took shops classes once a week in a room in the original Polson School located on Winterton Avenue, while the girls took home economics in the annex building at the same school. Grade 12 was first offered at East Kildonan Collegiate in the 1931-32 school year and only twice more in other, isolated years until the last year of East Kildonan Collegiate at Lord Wolseley in the 1951-52 school year. High school was very different from what students experience today, as the school contained no library, no gym, no science rooms and no other specialty classrooms. Every student took exactly the same courses,  as there was only one program for all students. To play indoor sports, such as basketball and volleyball, students had to travel to the YMCA downtown as there were no gyms in the area. In 1952 a new school just for high school students was built at 757 Roch St. It was originally to be called East Kildonan Collegiate but was renamed Miles Macdonell Collegiate before its opening.Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net 

This September marked the 100th anniversary of Prince Edward School on Brazier Street and, while most people think of it as an elementary school, it has been much more than that over its history.

The first high school in all of northeast Winnipeg, called East Kildonan Collegiate, was established at Prince Edward School in 1921 with 41 students in Grade 9.  September 1922 saw Grade 10 added for a total of 74 students and in 1923, Grade 11 was added for a total of 98. In 1926-27, its last year at Prince Edward, East Kildonan Collegiate had 110 students.

In September 1927, East Kildonan Collegiate moved to the second floor of Lord Wolseley School on Henderson Highway due to a shortage of classroom space in Prince Edward, which also contained students in grades 1 through 8. Lord Wolseley also housed grades 1 to 6 on its first floor but, due the much smaller elementary population, sufficient space existed for high school students at Lord Wolseley.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

Canstar file photo
Prince Edward School, located at 649 Brazier St., celebrates its centennial this month. Principal and former student Kai Jacobs is pictured in a recent file photo at the iconic old entrance to the school. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)