I recently received an e-mail from Sheila McBeath, telling me she had a collection in her possession that had first belonged to her Grandfather, then her father contributed to it by collecting photographs of the 1950 Winnipeg flood.
When she asked me if I would like scans of these, I nearly bit her hand off! Just look below, and you will see why - they are fabulous!
We start off right back in 1916 when Winnipeg was under water. This photo shows some people rowing down the street in Norwood.
Now we move up to 1919, June 10th in fact. A very important date in Winnipeg's history. The whole city was on strike, and tempers finally exploded on this day, and it was known as the Winnipeg riot. I am not exactly sure which street this is, it is a retail area though, and the ads above are for Velvet tobacco, and sweet clover bacon & pork sausage.
Same location, only now you see men on horseback. Note they are all carrying clubs in their hand.
This was taken opposite Dingwall's Jewellers at 62 Albert Street. You can see the streetcar tracks in the road here.
Now this is definitely on the corner of Portage & Main, you can now see the Bank of Montreal building. These men on horseback are in quite a hurry.
I have been trying to decide where exactly this is, the light coloured building on the other side of the street is the Bank of Hamilton, which was at 395 Main Street. A couple of ladies are venturing out to cross the road, but the man walking away from them looks to have a large stick in his hand.
Back to the same street corner as above, and this time we can read the shingle of the Bank of Ottawa, which was at 363 Main. It is looking pretty nasty here, people in cars, and look at the throng of people across the street. The sign on the lamp post says Arras, and has what looks like a beaver above it. Arras was a WW1 battle, maybe they had signs up to honour the veterans who lost their lives there.
If you would like to read more on the Winnipeg General Strike and subsequent riot, you can check it out HERE
These men look as if they mean business don't they? I am not sure which side they were on. The ornate building they are walking past is Oldfield Kirby & Gardner. I do believe that insurance company is still in business today, but Gardner has gone, and Esau has joined them. That building is located at 234 Portage Avenue.
Back outside Dingwall's again, and the business next door is Osler, Hammond & Nanton. This could be the preserved Hammond building at 61-65 Albert Street.
Between June 9th and June 17th the streets of Winnipeg were totally out of control, so possibly these riders were some special constables that the city quickly hired after firing almost the whole police force for refusing to sign a pledge promising to neither belong to a union nor participate in a sympathetic strike. These replacements were totally untrained, but better paid than the police had been. When the North-West mounted police were called in, they charged into the crowd of rioters on the 17th of June, hitting them with clubs and firing their weapons. This day became known as Bloody Saturday.
Yes, I do believe these riders were the Special Constables. That was a beautiful pocket watch replica mounted outside Dingwall's wasn't it? I wonder what happened to it? That beaver sign in the distance says 'Mons', which was another WW1 battle.
It's February 1st 1922, and peaceful once again in our city. Someone had the time to build this lovely ice sculpture against what looks to be the Legislative building (I think).
The peace didn't last long though, here we are on June 23, 1922, and Winnipeg is wondering what hit it! A cyclone went through, leaving devastation in its path. These two women standing in the garden of what used to be their house on Toronto Street don't look too unhappy though, maybe they were well insured. Or maybe they were just thankful to be alive!
This was the Arctic Ice Plant until the cyclone decided otherwise.
I think this might have been some kind of cafe prior to the cyclone going through. That is the only word I can make out on that board.
It looks as if the person who owned this business lived above it. I wonder if he was in bed when it hit? More to the point, I wonder if he lived? It says 'Auto livery' on the door
I don't know which street this is, but people have gathered to see the damage. Note the bicycle on the left, was it being ridden when the cyclone hit? Where is the rider?
Sheila tells me she thinks this Winter Carnival was in the early 40's in River Park, at the south end of Osborne, where the Park Theatre is today. I find this mind boggling if she has the correct year, because there was a war on at that time. Sheila says that if you look way off into the distance, you can see the top of the other toboggan slide, and the canopy is just showing at the top of the picture. She suspects that the photo was taken from the top of the second slide, where Churchill High is now - up around where the Municipal Hospitals used to be.
This really does look like a lot of fun doesn't it? The name on that ice sculpture is Winnipeg Hydro Electric, so maybe they sponsored it.
Now we move up to 1950, and take a look at some aerial shots of the flood saved to the collection by Sheila's father.
The title has been cut off this one, it reads St. Boniface Sanitorium
What a magnificent collection you have Sheila. Thank you SO much for allowing us to see them!
Those of us living in Winnipeg are so grateful for 'Duff's Ditch', which was the nickname given to the Red River Floodway when it was first built. If you would like to read more about this engineering marvel, check out this page: FLOODWAY