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

Showing 109 results

people and organizations

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.

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.

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
  • 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.'

Allan, Hugh

  • Person
  • 1917-2004

For more information on Hugh Allan, see the Hugh Allan fonds at the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections.

Hugh Allan was born on May 14, 1917 in Cypress River, Manitoba, and eventually moved to Winnipeg, where he became a highly regarded photographer. Allan worked for many different employers, including Time Magazine and Maclean's, but he is most famous for his work with the Winnipeg Tribune, which employed him from 1950 to 1970. After leaving the Tribune, Allan worked as a freelance photographer. He passed away on May 30, 2004.

Assiniboia (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1880-1968

The Rural Municipality of Assiniboia was one of the three original municipalities that surrounded the City of Winnipeg. It was incorporated in 1880 when the Province of Manitoba divided its entire area into municipalities. In 1969, the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia joined with the City of St. James to form the City of St. James-Assiniboia.

The first Council for the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia met in 1880, with William Tait as Warden. The first Council for the new City of St. James-Assiniboia met on January 7, 1969, with A. W. Hanks as Mayor.

Fort Garry (Man.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1899-1975

The Rural Municipality of Fort Garry, Manitoba was incorporated in 1912 and dissolved in 1972 when it joined eleven other municipalities in amalgamation with the City of Winnipeg. Prior to creation of the Province of Manitoba, 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 and began the process of municipal incorporation. The name “Fort Garry” continues as electoral ward Charleswood – Fort Garry within the City of Winnipeg.

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.

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.

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Finance

  • Corporate body
  • 1874-1906, 1919-1971

As a standing committee of Council, the duties of the Committee on Finance included supervision of all City accounts, preparation of the annual budget, monitoring wages of all subordinate employees of the city, and consideration and review of every committee report that included a recommendation for the expenditure of civic funds before it was submitted to City Council. The original name of the committee was Committee on Finance and Assessment. In later years it was called the Finance Committee or Committee on Finance. The Board of Control replaced the Committee on Finance during the period 1907-1918.

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Legislation and Reception

  • Corporate body
  • [1874?]-1957

The Committee on Legislation and Reception was responsible for wages and working conditions of civic employees, staff changes and appointments, grievances concerning civic personnel, labour union negotiations, work of the employer-employee advisory board, general legislation and charter amendments, and for reporting on legislation and receptions.

Names of the Committee over the years have included the Legislative Committee, Committee on Legislation, Reception, Trade and Commerce, Committee on Legislation and Reception, and Committee on Personnel and Legislation (1950-1957).

In 1958 the duties of the Committee on Personnel and Legislation were taken over by the Committee on Finance. In 1960 the Standing Committee on Utilities and Personnel was formed by By-Law 18236 to perform the combined functions of the former Committee on Personnel and Legislation and Committee on Public Works.* (See Municipal Manual, 1960 and Council Minutes 1957-1960).

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Public Utilities

  • Corporate body
  • 1920-1957

The Committee on Public Utilities was responsible for Hydro Electric, Steam Heating, and Street Lighting Systems, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Water Mains and Sewers, Garbage Collection and Disposal, and Street Cleaning.

In 1958 the duties of the Committee on Public Utilities were taken over by the Committee on Public Works. In 1960 the Standing Committee on Utilities and Personnel was formed by By-Law 18236 to perform the combined functions of the former Committee on Public Utilities and Committee on Personnel and Legislation.

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Urban Renewal and Redevelopment

  • Corporate body
  • 1958-1971

The committee was appointed in 1958, and was responsible for considering and reporting on public and emergency housing projects, zoning, town planning, enforcement of by-laws relating to urban renewal, rehabilitation or conservation areas, matters relating to the Civic Centre, Public Safety Building, and Parking Garage, and the appointment of a technical committee to report and advise on the above mentioned activities.

Results 1 to 20 of 109