Winnipeg in Focus is a database for archival descriptions and digital collections at the City of Winnipeg Archives.

Showing 109 results

people and organizations

St. Vital (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1880-1971

The Rural Municipality and City of St. Vital dates to 1880 when the RM of St. Boniface was incorporated. After the Town of St. Boniface was formed in 1883, the RM of St. Boniface continued to operate as its own government and in 1903 changed its name to St. Vital to avoid confusion. The name likely derives from one of the earliest schools in the area built by Bishop Taché and named after his coadjutor Bishop Vital Grandin. The municipality experienced a series of boundary changes beginning in 1891 when it was reduced to the east and extended in the west and south. Further alterations were made in 1912 when the community on the west side of the Red River separated to form the RM of Fort Garry, and then in 1914, when a large tract of land was annexed to the City of St. Boniface and land annexed from the RM of Ritchot. It was bounded on the west and east by the Red and Seine Rivers, Carriere Avenue on the north and Grande Pointe on the south. It included parts of the Parishes of St. Boniface, St. Vital, and St. Norbert. In 1960, St. Vital became part of the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg. With the passing of An Act to provide a Charter for the City of St. Vital, it achieved city status on June 9, 1962.

Councils consisted of a Reeve or Mayor and, in most instances, six councillors. The municipality derived authority from provincial legislation and was subject to the provisions of The Municipal Act, The Metropolitan Winnipeg Act and The Greater Winnipeg Gas Distribution Act. It briefly lost its mandate to govern between 1925 and 1927 when the Winnipeg Suburban Municipal Board stepped in due to financial difficulties. Standing committees and delegations changed from year to year in response to municipal growth. Council members notably participated in the St. Vital Advisory Planning Commission, St. Vital Library Board, and St. Vital Parks Board. Departments within the municipality included Administration, Public Works, Police and Fire. In 1952, Police and Fire went from being one department into two. Shortly after St. Vital became a city in 1962, the position of Secretary-Treasurer was split into City Clerk and City Treasurer.

The City of St. Vital ceased to exist in 1972, when Chapter 105 of the Statutes of Manitoba came into force unifying twelve area municipalities and the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg into one city government. Following amalgamation, the Community of St. Vital was created as part of the new municipal structure.

Thompson, Susan A.

  • Person
  • 1947-

Susan A. Thompson was the 40th mayor and first woman mayor of the City of Winnipeg. She was born in Winnipeg on 12 April 1947. Spending most of her youth in the city, she graduated from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate in 1967 and earned her BA from the same university in 1971.

Embarking on a successful career in retail, Thompson worked for Eaton’s and the Hudson’s Bay Company in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Montreal. Called home in 1980 after her father’s illness, she bought the family business Birt Saddlery, a long standing and well known local business, and embarked on a successful career as an independent businesswoman. In that capacity, she worked hard to break many barriers for women in business, eventually becoming active in a number of business organizations such as Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

In 1992, Thompson threw her hat in the mayoral ring, winning the election in October of that year. She won a second term in 1995 and was instrumental in guiding forces in the fight against the Flood of the Century in 1997. Thompson did not seek a third term in 1998. Instead, in 1999, she was appointed as the Counsul General for Canada in Minnesota, the first woman to hold that position since it was instituted 30 years earlier. During her tenure as the Counsul General, Thompson actively promoted Canadian business and political interests with our southern neighbours.

Returning to Winnipeg in 2003, Thompson became the first and founding President and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation, a position she held until 2011. The University of Winnipeg Foundation serves the University of Winnipeg in the areas of Students scholarships and bursaries, Capital projects, and academic enhancements.

Transcona (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1912-1971

The Town of Transcona, Manitoba was founded in 1912, was granted a City Charter in 1961 and was dissolved in 1972 when it joined eleven other municipalities in amalgamation with the City of Winnipeg. Its mandate was to provide municipal services, primarily to immigrants attracted by employment opportunities following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1907) and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway shops (1908). It’s immediate predecessor was a Board of Trade, set up in 1911 to govern the growing settlement. Prior to creation of the Province of Manitoba in 1870, the area was administered by the Council of Assiniboia (1835-1870). Following the Dominion Government of Canada’s purchase of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869, the newly formed Province of Manitoba had jurisdiction over the area and began the process of municipal incorporation. In 1921, Transcona declared bankruptcy and the area was administred by the Manitoba government until 1928. The name “Transcona” is derived from the National Transcontinental Railway and continues today as an electoral ward within the City of Winnipeg.

Tuxedo (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1913-1971

The former Town of Tuxedo began as a real estate venture when Frederick William Huebach identified the area for development and founded the Tuxedo Park Company Limited in 1905. The original Town Plan for Tuxedo was designed by landscape architect Rickson A. Outhet of Montreal in 1905. The Outhet plan was never implemented. In 1910, after acquiring additional land, Heubach commissioned the Olmsted brothers (sons of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City) to create a new plan for Tuxedo. On January 24, 1913, the Tuxedo Park Company Limited incorporated the Town of Tuxedo and Heubach became its first Mayor.

The Town of Tuxedo Council consisted of a mayor and four councilors. The Town managed its own police and fire departments and the Tuxedo Public Recreation Commission. It was part of the St. James-St. Vital-Fort Garry-Charlewood-Assiniboia-Tuxedo Health Unit. There were three public schools located within the Town, managed by the Assiniboine South School Division No. 3.

The Town of Tuxedo ceased to exist in 1972, when Chapter 105 of the Statutes of Manitoba came into force unifying twelve area municipalities and the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg into one city government.

Tuxedo Park Company, Ltd.

  • Corporate body

Between 1903 and 1905, Winnipeg real estate agent Frederick W. Huebach began to purchase land for the Tuxedo Park Company, Limited, the controlling investors of which were located in the United States: E. C. Kenaston, E. C. Warner and Walter D. Douglas. Huebach was a managing director of the firm. In 1905, the company acquired farmland owned by Mary and Archibald Wright. This significant purchase, as well as several smaller land purchases, increased the amount of land intended for development to approximately 3,000 acres. Huebach planned to see the area transformed into a “Suburb Beautiful”, and approached architect and engineer Rickson A. Outhet at his Tuxedo Park, New York office to create an appropriate plan. Outhet visited Winnipeg in 1906 to survey the land and complete work on this commission (Manitoba Free Press, April 17, 1906). In 1910, Huebach and associates created the South Winnipeg Company and engaged the Olmsted brothers to plan the subdivision west of the Agricultural College. This plan included details of a site intended for a university. West of the proposed university site lay an area referred to as “Rydal” or “West Rydal”, which was laid out for residential development. While plans to develop the area were delayed for a variety of reasons, investors continued to support the venture and a number of companies were created to manage land transactions and investment: Tuxedo (Winnipeg) Syndicate, Limited; South Winnipeg Limited (later South Winnipeg 1923 Limited); Norwood (Winnipeg) Syndicate, Limited; Warner Land Company; Tuxedo Estates, Limited; Kenaston Realty Company; Univrsity Estates, Limited; Assiniboine Estates, Limited; Assiniboine Investments, Limited; South Assiniboine Estates, Limited; West Rydal Limited; and The Canadian Agency.

Frederick William Heubach was born in Ottawa in 1859 and arrived in Winnipeg in 1879. He was employed first as an accountant with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and then as Manager of the Winnipeg Industrial Development Exhibition Association. In 1902, he partnered with W. J. Christie, an established real estate broker, until incorporating his own business in 1905. Huebach died in 1914.

Wallace, John

  • Person
  • [ca. 1920]-[after 1996]

John Wallace was a corporal in a branch of the Canadian military during and sometime before the Second World War. He lived in Fort Osborne Barracks before the War.

Weir, Alice

  • Person
  • 1903-2003

Alice Mabel Weir was born in Kenora, Ontario, 1903. Her father, William A. Weir, was a banker who helped open the first Imperial Bank in Kenora. The Weirs moved to Winnipeg in 1910, where her father became the manager of the Clearing House.

Her career in dance started when Weir was in Quebec City. After moving to Winnipeg, she continued studying ballet as well as other performing arts, including piano and violin. Weir started teaching ballet when she was 18 years old. Her parents supported her in this endeavor and converted space in their home on Wardlaw Avenue to accommodate her ballet school. The living room and dining room of their home were transformed into her studio. Weir’s mother became her greatest supporter, creating costumes for her students’ recitals.

Alice taught dance because of a passion for dancing. She travelled to study with some of the great contemporaries of the time like Leon Leonidoff, director of Radio City Music Hall (New York). She also studied in Paris and London.

Alice and her pupils performed at different locations throughout Winnipeg, putting on recitals at the Royal Alexandra Hotel, the Walker Theatre, Eaton’s Grill Room, and the Winter Club to name a few.

In 1927, Weir started dance classes in Dauphin, Manitoba. In 1928, she moved her Winnipeg dance studio out of her parents’ home to McMillan Avenue. She married Julian A. Robins in 1932 and retired from teaching the same year. They had six children together. She died in 2003.

Western Canada Fire Underwriters' Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1917-1955

The Canada Fire Underwriters’ Association (CFUA) was founded in 1883 by thirty participating fire insurance companies “to establish tariffs of rates for all cities, towns and villages, making due allowance for construction and the fire appliances of each, and to make rules for the due regulation of business generally”. To reflect changes and growth in the mandate of the CFUA, the Association underwent several name changes over the years, changing its name to the Canada Underwriters’ Association in 1936 and to the Insurers’ Advisory Organization in 1975.

In 1911, the CFUA struck an agreement with the Charles E. Goad Company by which the Company was to create and revise fire insurance plans exclusively for the Association. This arrangement was terminated in 1917 and soon after the CFUA established its own plan department, known as the Underwriters’ Survey Bureau, Limited. In 1931, the Bureau purchased all assets of the Goad Company, including the copyright to insurance plans. The CFUA’s Western Canada Fire Underwriters’ Association Plan Department created fire insurance plans for the Prairie Provinces until the centralization of plan production in 1960. After completing the revision of the Winnipeg plan in 1975, the Association decided to cease development of fire insurance plans due to increasing costs and limited demand. The Insurers’ Advisory Organization is still in existence today.

Wilkes, Barbara J.

  • COWA
  • Person

Barbara J. Wilkes worked for the Sovereign Life Assurance Company of Canada in Calgary. The company was incorporated by a special Act of the Parliament of Canada in 1902 and commenced business out of Toronto in 1903. The head office was moved to Winnipeg in February of 1912. Prominent local businessman W. Sanford Evans served as president from 1933 until 1948. In 1957, the company moved into a new purpose-designed head office building on the corner of Smith and Broadway in Winnipeg (287 Broadway). By 1970, the head office was no longer in Winnipeg and the building on Broadway had been sold.

Winnipeg (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1874-

The City of Winnipeg, Manitoba was created by Provincial statute in 1873. Its mandate was to govern and provide municipal services to citizens attracted to trade expansion between Upper and Lower Fort Garry and St. Paul, Minnesota. The City sprang from the Red River Settlement, an unincorporated village. Prior to creation of the Province of Manitoba in 1870, the area was administered by the Council of Assiniboia (1835-1870) and local community leaders, primarily Métis, who had camped within a fifty-mile radius of the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers since [1733]. Following the Dominion Government of Canada’s purchase of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869, the newly formed Province of Manitoba had jurisdiction over the area and began the process of municipal incorporation. Assiniboia had been created in circa 1812 by Lord Selkirk, who brought Scottish agricultural settlers to the area.

Since 1874, the City managed its affairs through various boards, commissions, and committees. Affiliations between 1881-1972 were thirteen suburban municipal Councils and, between 1960-1972, the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg (established to co-ordinate service delivery in the metropolitan region).

After 1972, when Chapter 105 of the Statutes of Manitoba came into force, the City of Winnipeg amalgamated with twelve area municipalities and the Metropolitan Corporation of Great Winnipeg into one city government.

The election of the first Council for the Unified City of Winnipeg was held on October 6, 1971 and the new City came into legal existence on January 1, 1972. The new unified City Council consisted of 50 Councillors elected on the basis of one from each of the 50 wards and a Mayor elected from the City-at-large. The Inaugural Meeting of the new Council took place on January 5, 1972.

Thirteen Community Committees were established under the Act; however, in 1974, on the recommendation of the Ward Boundaries Commission, the provincial government enacted legislation reducing the communities from thirteen to twelve while maintaining fifty wards. In 1977, further legislation reduced the communities to six and the wards to twenty-nine. Each had a Community Committee of Council and comprised the Councillors who represented the wards within each particular community.

In 1989, in accordance with the City of Winnipeg Act, a review of the boundaries of the City of Winnipeg was conducted and resulted in a number of changes to the community area boundaries and the number of wards for four of the communities. A subsequent review in 1991 resulted in further legislation passed in 1992, which reduced the communities to five and the wards to fifteen.

Further amendments were made to the City of Winnipeg Act in 1998. The powers of the mayor were increased and changes were made to the political decision-making structure.

In 2003, the City of Winnipeg Act was repealed and replaced with the City of Winnipeg Charter.

Winnipeg (Man.). Advisory Traffic Commission

  • Corporate body
  • 1936-1954

The Advisory Traffic Commission was founded in 1936, with the passing of By-Law No. 14849. This By-Law was repealed in 1954, with the founding of the City of Winnipeg Traffic Commission. The Advisory Traffic Commission acted in an advisory capacity on all matters of traffic and pedestrian regulation in Winnipeg. Members of the Commission were appointed by Council.

Examples of Advisory Traffic Commission business were:
-Forming a Traffic Squad in the police department.
-Pedestrian control, including limiting crossing to intersections and crosswalks.
-Requests to erect stop signs at intersections.
-Implementing and regulating parking meters.
-Implementing parking bans.
-Implementing and regulating traffic signal systems.
-Regulating street cars.
-Widening streets.
-Turning restrictions.
-Loading zones.

Winnipeg (Man.). Better Housing Commission

  • Corporate body
  • 1966-1971

The City of Winnipeg was incorporated in 1873 by a charter granted by the legislature of Manitoba. At incorporation, the City established a committee system of government: while Council was the governing body for the City, it was in committee that civic policies were formed and executed. The initial task for the first and all subsequent Councils was to strike standing committees for the Council year. In addition to standing committees, Council established special committees and commissions to investigate and manage various projects, issues and questions placed before the City.

The Better Housing Commission was formed in 1966 as specified in Section 707A of The Winnipeg Charter. The Commission consisted of five persons appointed annually by Winnipeg City Council. The Commission heard appeals related to notices issued under By-law No. 19165 (Minimum Standard of Housing Repair By-law). This by-law established minimum standards for the state of repair of the exteriors of residential buildings and of buildings in residential areas, and enabled enforcement. Members of the Commission in its inaugural year were: Alderman S. Rebchuk, George A. Stewart, E. J. W. Akins, T. A. MacFarlen, and Serge Radchuk. With the exception of Serge Radchuk, who was replaced by Fred James in 1967, membership remained the same until the last year of the Commission. The Better Housing Commission ceased operations in 1971 with the formation of Unicity.

Winnipeg (Man.). Board of Control

  • Corporate body
  • 1907-1918

Formed by four Controllers, the Board of Control was added to the City Council in 1907 in accordance with By-Law 4148. The Board of Control was elected annually by a vote of the entire city to conduct the executive work of the City of Winnipeg. As the executive body, responsibilities of the Board of Control included financial matters, the calling of tenders and awarding of contracts, directing and controlling departments, the nomination of all heads and subheads of departments and other permanent employees, inspecting and reporting to Council on municipal works within the city, and generally administering the affairs of the city (excepting the Public Schools and Police Department). The Board of Control was abolished by vote at the end of 1918.

Winnipeg (Man.). Board of Parks and Recreation

  • Corporate body
  • 1893-1971

The first public parks board for the City of Winnipeg was created in 1893 through By-Law No. 575, which adopted provisions in the Public Parks Act enacted by the Province of Manitoba in 1892. Membership of the Public Parks Board was prescribed in the legislation and initially included the mayor, six councillors and six citizen members. The Board met at least once a month. Circa the late 1940’s, the Public Parks Act was incorporated into the Municipal Act RSM as Chapter 141 Division III. An amendment to the Act dated April 20, 1951 resulted in a change of name: from Public Parks Board or Winnipeg Public Parks Board to Winnipeg Board of Parks and Recreation.

When first established, the Board was involved in acquiring land to create a system of urban parks throughout the City – including Assiniboine and Kildonan Parks. In addition to park development, the Board constructed and operated municipal golf courses and swimming pools, was involved in city beautification through tree planting and boulevard construction and maintenance, provided facilities for recreation, and managed the zoo and municipal cemeteries – including Brookside.

The Board had wide-ranging powers, including the ability to purchase property for park purposes and pass by-laws for the use, regulation, protection and governance of City parks. A committee structure was adopted to facilitate the work of the Board. In 1911, the Board passed By-Law No. 10 to regulate the proceedings and conduct of its committees and officers. Committees established by the Board reflected major responsibilities and initiatives. Periodically, special or sub-committees were formed to address specific issues. These were dissolved once the issue had been resolved. For most of its history, the Standing Committees of the Board were as follows:

Finance Committee
Boulevards and Trees Committee
Parks Committee
Cemetery Committee
Recreation Committee
Golf Committee.

In 1964, following the transfer of golf courses and large urban parks to the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg, the City of Winnipeg held a referendum on the future of the Winnipeg Board of Parks and Recreation. The result of voting on City of Winnipeg By-Law 19003 was 15,144 for and 12,537 against the dissolution of the Winnipeg Board of Parks and Recreation. By-Law 19060 then established the Committee on Parks and Recreation, which took over all of the duties and responsibilities of the Winnipeg Board of Parks and Recreation effective January 1, 1965.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Clerk's Department

  • Corporate body
  • 1874-

The City of Winnipeg (1874-1971) was incorporated by a charter granted by the legislature of Manitoba on November 8, 1873. The office of the City Clerk was established early in 1874, its primary responsibilities having been defined in the Charter. The main duties of the City Clerk were to record and maintain a record of all resolutions, decisions and proceedings of Council and to act as the Returning Officer for the election of the Mayor and members of Council, for voting on money by-laws or plebiscites and for the election of school trustees for the School District of Winnipeg No. 1 (from 1891). By the 1880’s, the City Clerk was the Vital Statistics Division Registrar and kept records of vital statistics for Winnipeg (births, deaths and marriages). Further, the City Clerk was responsible for purchasing and distributing all stationery supplies required by the City and for preparing and distributing the Municipal Manual, an annual publication first published in 1904. The City Clerk also acted as Clerk of the Greater Winnipeg Water District (GWWD) and the Greater Winnipeg Sanitary District (GWSD). These districts were created in 1913 and 1935, respectively. When the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg (Metro) was created in 1961, the GWWD and the GWSD ceased to exist and the City Clerk was relieved of the task of clerking these two bodies. In 1964, the City Clerk became responsible for the regulation and control of the Civic Charities Endorsement Bureau, which was previously administered by the Public Welfare Department. With amalgamation in 1972, the City Clerk’s Department for the former City of Winnipeg took on this role for the new City of Winnipeg (1972-).

There have been seventeen City Clerks since the incorporation of Winnipeg as follows: A.M. Brown (1874-1883); C.J. Brown (1883-1926); M. Peterson (1926-1935); G.F. Bentley (1935-1945); L.M. Ault (1945-1948); G.L. Gardner (1948-1962); J.B. Kinnear (1962-1964); T. Mitchell (1964-1966); J.A. Masson (1966); W.A. Quayle (1966-1976); H.E. Sanger (1976-1979); R.J. Fergusson (1979-1986); M.G. McCullough (1986-1987); R.B. Hayes (1987-1991); D.E. Browton (1992-2000); R. Kachur (2001-2018); and M. Lemoine (2018-present).

Winnipeg (Man.). City Clerk's Department. Archives and Records Control Branch

  • Corporate body
  • 1978-

Winnipeg was established as a city in 1874 and began creating records immediately, but it did not have a city archives until 1978. Many of the surrounding municipalities that were later amalgamated into Unicity in 1972 were in a very similar situation, and their surviving records have now become part of the Winnipeg City Archives' holdings. The building at 380 William, the old Carnegie Library, was set aside for storage of records and archives. Since its formation, the Archives and Records Control Branch has been responsible for managing records in storage, developing records management policy and practice, and facilitating research access to the City’s archival collection.

The required enabling bylaw for the records and archives provisions of the City of Winnipeg Act was passed in 1996, and the Records Committee was created and first met in June 1997.

See Terry Cook, "In the Public Trust: A Strategic Plan for the Archives and Records Management Services in the City of Winnipeg," (November 29, 1999).

Winnipeg (Man.). City Engineer

  • Corporate body
  • 1874-1971

Building inspection was included as one of the duties of the City Engineer when responsibilities for this position were formalized by by-law in 1899. Since then, the City of Winnipeg has required all persons proposing to construct a new building or significantly renovate an existing building, to apply for a permit authorizing the work. As part of the permit application process, builders were required to submit 'drawings in blue or white print to scale, fully dimensioned, accurately figured, explicit and complete.'

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