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

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authority records

Greater Winnipeg Water District

  • Corporate body
  • 1912-1962

The Greater Winnipeg Water District (GWWD) was incorporated in 1913 to supply water to the City of Winnipeg and surrounding municipalities. In May 1914, construction began on the aqueduct to bring water from Shoal Lake to Winnipeg. In March 1919, water from Shoal Lake flowed into Winnipeg’s taps and on September 9, 1919, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (The Prince Edward) dedicated the aqueduct. In 1935, the Greater Winnipeg Sanitary District (GWSD) was incorporated to manage wastewater collection and treatment for the participating sections of the GWWD. These two corporations existed until 1961, when their functions were taken over by the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg.

The GWWD was originally comprised of the City of Winnipeg, the City of St. Boniface, the Town of Transcona, the Rural Municipality of St. Vital, and parts of Fort Garry, Assiniboia, and Kildonan. By 1960, the area serviced by the GWWD also included parts of St. James and Tuxedo.

The GWWD had two boards: the Administration Board and the Board of Commissioners. The Administration Board had the policy-making function and was originally composed of the Mayor and four Councillors of the City of Winnipeg, the Mayor and one Councillor of the City of St. Boniface, the Mayor of Transcona, and the Reeves of the four other municipalities. The Administration Board’s Chairman was the Mayor of Winnipeg. The Board of Commissioners was responsible for operations and it had up to three members. Usually, the Board of Commissioners was composed of a Chairman, Treasurer and one other Commissioner. The Chairman was the City Engineer, and the Treasurer was the Commissioner of Finance of the City of Winnipeg. The third Commissioner was appointed by the Administration Board. A Board of Equalization, appointed by the Public Utilities Commissioner, was also established to determine the assessment levied on the taxable land in each municipality.

The aqueduct was largely built by three contractors, although the GWWD tendered and administered ninety-nine contracts during construction. The three main contractors were J.H. Tremblay Co. Ltd., Thos. Kelly & Sons, and the Winnipeg Aqueduct Construction Co. Ltd.

As no roads existed along the proposed route of the aqueduct, the GWWD created and operated the Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway to run parallel to the route to facilitate the movement of materials and workers. Construction of the railway track began in 1914 and was completed in 1915. The track runs from its terminus in St. Boniface to Waugh, Manitoba near Shoal Lake. After the aqueduct was completed, the railway was also used to carry freight and passengers in an effort to reduce the costs of construction. Freight included firewood, pulpwood, poles, railway ties, ice, mail, milk, gravel and sand. Although initially only three trains ran a week, at the peak of its operation up to four trains a day hauled gravel for use as an aggregate in concrete manufacture.

The first meeting of the GWWD Administration Board took place on July 30, 1913. By the fall of 1913, active work was underway and survey parties were determining the most economical route from Shoal Lake. As the waters of Shoal Lake are part of the Lake of the Woods, which crosses the boundary into the United States, it was necessary to secure the approval of the International Joint Commission. It was also necessary to secure the consent of the Ontario Government as the boundary line between the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario passes through Indian Bay, a tributary of Shoal Lake. Further sections of the aqueduct were located on reserve land belonging to Kekekoziibii Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and the sale of this land was required. The provisions of the Indian Act allowed for reserve lands to be sold with the price of the land set by the Governor in Council and the proceeds of the sale going to the Band. The Department of Indian Affairs valued three thousand acres of Kekekoziibii Shoal Lake 40 First Nation's reserve land at fifty cents per acre. Approximately fifty-five acres on the mainland were valued at three dollars an acre. As the Falcon River ran into the proposed intake area in Indian Bay, a diversion was built so that the waters of Falcon River, which had an unwanted colour, ran into Snowshoe Bay instead. The Falcon River diversion, consisting of a 2.4 km dyke and 840 m channel, solved the problem of unwanted colouration of the water supply, but had the effect of limiting Kekekoziibii Shoal Lake 40 First Nation's access to the mainland.

The City of Winnipeg Archives acknowledges the following sources:

City of Winnipeg, compiled by the City Clerk. Municipal Manual 1955. Winnipeg: Henderson Directories, [1955].

City of Winnipeg, Water and Waste Department, “The Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway.” Last updated June 29, 2018. Available: https://www.winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/dept/railway.stm

Ennis, David A. “Developing a Domestic Water Supply for Winnipeg from Shoal Lake and Lake of the Woods: The Greater Winnipeg Water District Aqueduct.” Master’s thesis. University of Manitoba, 2011.

Special thanks to the Water and Waste Department for supplying key details.

South Winnipeg (1923) Limited

  • Corporate body
  • 1911-?

South Winnipeg Limited was incorporated in Manitoba shortly after 1911 as a result of an agreement signed by Tuxedo Estates Limited, Tuxedo Park Company Limited, Kenaston Realty Company Limited and Warner Land Company Limited in 1911. The principals and major investors in these companies were Frederick W. Heubach and David Finkelstein of Winnipeg, E. C. Kenaston of Hopkins, Minnesota (president of American-Abel Engine and Thresher Company), E. C. Warner of Minneapolis (president of Midland Linseed Oil Company), G. F. Piper of Minneapolis (Piper and Co. Wholesale Grain Merchants), Walter D. Douglas of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (president of American Cereal Co.). South Winnipeg Limited was incorporated for the purpose of amalgamating various properties in and around Tuxedo, with plans to develop and sell this land for industrial and residential purposes. The company was reorganized in 1923 as South Winnipeg (1923) Limited and continued to buy and sell land. It was sold circa 1950 to Sir Denys Lowson, Lord Mayor of London. After Lowson’s death, the company was purchased by a Winnipeg firm.

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.

Winnipeg (Man.). Special Committee on Social Evil Question

  • Corporate body
  • 1910

The Special Committee on Social Evil Question was appointed by Council on February 28, 1910 to meet with a similarly named committee of the Moral and Social Reform Council of Manitoba to address prostitution in the area around Rachel and McFarlane Streets in particular. Later in 1910, Council requested the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council appoint a Commission to investigate charges of graft within the police department regarding trade in liquor and prostitution within a segregated area in the City (Rachel and McFarlane Streets). Judge Robson’s report was received by the City in January of 1911. Although Council adopted a motion to have the Special Committee on Social Evil Question “remain a permanent Committee of the City Council for the year 1910”, a handwritten note dated January 3, 1912 states “This matter has not been taken up.” Committee minutes exist for three meetings in 1910 (March 17, 21 and 22). No file code was assigned to this special committee.

Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1960-1971

The Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg (Metro) was established by Manitoba’s Metropolitan Winnipeg Act in 1960 to govern the distribution of services between the City and surrounding areas. It was dissolved in 1972 when suburban municipalities amalgamated with Winnipeg under the project called Unicity. Metro had jurisdiction over inter-municipal services such as water, parks and public transportation. It was responsible for municipal boards and commissions as well as services previously administered by suburban municipalities. Metro was affiliated with suburban municipal governments, rural and otherwise, for Brooklands, Charleswood, East Kildonan, Fort Garry, North Kildonan, Old Kildonan, Saint-Boniface, Saint-Vital, St. James, Transcona, Tuxedo, and West Kildonan. In 1969 the Province of Manitoba undertook a review of this system, which led to Metro’s dissolution. It was governed by a Council and Committees system, the administrative functions being organised into divisions, and each reporting to the Executive Director of the Corporation. In its time, Metro was the second two-tiered municipal government in North America.

Winnipeg (Man.). Parking Authority

  • Corporate body
  • 1959-1972

The Parking Authority was founded in 1958, with the passing of By-Law No. 18056. In 1972, the Parking Authority was put under the control of the Committee on Environment, and in 1973, By-Law No. 18056 was repealed.

The Parking Authority was responsible for the construction, operation, maintenance, control and management of public parking lots and parking buildings belonging to the City. Most business consisted of expropriating land to build parking lots.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Engineer

  • Corporate body

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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