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

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archival descriptions
City of Winnipeg (1874-1971) English
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Cornerstone Casket, 1875

Forms part of Fonds 1, City of Winnipeg (1874-1971): Series 82 consists of items contained in a casket prepared by City Council for placement in the cornerstone of the City's first city hall.

Not long after incorporation, City Council proposed construction of a city hall. A site on Main Street between William and Market Avenues was selected. On August 17, 1875, the cornerstone of the new city hall was laid with Masonic honors by Grand Master the Rev. Dr. Clark and officers of the Grand Lodge. A civic holiday was declared to mark the occasion, and speeches were made by Chief Justice Wood, the Hon. R. S. Davis, Premier of Manitoba, and American Consul James Wickes Taylor. At the ceremony, a casket was deposited into the cornerstone ' the casket contained coins, bills, newspapers and photographs of the City. Today, such a box would be called a time capsule.

Completed in 1876 and formally opened on March 14 of that year, the first city hall suffered chronic structural problems. Repairs were attempted, but were not successful, and for some time, the building was propped up with wooden braces until it was finally judged unsound and demolished in 1883. At demolition, the casket was removed and eventually placed into the cornerstone of the second city hall. When this building was demolished in 1962, the caskets were moved to a bank safety deposit box and then to the Archives.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Council

[Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia]

Photograph shows (Front row, L-R): Robert O'Lone, Paul Proulx. (Centre row, L-R): Pierre Poitras, John Bruce, Louis Riel, John O'Donoghue, Fran'ois Dauphinais. (Rear row, L-R): Bonnet Tromage, Pierre de Lorme, Thomas Bunn, Xavier Page, Baptiste Beauchemin, Baptiste Tournond, Joseph (Thomas?) Spence. (Source: Library and Archives Canada / PA-012854).

Photograph is dated [1870] and taken by Joseph Langevin.

City of Winnipeg (1874-1971)

  • f00001
  • Fonds
  • 1871-1971

Fonds 1 consists of administrative, legislative, financial and photographic records documenting the operation of the City of Winnipeg prior to amalgamation.

A substantial part of the fonds consists of records documenting the debates and decisions of Council, such as Council minutes and by-laws. Also included are minutes of the Board of Control, as well as minutes and reports of other standing and special committees of Council. These records cover a wide range of municipal functions, including finance, land use planning, public works, social services and other municipal services.

Some municipal responsibilities are documented in greater detail in departmental records or records of various boards and commissions. These include parks and recreation, public health and planning. General information about the City of Winnipeg, including elected representatives, history, and statistics can be found in City Clerk's Department records.

Records that document the financial history of the City include tax assessment records, auditors reports and financial statements.

Photographic records document the growth of the City and activities of elected officials, municipal employees, and citizens.

Winnipeg (Man.)

Members and Officials of the Council of the City of Winnipeg, 1874

Photograph shows Francis Cornish, Mayor, Alderman James Ashdown, Alderman John Cameron, Alderman William Gomez Fonseca, Alderman John Higgins, Alderman Alexander Logan, Alderman James McLenaghan, Alderman John More, Alderman Robert Mulvey, Alderman Thomas Scott, Alderman Andrew Strang, Alderman Herbert Swinford, Alderman William Thibaudeau, Alderman Archibald Wright. Mr. A.M. Brown, City Clerk, Lyster Hayward, Chamberlain, James S. Ramsay, Chamberlain, Henry (Harry) Kirk, Messenger, Alex Brown, Assessor, D. M. Walker, Solicitor, Colin F. Strang, Auditor, D.B. Murray, Chief of Police, Willoughby Clark, Assessor, (unreadable), Auditor, Thomas Parr, City Engineer.

City Engineer

Part of City of Winnipeg (1874-1971) fonds. Series consists of records created and maintained by the City Engineer and Engineering Department.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Engineer

By-laws

Forms part of Fonds 1. Series consists of by-laws for the City of Winnipeg pre-unicity (1874-1971). By-laws are municipal laws that were passed or amended by City Council. By-laws relate to City land development, regulations, local improvements, street names/openings/closings, authorization of agreements, finance/taxation, governance/administration, and amendments to previous by-laws.

Original by-laws dating 1874-1971 exist in a set of trifolds and are numbered 1-19876. By-laws are numbered chronologically according to date created.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Council

Reports

Forms part of Series 54. Subseries consists of the reports of the Committee on Finance from the years 1874-1903. Reports include dates read and adopted, and contain correspondence to committees, appropriation balance forms, tenders, records of attendance at meetings, and accounts to and from the comptroller.

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Finance

Nominations and Results

Forms part of Series 2, Fonds 1: Subseries consists of records created, accumulated and used by the City Clerk's Department to run elections for Mayor and Councilors (Aldermen) and, after 1891, for School Trustees for Winnipeg School Division No. 1. The records document the nomination process for candidates in all three races, procedures for voting on money by-laws and plebiscites, and the various methods and administrative tools developed to count the vote; from 1920 on, the City of Winnipeg used proportional representation and records trace methods used to calculate quota and transfer votes until a candidate was elected. Records also document judicial recounts, basic administrative processes like ballot destruction after election results were official, and recording Oaths of Office for elected members of Council.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Clerk's Department

Communications

Forms part of Series 1. Subseries consists of all surviving correspondence directed toward the Committee on Public Health and Welfare. The correspondence dates from the first year of the City of Winnipeg's incorporation, 1874, until its final year as a unique entity, 1971. The correspondence covers a wide variety of topics including matters relating to health and welfare and the Health Department after it was formed in 1900, but also the formation and management of markets, bath houses and comfort stations; library operations and staffing; licensing issues and inspections; complaints about noise, smoke and other nuisances; and, Health Department staff appointments, requests for leave and general staffing issues.

Winnipeg (Man.). Committee on Public Health and Welfare

Council Minutes

Forms part of Fonds 1. Series includes City of Winnipeg Council Minutes dating 1874-1971, which briefly recount the proceedings of council meetings and are the official, legal record of decisions made by Council. Recorded decisions reveal municipal governance, resource allocation, and service delivery. Minutes also refer to topics debated, reports considered, by-laws introduced, communications received, decisions reached and votes taken during council meetings. Council minutes are a rich and detailed source of information about the history of the City of Winnipeg, and provide understanding of issues past and present in city politics.

Minutes dating up until 1912 are handwritten.

Handwritten indices begin in 1878 for early minute books.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Council

Council Communications

Forms part of Fonds 1. Series consists of all surviving correspondence directed toward the City Council of Winnipeg via the City Clerk, with the exception of those items of correspondence that were filed with other series at the time of creation and/or use. Correspondence dates from the first year of the City of Winnipeg's incorporation in 1874 until 1971.

Civic employees, citizens of Winnipeg, and any other persons interested in communicating with the municipal government of Winnipeg wrote to City Council on a wide variety of topics, including civic administration (e.g. by-laws, elections, etc.), local improvements and developments (e.g. sanitation, the water supply, schools, parks, streets, traffic, bridges, etc.), invitations to conventions and other events, legal disputes, and assessments and taxation, among other issues.

Originally all correspondence was enclosed in a City Clerk's cover page to form a packet, which was then assigned a number. The packet was then folded twice and placed in pack boxes in chronological order. The numbering scheme was started anew several times over the years.

Winnipeg (Man.). City Council

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