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Friday, 28 February 2014

Behind the Photo: Winnipeg Police Tug-o-War Team (1918)

Often I will see an old photo or ad and spend some time digging into the back story. Sometimes I find a great story, sometimes not. Either way, I learn a few things about the city's history. Here's my latest attempt:

wpg police tug o war team '18
Winnipeg Police Tug-o-War Team, 1918
by L. B. Foote, Archives of Manitoba (Source)

This photo was likely taken at the Winnipeg Street Railway Sports Day at River Park, (near present day Jubilee and Osborne), on  Saturday, September 21, 1918. If so, the team consisted of: Joseph Mulholland, Anchor; William Duncan; Daniel McKenzie; Samuel J. Samson; John Bell; A Gwynne; H. Sleeman; Colin McKenzie; J Scholta; J. J. Samson (captain); Walter Hughes, coach.

September 19, 1918, Winnipeg Tribune

This was the first such event put on by the Street Railway Amateur Athletic Association. The invitees were public services employees from the gas works, electric company, police department,  fire department, railway police and, of course, the streetcar workers. 

The day featured dozens of athletic events. There was track and field, bicycle races, tug-o-war, baseball and soccer tournaments. Other entertainment included bands, children's games and a quilting contest. Officials from the city and respective utilities were in attendance to present the prizes and choose raffle winners.

September 23, 1918, Manitoba Free Press

In the end, the police beat out the C.P.R. Police and Winnipeg Electric Street Railway teams to take the top prize in the tug-o-war. The best all-round track athlete award, the McLimont Cup, was presented to Ken Sutherland of the Street Railway soccer team for his running abilities.

August 28, 1918, Winnipeg Tribune

It was vindication for the police. The previous month at the Kiwanis Karnival, they lost the tug-o-war to the firefighters !

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