Saturday, 26 November 2016

The 2016 History Buff's Christmas Gift Guide

Here is my seventh annual gift guide for the local history buff in your life. Books, t-shirts, magazines, mugs, memberships and more. Check back as there are bound to be updates.


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 2016.

**Abandoned Manitoba is a collection of remnants of the past from around the province. The sites, from grain elevators to military installations and mine shafts, are beautifully photographed and well researched to tell their story. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

**The Winnipeg Architecture Foundation continues to add items to its bookshelf. Check out Colour Your City colouring book featuring dozens of Winnipeg's best known buildings. There is also a new children's guide called Exchange Marks the Spot! Be sure to check out their growing collection of illustrated walking tour pocket books as well.

Check out their online shop or storefront office in the Exchange District.

**Relive the Jets' golden age with Geoff Kirbyson's The Hot Line: How the Legendary Trio of Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson Transformed Hockey and Led the Winnipeg Jets to Greatness. (Great Plains, McNally, Amazon)

**Manitoba loves its pro wrestling but its roots go back much further than the days of Stampede Wrestling. Thrashing Seasons looks at the sport's evolution through the 19th and early 20th centuries. (U of M Press, Amazon)

In the world of fiddle music, Woodridge, Manitoba's Andy Dejarlis was - and is - a legend. Tis biography looks at his life and his dedication to his music. To get you in the mood, check out some of his songs on YouTube!

Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors, A National History
**Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors, A National History is a first hand account of Canada's residential school system. It includes many historic photographs of students and their communities as well as images and site maps of of the school buildings. (Portage and Main Press - preview)

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, Chapters)

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 (U of M Press, Chapters, Amazon) Will be available from the U of M Press in January 2016.

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 re-established in 1999. They have some nice retro tees at their gear store.

Red Canoe sells vintage Canadiana t-shirts, bags, hats and other goods. From Avro Aircraft to the "exploding pizza" CBC gem logo.


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 - Musée St. Joseph Museum - Winnipeg Railway Museum - Royal Aviation Museum - Dalnavert Museum

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.

From our finest buildings to our grungiest back lanes, Winnipeg photographer Bryan Scott has captured them all and sells a selection of his images 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 the 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 dancing logo and others the classic 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.

Last year, the City of Winnipeg emptied out its shard yard - pieces of demolished historic buildings that were saved to be incorporated into other projects - and approached Heritage Winnipeg to help find them a home.

A section of pieces are now on display and for sale at Shelmardine's and Heritage Winnipeg has some smaller pieces for sale.

Winnipeg's Salvage Supermarket 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.

The Winnipeg Transit / Manitoba Transit Heritage Association 2017 contains great photos of Winnipeg's transit history, from streetcars and trolleys to early diesel buses.

They're just $5.65, taxes included and available 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:

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