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Sunday, 31 July 2022

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols at Club Morocco

© 2022, Christian Cassidy

June 16, 1969, Winnipeg Tribune

Nichelle Nichols, who passed away yesterday at the age of 89, was best known for her role as Uhura on Star Trek. Before TV fame, she was a singer who got her break with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. (For more on a Duke Ellington visit to Winnipeg.)

With Star Trek over, it was back to the lounge circuit which brought Nichols to Winnipeg's Club Morocco for an engagement that lasted June 9 to 28, 1969. Locals would have been very familiar with Nichols as the final episode of Star Trek had just aired the previous week. (CTV carried the original series in Canada.)

Nichols performed with her long-time accompanist Duke Mondy whom she married in 1968. Additional accompaniment was provided by Club Morocco's house band, the Al Sprintz Orchestra.


Winnipeg Tribune Photo Collection, University of Manitoba Archives

Bill Trebilcoe of the Free Press noted that Nichols had just appeared in Lake Tahoe on the same bill with Danny Thomas before coming to Winnipeg. He asked Nichols why she would come to Winnipeg when she could get such shows closer to home. She replied that she needs a lot of work "to get back on the singing kick".

The Free Press paid Nichols little attention, aside from a paragraph in Trebilcoe's column. The Tribune, on the other hand, did a feature interview with entertainment writer Ted Allen and columnist-at-large Gene Telpner mentioned her numerous times in his daily entertainment column.

Telpner, who seemed to have a serious crush on Nichols, wrote of her smooth voice and sensuous delivery, noting that she had "a professionally trained voice that makes mountains out of musical molehills." He quipped in one column that she was one of the best acts Harry Smith has booked in a long time.

Weeks after her engagement, Telpner received a note from Nichols thanking him for the nice reviews.  "It was a most enjoyable engagement in Winnipeg, warmest regards to you and your wife, hope we meet again."

For examples of Nichols' music, go here and here.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Another old downtown retailer closes shop


December 15, 1979, Winnipeg Free Press

Sad news that Nathan Detroit's Sandwich Pad has closed. It opened in Lombard Place in 1979 and was one of very few 1970s-era retailers to still call downtown home.

The Yamron family, who have owned it since the beginning, have established the Nathan Detroit's Sandwich Pad Legacy Fund to carry on the eateries name and good works.


November 22, 1980, Winnipeg Free Press

Lombard Place was Winnipeg's first downtown shopping mall and was built underneath the parkade serving the Richardson Building / Winnipeg Inn / Bank of Canada development at Portage and Main.

It originally contained fifteen stores that opened between October and December 1970. Some of the original tenants included Jade Gift Shop, Boutique de Fleurs, then Strain's Camera Shop, Cafe Lombard, Super Save Drug Mart – ATO Box Office, Laura Secord, United Cigar Store, Classic Book Shop, and various hair salons and upscale clothing boutiques. Photographer Paul Charach opened his studio there in 1973.

What was downtown's second shopping mall?

That credit goes to the Merchandise Mart (later rechristened the Alabama Block) at Ellice and Hargrave. It was developed by Alex Mitchell in 1974 and contained about twelve units measuring 600 square feet. They each had an entrance to the street but were also connected via a central heated always accessed through a common entrance on Ellice.

The site is now home to the Glass House condos.

For more about eh Alabama Block, you can read my post about it here.

Friday, 15 July 2022

Broadway's trees

 

A collage of  images showing Broadway's trees from about 1910 to 1945 taken from various sources.

If you look closely, you will notice that there were FOUR rows of trees during that time. Two ran along the boulevard and one along each sidewalk.


The sidewalk rows were removed in the summer of 1952 to make way for a street widening project.

There was talk of also losing the boulevard trees because their growth was causing them at times to interfere with the streetcar line. that debate ended when streetcar service was discontinued in 1955.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Cardale, Manitoba


On a recent road trip, I stopped in at the hamlet of Cardale, Manitoba. One structure that caught my eye was the former McTavish Motors building.

According to the book History of Blanshard Municipality Vol. III, McTavish Motors was established around 1915 by T J McTavish as an insurance business. It soon expanded to sell gasoline, oil, and car parts. it eventually became an Esso service station.

In the late 1920s the family moved into the trucking business delivering everything from cream to  gravel to surrounding towns and added a tractor and implements shop.

The building was expanded a number of times to house the new business interests.

In 1946, T J and his son Lorne bought a Ford Dealership and sold cars, tractors, implements and parts. In 1984, the year the book was written, it was still a Ford parts shop and sold Morris equipment. 

An ad in the Shoal Lake Star notes that the retirement auction sale of the business took place on April 19, 1985.

Lorne McTavish died in 1999.

More of my images of Cardale, MB.

Friday, 1 July 2022

The long and controversial road from Dominion Day to Canada Day

© 2022, Christian Cassidy

This story first appeared in the Winnipeg Real Estate News of July 1, 2019


Manitoba’s first Dominion Day celebration
Manitoba Free Press, July 1, 1871

It may come as a surprise that the July 1st holiday has only been known officially as “Canada Day” since 1983. The change from Dominion Day to Canada Day was decades in the making and quite controversial.

On May 22, 1867, Queen Victoria signed a proclamation that “on and after the 1st day of July 1867, the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada.”  The term “dominion” comes from the bible, Zechariah 10:9: “His dominion will extend from sea to sea.”

Governor General Charles Monck issued a proclamation of his own the following year declaring July 1 the “day on which the anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada be duly celebrated.” It wasn’t until 1879 that the snappier moniker “Dominion Day” was created and it was made a national holiday.

Manitoba missed the first few Dominion Days as it did not become a province until 1870 but made up for it in 1871 with a celebration in Winnipeg that included a variety of competitions, including a cricket match, running races, and “climbing the greasy pole.”

Antoine-Philéas Côté, M. P. (from parl.gc.ca)

As Canada stepped out from Britain’s shadow, there were several attempts through private members bills to change the name of the July 1st holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day. The first appears to have been that of Quebec M.P. Antoine-Philéas Côté in 1946, during the Second World War, who wanted to put the name Canada “in the ears and the eyes of the world.”

Côté’s bill came up for debate in the House of Commons in April. Those against it considered the change akin to Canada turning its back on its ties with Britain. M. J. Coldwell, CCF leader and a supporter of the bill, chided its critics as being “afraid to assume the name of Canada for its national holiday.” 

The sometimes boisterous debate went late into the evening and when the final vote was called, the bill passed by a 123 to 62 margin.

As the bill awaited debate in the Senate, the Daughters of the Empire and some church and military organizations campaigned against the Canada Day name. The Winnipeg Tribune called those supporting it as merely “posturing” and claimed Dominion had a “brave, satisfying ring.”


1946 Gallup Poll results
June 1, 1946, Winnipeg Tribune

A national Gallup Poll showed a different picture. It found that 46% per cent of Canadians favoured “Canada Day,” while 29% wanted to keep “Dominion Day” and 21% declared themselves “indifferent.” The pollster noted that younger people were “much more inclined” to support the name change than older ones. 

The Senate approved Côté’s bill in August with the amendment that the name instead be changed to “National Holiday of Canada,” something Côté seemed to be okay with. The bill was then returned to the House of Commons for final approval.

There was just one opportunity before that session of Parliament ended to bring the bill to the floor of the House and Louis St. Laurent, the Liberal justice minister, chose not to do so. He said that in the rush to clear up legislation there was no time to “consider Senate amendments to public bills moved by a private member.” The Canada Day bill died on the order paper.

The following summer, Côté rose during question period to ask his party leader, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, if the government was considering Canada Day legislation of its own. King replied, “I can only say to my honourable friend his bill has not been lost sight of; that it is just one of these things that will have to come forward in due course, but the course is not yet.”


T. Eaton Company ad,
June 29, 1946, Winnipeg Tribune

The government never did introduce legislation, but under Louis St. Laurent as justice minister, then prime minister, the term "Dominion" began disappearing from government departments, (so no more Dominion Health Inspectors or Dominion Bureau of Statistics), and in government publications such as the Canada Gazette.

Thanks to Côté, the name Canada Day entered the lexicon of Canadians. Its use in newspaper stories steadily increased over the next two decades, particularly around the time of Expo 67 when Canada was once again celebrating its independent identity. On a visit to Winnipeg in June 1970, even Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau let the phrase “Canada Day” slip at a public event.

There were a couple of private members bills introduced around the time of Expo. One in February 1966 by Quebec Liberal MP Yves Forest and another in March 1970 by James Brown, Liberal MP for Brandt, Ontario.

In the case of Brown’s bill, the justice committee of the House of Commons recommended that the name of the holiday instead be changed to “Confederation Day,” what July 1st was commonly referred to in Quebec at the time. It was felt that the amendment would appease Quebec nationalists, something Côté did not have to be as mindful of in his era.

The public debate again pitted “traditionalists” with “modernists.” Retired Prime Minister John Diefenbaker campaigned against the change. “Why is there this pell mell rush to obliterate one part of our traditions?” he asked rhetorically in one public speech. He had the support of groups like the Orange Lodge and Monarchists League as well as old-time Tories in Parliament. Brown’s bill appears to have died in the Senate.


Hal Herbert, M.P. (from parl.gc.ca)

It was Harold “Hal” Herbert, Liberal MP for Vaudreuil, Quebec, who finally brought about the name change.

Herbert introduced his first private members bill in 1975, telling the House that its purpose was “to discontinue the use of the word Dominion in the Holidays Act and to eliminate the divisiveness caused by this word, so that all Canadians can celebrate their national holiday with pride and pleasure.”

Herbert’s bill did not make it out of the House, nor did another attempt in 1979. In March 1982 he tried once more.

On the sleepy summer afternoon of July 9, 1982, with just thirteen MPs in the House, “Bill C-201, a bill to amend the Holidays Act to replace Dominion Day with Canada Day” was quietly inserted onto the agenda. In less than five minutes, it sailed through its third and final reading taking everyone by surprise, including Herbert who wasn’t present.

It was up to the Senate to decide C-201’s fate. It heard impassioned arguments for both names during its debates and hearings, but it was clear that the tide had turned in favour of Canada Day. Most telling was a November 1981 Gallup Poll that showed 70% of Canadians favoured the name change.

The Senate passed C-201 on October 25, 1982 and it was given Royal Ascent in plenty of time to plan the celebrations for Canada’s first official Canada Day on July 1, 1983.

Christian writes about local history on his blog, West End Dumplings.
Published on 06/28/2019, Winnipeg Real Estate News

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Last remnants of St. Vital's ag history to be demolished


One of the last remnants of St. Vital's agricultural history, the Riverbend Dairy Farm, is being demolished to make way for a new traffic interchange at St. Mary's Road and the Perimeter.

I had seen photos of these ca. 1933 buildings before, but not being a South End kind of guy I really didn't know where they were located. Luckily, I had to go out that way for work a few days back and there they were!

For more about the history of the farm, read my Winnipeg Places blog post.

 

Friday, 27 May 2022

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Walter Dawson of Winnipeg

© 2022, Christian Cassidy

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts follow this link.


1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

Frederick and Emma Dawson and their eight children ranging in age from 8 to 29 came to Canada from their native England in 1910.

The 1911 census shows them all living together at 309 Carlton Street across from the old Free Press building. (Street directories indicate that they bought what had been a rooming house or boarding house with a large lot and stables.)

Mr. Dawson was a gardener by trade and with five of their children being men 17 years of age and older, most of them worked as well.


March 28, 1916, Winnipeg Tribune

The First World War brought big changes for the Dawson family.

For one, they sold their house on Carlton Street in 1915 and moved to a large family home at 113 Kate Street. (The Farmers and Gardeners Produce Exchange began advertising their new location as 309 Carlton Street in February 1916.)

This may have been a downsize for Fred and Emma as one by one the Dawson boys enlisted to fight in the war.

One of the sons was Walter Dawson who enlisted at Winnipeg on November 14, 1914. (For some reason he enlisted again at Ottawas in January 1915). Born at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, he was 27, single, and worked as a foreman for the underground cable installation division of the city’s light and power department. He also had two years experience in the militia.


May 8, 1916, Winnipeg Free Press

Dawson arrived in France on November 2, 1915, and had an eventful war.

A small article in the May 8, 1916 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press noted that "word had been received by friends" that Dawson was to be recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal likely for his bravery at St. Eloi. The exact nature of his actions was not known.

There was no DCM, but he was awarded the Military Medal for "bravery in the field" in June 1916. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an online description of what he received it for.

Less than three month later, in September 1916, Dawson suffered gunshot wounds to the back and chest and was sent to Egginton Hall Hospital in Derby, England to recover. He was discharged in June 1917 and back on active duty by September.


June 14, 1918, Winnipeg Tribune

Dawson was injured again in the field in June 1918 and his circumstances of death record notes that he died of "gunshot wounds - multiple" at No. 47 General Hospital at Le Treport, France on June 4. He is buried at Mount Huon Military Cemetery at Le Treport, France.

The other Dawson boys appear to have survived the war, though brother William was injured in a gas attack in 1915.

Sadly, their father, Fred Dawson, died not long after the war in March 1919 after "a lengthy illness". (You can read more about the family history at this blog post.)

Related:
Walter Dawson Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Walter Dawson Military File