Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Updated!! 2015-2016 Local History Buff's Christmas Gift Guide

Here is my sixth annual gift guide for the local history buff in your life. Books, t-shirts, magazines,mugs, memberships and more!


A mainstay of any history buff's gift list are books, of course! I've created an Amazon store called the Manitoba History Bookstore and assembled about 100 titles, new and old. There's also a section for out of print books that you might be able to find at used bookstores, plus a children's category!

Here is a list of some great titles. Those with an asterisk indicate that they are new for 2015.

** The Winnipeg Architecture Foundation continues to add items to its bookshelf. New for this year is the Colour Your City colouring book featuring dozens of Winnipeg's best known buildings. Also, MB 2015 A Collection of Manitoba Architecture showcases the year that was in Manitoba architecture. They continue to carry their extensive collection of illustrated   walking tour pocket books as well. 

Check out their online shop or new storefront office in the Exchange!

** Gary Moir looks back at the radio stations and personalities that brought Manitobans together in the fun times and periods of crisis in On the Air: The Golden Age of Manitoba Radio. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

** In Wish You Were Here, Stan Milosevic of ManitobaPhotos.com shares some of his wonderful collection of colour-tinted postcards from Winnipeg's past, including the inscriptions written by the senders! (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

** Over a decade in the making, DELTA: A Prairie Marsh and its People combines history, science and beautiful photography to tell the story of this region of the province. To hear an interview with Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, one of the co-authors. (MHS, McNally, other retailers)

** Take a walk on Winnipeg's wild side with Haunted Winnipeg. Nine stories about some of Winnipeg's best known buildings and the creepy things that go on inside them at night. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

** Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story is the latest graphic novel by David Alexander Robertson recounting the story of a dark chapter in our province's history. Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson. (McNally) 

 You can never go wrong with Winnie the Pooh! here's the latest book written about the real-life bear! (Amazon, Chapters, McNally) Also, check out this review in The Guardian.

** The illustrated Historical Atlas of the East Reserve tells the story of Mennonite immigration and settlement on the east side of the Red River in Manitoba. (CW, MHV bookstore)

** A Knock on the Door  The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by Phil Fontaine and Aimée Craft Will be available from the U of M Press in January 2016.

** Over the past 20+ years thousands of players have passed through town but there has been one constant on Winnipeg's sports scene: Dancing Gabe. A legend is his own time, One Step at a Time. (Chapters, McNally)

Brian Darragh, one of Winnipeg's last streetcar operator, put together this look back at our forgotten streetcar heritage. heck out the accompanying website. (Amazon, McNally, Friesen's)

The Patriotic Consensus  Unity, Morale, and the Second World War in Winnipeg by Dr.  Jody Perrun takes a look at what it was like in Winnipeg while World War II raged overseas. Hear my interview with the author. (McNally, Amazon)

The Roblin goes behind the scenes of Adelaide Street's Roblin Hotel, Canada's last men's only hotel and beer parlour. Check out my my interview with the author. (McNally)

From the publishers of Canada's History magazine is Canada's Great War Album to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada's entry into the Great War. (Direct, Amazon)

Larissa Peck's Decaf Coffee Dates - Stories and Insights from Winnipeg Seniors contains ten stories with local seniors about their lives, past, present and future. Hear my interview with her here. (McNally)

This is from 2013, but a book every Winnipegger should own. Imagining Winnipeg a collection of some of L. B. Foote's most interesting photographs of early Winnipeg, many never before published. (U of M Press, McNally, Amazon)

Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba looks at the history of three well known Manitoba Mennonite Businesses, printing company Friesens Corporation, the window manufacturer Loewen, and the furniture manufacturer Palliser. See the author introduce her book here. (U of T Press, McNally, Amazon)

Also from 2013, Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg. Journalist Barley Kives and photographer Bryan Scott team up to check out the highs and lows of everyday Winnipeg. To hear my interview with the author. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

Also from 2013 is 300 Years of Beer: An Illustrated Guide to Brewing in Manitoba. Meticulously researched and full of many never before seen images of breweries and beer memorabilia from locations across Manitoba. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

Still around is Russ Gourluck's 2012 offering: Silver Screens on the Prairies. Be sure to check out his previous works and pick them up before they're out of print. The Mosaic Village: An Illustrated History of Winnipeg’s North End and his books on the Winnipeg Tribune, Eaton's and Portage Avenue. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

Manitoba History is the quarterly journal of the Manitoba Historical Society. Single copies can be purchased at McNally Robinson, (check out a preview of the current edition), or get it free with a membership in the MHS. Contact them about back copy sales.

No more snickering because The Beaver is now called Canada's History Magazine. They also publish Kayak: Canadian History for Kids. Both are produced right here in Winnipeg and you can order gift subscriptions.


It's Winnipeg. It's winter. It's gonna get cold. Who wouldn't want an HBC blanket ? If that's a little pricey for you, HBC has a range of products from t-shirts to Swiss Army knives and even dog sweaters.

Heritage Winnipeg still has Winnipeg Streetcar 356 t-shirts, but only XL and XXL. Proceeds go towards the Streetcar 356 Restoration Project.

How about a founding father? Check out the St. Boniface Museum Gift Shop which has a wide range of items, including Metis flags, voyageur sashes and those Keepin' It Riel tees.

The roots of Fort Garry Brewing Co. go back to 1930 and after a 40 year absence was reestablished in 1999. They have some nice retro tees at their beer store.

The Musée St. Joseph Museum Gift Shop is open year round. They feature crafts from area artists including place mats and dishtowels woven on the museum's own antique loom.


Many museums have their own shops where you're sure to find something unique. Here are links to some of them: St. Boniface Museum - Manitoba Museum - Daly House.

The Manitoba Museum also invites you to adopt an artefact from their collection. It costs between $35 and $500, depending on the object, and you can switch it up year after year!

The Winnipeg Architecture Foundation  offers a wide selection of Winnipeg-related merchandise featuring electronic Winnipeg buildings. Pins, fridge magnets, mugs, tea towels and more. Shop online or visit them at 266 McDermot, (Mon - Fri from noon to 4:30.)

The Golden Boy Gift Shop at the Manitoba Legislature celebrates everything Manitoba. From Manitoba crested glasses and mugs to Golden Boy scarves and toques.


Heritage Winnipeg also has an online store. it includes a collection of prints by Robert J. Sweeney or, how about a copy of Fonseca's 1884 city map suitable for framing ? Check out more items here.

Historica Canada, the folks who bring you the Heritage Minutes, have greeting cards, buttons and a limited edition poster collection featuring famous people and events from their series. Check out their online shop here.

More art? How about this wonderful print ! Winnipeg 1919 by Raymond Biesinger measures 24.24" x 24.25" and is available framed or unframed at Tiny Feast gift store in the Exchange.

Elaina El's cityscapes include historic buildings such as the Telegram Building and West End Cultural Centre.


Did you know that the City Clerk's Department, main floor of the council building at city hall, has a great collection of Winnipeg branded merchandise? Some feature the some featuring the dancing logo and others the city crest.

Mugs, water bottles, pens key chains, watches, fleeces etc. are definitely worth checking out and the prices are very reasonable, (2014-2015 price list: travel mugs $8, mugs $5, caps $8.50). Inquiries: cityclerks@winnipeg.ca or see their display case between 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.

Looking for a license plate to celebrate someone's birth year or two finish off a collection? The Musée St. Joseph Museum Gift Shop has a large collection for $7 each.

Winnipeg's Salvage Supermaket offers a wide range of old building materials, from the mundane to the downright odd. Want some letters from the giant signs that hung on the side of the Winnipeg Convention Centre or perhaps a floor safe? Check out their miscellaneous section.

For the person who has everything, what about an international port and historic Hudson Bay Railway rail line?! OmniTrax just announced that it is selling the Port of Churchill and HBR.
The Winnipeg Transit / Manitoba Transit Heritage Association 2016 calendar is now out. It contains great photos of Winnipeg's transit history, from streetcars and trolleys to early diesel buses. Just $5, get it at the Transit Customer Service Centre (Portage and Main), Transit Treasury Office at 65 Garry and Transit Customer Service Office at 414 Osborne Street.


I fall else fails, remember that museums and heritage groups run on shoestring budgets and are always seeking new members and donations. Why not buy someone a membership or make a donation on their behalf ?

You can find a complete list of museums here. Some deserving groups:


Daisy said...

Excellent list!! Thanks!

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