66 Years in the Making!
3 Plays for a Quarter!
Yes, it’s true!
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Regular readers of my blog know I am enthralled with the rich heritage of Carberry. Over the last two years I’ve worked on creating a comprehensive walking tour guide of the the town. This was one of the recommendations of the provincial heritage branch when they designated two blocks of the town’s Main Street as Manitoba’s first (and still only) Heritage District on June 12, 2007. It’s been a labour of love that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly especially since the result is a beautiful book.
I lost track of how often I visited Carberry doing research on the book. I was aided by many people in town. Val Andrey at the archives answered my many questions and provided archival photographs, Kelly Garnett at the museum found pictures for me and Cathy Drayson, president of the Carberry Heritage Festival, was the mover and shaker who raised enough funds to have the book printed. Here’s a sample page. Click to enlarge.
The result is a high quality 56 page book that features articles and pictures of 45 Carberry heritage sites including the 28 designated buildings on Main Street as well as houses, churches and a few phantom buildings that no longer exist. Along with vivid descriptions, the book contains 86 pictures, most in colour, some archival, a numbered map of the walking tour through town plus interesting facts about Carberry and its history.
As well as promoting Carberry’s wealth of built heritage which is unique in Manitoba and rare on the prairies, the book is a fundraiser. All proceeds from the sale of the book are shared equally by four local heritage organizations: Carberry Plains Museum, Carberry Plains Archives, The Seton Centre and Carberry Heritage Festival. The book costs $10 Can.
Once the book was researched, written and designed, raising money for printing it was the next step. Cathy Drayson deserves kudos for her efforts in this regard. I raised $250 from Westoba Credit Union, the Chamber of Commerce chipped in a substantial amount but it was Cathy who raised the lion’s share, approaching local businesses and individuals for donations and selling nine ads in the book. Without her there would be no book. Thank you Cathy!
Through Carberry News-Express 500 copies of the book were printed by Derksen Printers in Steinbach and came out two days before the 2015 heritage festival. We sold 65 copies at the festival and sales continue to be brisk. The printing job is exceptional and I’m grateful to Derksen for their professionalism and cordiality. This is another sample page. Click to enlarge.
The format of the book – 8.5 by 11 landscape folded horizontally – allows the tour to be walked or driven and it is very pocket and purse friendly making it easy to mail. It’s a great gift for heritage buffs everywhere (think Christmas), for current and former residents of Carberry and area, for birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and visiting friends and family. The book is an effective local promotion and marketing tool for Carberry councils, organizations and businesses, too. It demonstrates pride in the past, honouring those who built the town and farmed the land.
Visiting Carberry and area is a fascinating Manitoba day trip. Hidden in plain view next to the Trans-Canada Highway, Carberry is about 90 minutes west of Winnipeg and 30 minutes east of Brandon. My tour guide enriches the experience even further and has broad appeal to those with an interest in Manitoba history.
If you live in the Carberry area, the book can be purchased for $10 at the Carberry/North Cypress Library, 115 Main Street, Carberry Plains Archives, 122 Main Street. I will be signing copies of the book at the One-Stop Shop on Friday November 6 at the Carberry Community Hall. It will also be available at the Craft and Home-Based Business Show on Saturday, November 28 at the Carberry Community Hall. My readers can order it directly from me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a postage fee of $3 per book in Canada (slightly higher elsewhere) in addition to the $10 price.
Although I still travel widely in Manitoba on the look out for heritage stories I have found enormous personal satisfaction focusing my efforts on Carberry. I feel I’m made a valuable and lasting contribution to the town, that I have made a difference which was my intent. Thank you to the wonderful people of Carberry for their support and understanding.
The picture above shows the second largest city in Manitoba in 1916. Over 30,000 men trained for WWI at Camp Hughes just west of Carberry. A town sprung up around the training base that included movie theatres, hotels, even a swimming pool. Almost 100 years after its heyday, Camp Hughes consists of some indentations where the trenches were and a cemetery housing those who died during training and local people from the area after 1920.
Camp Hughes is one of my favourite stopping spots for its solitude and subtle beauty. On Monday I happened to be power napping when two vehicles arrived carrying two Carberry men – former town mayor Wayne Blair and Brad Wells, both members of Friends of Camp Hughes. They came bearing the architect’s plan for an information kiosk on site that would expand upon the small provincial plaque that currently explains the area’s past. One of the directors of the Shilo Artillery Museum arrived and shared numerous ideas for design and information location. The aim is have the kiosk done for the site’s centenary in 2016.
The Friends of Camp Hughes hold a heritage day every fall and invite the public to visit and learn more about the base and its activities. This year the event is on Sunday October 4 starting about 11:00 til mid afternoon. There is no charge for the event. Camp Hughes is located off PR 351 about 14 km west of Carberry. Watch for signs that will direct you in via a good gravel road.
One of the new events at this year’s Carberry Heritage Festival was the Transcription Electronic Varied Analytic Computer otherwise known as the Tel-Vac Series 101. That’s it behind the two happy guys above who are Father Shane Bengry and his son Ty.
For $3 the machine analysed a sample of my handwriting revealing my true inner nature and life potentials. Here’s what the Tel-Vac Series 101, built in 1968, discovered about me.
Watch a 1:23 video of the machine in operation and comments by the operators.
See the red serge uniforms of the North West Mounted Police riding against the blue prairie sky. Kick up your heels to the music of Mark Morisseau, the best Métis fiddler in the land. Have flashbacks watching the retro fashion show of glad rags spanning the 20th century. Smell the sweet aroma of heavy horses as they pull the elegant carriage you are riding in. Those are just a few of the experiences awaiting visitors to the Third Annual Carberry Heritage Festival, Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, 2015.
“The festival is becoming more diverse every year,” says Cathy Drayson, president of the festival board. ” We’ve added lots of new elements for 2015. It’s exciting to find new ways of defining and presenting our local heritage that’s fun for all ages.”
Highlights of the festival include a NWMP re-enactment troupe complete with horses and riders dressed in the iconic red serge uniforms, along with other period costumes, a display of artifacts from the late 1800s, a rope maker and a campfire donuts demonstration.
Another highlight is the vintage fashion show on Saturday with live models wearing duds spanning the decades from flapper dresses and wide ties to ultra-cool Fifties sleek suits and tight dresses, Sixties flare pants and love beads to those ghastly Eighties prom dresses, all with appropriate music, of course.
Popular last year, horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Carberry are back as well as guided walking tours of the town and cemetery. Workshops and demonstrations include rug hooking, fermented foods, vintage cars, trucks and implements, tree trimming, antique quilt show and a display of animals and birds from Rare Breeds Canada.
Enjoy an old fashioned strawberry social and Ernest Thompson Seton’s birthday party, cut a rug to Mark Morisseau and his band at the old time dance and browse our vendors featuring jewelry, honey, local publications, fabric art and a large flea market. Buskers and other entertainers along with a bouncy house and mural painting will amuse kids of all ages. The festival concludes Saturday evening with a swim and a movie at the Carberry Rec Centre.
To accommodate the festival, one block of Main Street will be closed to traffic. Events begin at 2:00 pm on Friday and 10:00 am on Saturday. Most events are free.
For family fun and warm country hospitality don’t miss Carberry’s Third Annual Heritage Festival Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, 2015. For updates on festival events check out http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com
Carberry is located 42 kms east of Brandon on the Trans-Canada Highway and 3 kms south on Hwy #5.
The Carberry Heritage Festival received some good news this week. In addition to confirming several events for the festival, they were awarded $2300 in federal grant money. The grant, from Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage, a branch of Canadian Heritage, will help the festival expand its roster of local artisans and performers as well as aid in promoting the two-day festival slated for August 7 and 8, 2015.
I’m helping out again this year acting as publicist for the festival. As more artisans, performers and events are confirmed, watch the festival website for updates. http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com You can also find them on Facebook.
As you can see in the picture above, something is afoot with the old Bank of Montreal on Carberry’s Main Street. Wooden hoarding, scaffolding and debris netting cover the facade. The old pile has fallen into severe disrepair lately and there are concerns that pieces of it have started falling off. A sad situation for a unique building. When I asked around Carberry what was happening to the bank, the responses were quite vague. Public safety is an obvious concern but something else is going on as well. Stay tuned for future reports.
Just west of Carberry, off PR #351, Camp Hughes, the World War 1 training camp, is undergoing a transformation this year. Currently all that marks the spot is a government plaque and a self-guiding walking tour. Friends of Camp Hughes have told me that plans are underway to add a kiosk to the site providing more detailed information about its history. They hope to have it completed by their annual Camp Hughes Day in late summer.
This 1919 Ford truck was one of the many vintage vehicles on display at the Carberry Heritage Festival. As you can see it’s a crank start. Click the pic to watch my two-minute video of some of the other cars, trucks and farm machinery at the festival.
The 2015 Carberry Heritage Festival takes place Friday & Saturday August 7 & 8.
The festival website is http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com
Somehow life managed to transport me to age 65 this year placing me firmly in the category of senior citizen. Of course, I resist that as much as possible while still getting the geezer discounts and pensions that accrue to me. Turns out, for me, 65 is the new 45. I originally told friends 65 is the new 40 then I started comparing myself to some 40-year-olds I know and realized I needed to adjust my figures.
It’s become obvious from The Long View that there are at least two kinds of age: the number of years I’m around which is relevant to the system as my part of the herd, and age as a state of awareness which is relevant to me as an individual and the growth I accomplish in this life. Both need to be honoured.
The Mighty Avenger accompanied/enabled me on my 14,000 kms of summer travel, alas, for the final time. Dodge has decided to discontinue making Avengers so my moving persona will be overhauled next year when it comes time for Mother Enterprise to birth me a new vehicle. I will miss the Avenger. Over the past five summers I’ve driven ten different Avengers, all basically the same. Sitting in the car was as familiar as sitting in my living room. The performance was consistent car to car, year to year, as was the service I received at Enterprise.
My large video project The Lonesomes: 16 Prairie Stories wound up on YouTube after many unsuccessful attempts at getting it into film festivals. YouTube has the individual stories plus the entire work. Along with the sixteen short videos, I posted the script and the backstory for each story on my blog. This was the year I went after free wild samples big time, downloading hours of free images and sounds from sites like freesound.org and archive.org. This provided the basic content for a few dozen short videos which I call absurd found art. One example I’m especially fond of is called The Curve. I downloaded a short black and white video clip of a curve in a road and added the muffled sound of people walking. I decribed ten spontaneous stories of events that happened at this curve. The parameters of the descriptions were easy: each had to contain a number. I combined the stories with the video and an hour later had my piece. It needed an intro. The images of the red curtain rising and falling is perfectly absurd. Click the picture below to watch The Curve. It’s 3:45 long. Incorporating found material I created four short videos using my flash fiction stories as narratives. Click the pics to watch. Itinerary Item 1:35 Grass of the Apocalypse 1:17 I Am Aspen Smoke 4:38 God is At Home/Atomic Prayer 4:53 Along with my found art and other video documentations this year, I have been compelled by The Muse to write my coming-of-age in a small town in the 1960s novel, now almost complete. The working title is Some Stuff. My hometown provides the physical layout for the town in the story. None of the characters, including mine, bears much resemblance to anyone in particular. Instead the characters are composites of aspects and traits I’ve noticed over my life. I’ve never embarked on a project this intense or complex. It requires me to spend five to eight hours a day writing. Backed up with a solid outline, the thing starts to write itself after awhile. Characters become overly familiar and take on a life of their own. I see them at the coffee shop or grocery store. A couple of characters have suggested their own destiny to me, some quibble about a line of dialogue I have written for them, other characters will join in the debate. It’s a long conversation that goes on in my head which I empty out daily, spattering it across the pages. No matter how good or bad a character is, I am responsible for every one of them; they live and die by my key strokes. Despite that, I find the characters sometimes use me as their conduit to get the words on the page. I just type what they tell me to.
Over the past five years I’ve devoted an enormous amount of energy and time studying the Criddle/Vane family and their incredible story of survival as pioneers on the Canadian plains. Their reasonably intact homestead has been a constant source of inspiration as I followed their story with the intent of it becoming a screenplay one day. Regular readers of this blog know the homestead is a favourite haunt of mine. I visited the homestead on Monday, June 23 with my cousin Vonda who had never been there before. The house had recently been boarded up (above) so no access inside was available. I’ve felt for some time this would be an excellent idea, at least to protect it somehow. Two days later on Wednesday June 25 arsonists burned the 120 year old Criddle/Vane house to the ground. The crime remains unsolved. The sign on the left is located about three miles south of the turn-off to the Criddle/Vane homestead. Although the house is gone, documentation of it exists in several ways. One of them is my 3:55 video tour of both floors of the interior of the house which I shot in 2013. I haven’t returned to the homestead this year. I can’t really bring myself to see it without the eight-bedroom house towering over the remains of the family’s history, the enormous amount of wood the place required and the glories and tragedies the house contained. It makes me angry that more protection wasn’t given to the place; the threats to it were real and obvious. Another effect of the loss has been a dulling of my interest in heritage. Over the years my endeavors have been quite scatter-gun all over the province, dabbling in this and that. Moving past that I decided to focus my heritage energies on one location and try to make a difference there.
Deciding where to focus my energy and intent was quite easy. I just picked the place with the best heritage stuff outside of Winnipeg – Carberry. I’d helped promote the first Carberry Heritage Festival in 2013 by writing a media release for them and documenting the festival. In 2014 I was much more involved in the festival, attending planning meetings and promoting the event. A family emergency prevented me from attending the 2014 festival but it was deemed a success by organizers and the next festival is August 7 and 8, 2015. Check out the festival website. It wasn’t just the heritage buildings and unique history that attracted me to Carberry, it was and still is the people. I’ve met some of the nicest, most sincere people of my life in Carberry. When I go there I am reminded of growing up in Shoal Lake – the leisurely pace of life, the friendliness of people even to strangers, the lack of most of the crappy things about urban life and the sound and vibration of trains going through town. Carberry heritage people are very appreciative of my contributions. In addition to building the festival website, this year I also wrote and designed a walking tour book of Carberry that features 45 heritage places. I’m still working on some design features for the book but hope to have it available for the summer of 2015. Possibly the Carberry town council will help fund the book then the local heritage organizations can sell it as a fund raiser. I’ll keep you posted.
One of my heritage interests has always been Winnipeg’s grand old schools, the ones built in the first half of the 20th century. Over a decade ago I did a freelance series for the Winnipeg Free Press on the schools, even writing and designing a book on the subject that no one wanted to publish. This year I updated the school features and posted them on my Schools page. Earl Grey School (left) was my alma mater for the series which I explain in the article. The other schools already posted are Isbister/Adult Education Centre, Ecole Provencher, Luxton, La Verendrye and Laura Secord. I am posting them in chronological order by the year they were built. I expect to post six to eight school features a year. In addition to the old schools that still stand, I feature ten schools that have been demolished with pictures and descriptions. Along with posts on Winnipeg schools, the Schools page has articles on many rural schools, architect J. B. Mitchell, spiral fire escapes, live-in custodian suites in schools, William Sisler, the first junior high school and much more. I had a teacher mom and I have posted her Grade 11 exams from 1930 along with the rules of conduct teachers of the era were expected to follow. Coming soon is a feature on some of the teaching materials Mom used in the 1930s when she taught in rural Manitoba.
Besides Carberry and the nearby Camp Hughes, two of my favourite spots this year have been Beaudry Park and Alexander Ridge Park. Beaudry is a small provincial park on the bend of the Assiniboine with some hiking trails and picnic areas. It sports a bit of original tall grass prairie. Situated just west of Headingley, the park is perfect for an afternoon’s relaxation to bask in the sun or sit in the shade and work on some details of my novel. Alexander Ridge Park (left) is halfway up the escarpment just west of Miami, Manitoba. The view of the vast lake bed below is spectacular making the 75 minute drive from Winnipeg well worth it. This year the park added a new lookout tower and a washroom. I spent many long hours working out details of the book at the park. I took a couple of old buddies to enjoy the view. Afterward a drive up onto the top of the escarpment wending my way back to the city.
I have a short list of artists of all stripes with whom I will gladly go wherever they want to take me. Musically Tom Waits is on my list, cinematically Federico Fellini and fully completely Dali. Obviously I have tendencies toward the surreal. I miss Fellini’s fantastic visions and not having a new Fellini film to look forward to. To remedy that I seek out filmmakers with similar artistic motives and motifs finding two this year. I have already posted about The Color of Pomegranates (1968), a surrealistic telling of the life of Armenian poet Sayat Nova by Russian director Sergei Parajanov. Released the year before Fellini’s Satyricon, the film creates similar trance-like imagery. The image on the right is from the film. This year I discovered a more recent film The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza, 2013) that celebrates Rome as enthusiastically and humourously as Fellini’s portrait of the city in Roma (1972). Well-known and well-loved writer Jep Gambardella, handsomely portrayed by Toni Servillo (left), has just turned 65 and attends party after party in his honour between which he reminisces about his life in Rome and his love affairs while interviewing a parade of odd characters for a book. Director Paolo Sorrentino, who also wrote the screenplay, often goes full homage to Fellini as in the early scene with the nun on a ladder half obscured by a lemon tree followed by a murmuration of black birds across a chem trail. At the 37 minute point there is a scene in a hallway of two men grieving for the same dead woman that is breath-taking! Modern Rome and Old Rome mesh in delightful ways: Jep’s apartment looks out onto the Colosseum and a performance artist does her bizarre act at the ancient Roman aqueduct. Jep’s friend Stefano has a case that contains the keys to Rome’s most beautiful buildings so we accompany them on a long nighttime jaunt through empty museums, palaces, promenades and incredibly ornate rooms, filmed with a definite shout-out to Fellini’s brothel scene in Satyricon. The sources of humour in The Great Beauty are the same as Fellini’s: bureaucracy, politicians, sexuality, religion. Jep interviews a 104-year- old saint (her feet don’t touch the floor) whose minder says the most outrageous things about her. At Jep’s dinner party in the saint’s honour, a flock of flamingos show up on his balcony (above) followed by the saint’s odd reaction. The Great Beauty won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 2014. If you like witnessing unlikely things you’ve never seen before, The Great Beauty provides two hours and twenty minutes of it, every moment striking and unusual. It’s not for everyone but it could be for you. Netflix has it in Italian with English subtitles. Watch the trailer. Other new movies I enjoyed included St. Vincent, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, I admit it!), Gone Girl, On the Road and The Hobbit. I’ve just come from seeing The Hobbit in 3-D D-Box. D-Box is where the seat moves and rumbles coordinated with the screen action. It added four bucks to my ticket price but nothing to the movie, immediately becoming more distracting than enhancing. The only time D-Box gave me a convincing sensation of the action was when people rode horses. The Hobbit was terrific fun. Martin Freeman has the perfect Hobbit face. Two movies I especially enjoyed mastered very specific cinematic techniques to tell their well-written stories. Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has Michael Keaton (left) as a washed-up movie superhero trying to make a credible comeback on Broadway. Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and the rest of the cast are marvelous as is the script. The entire movie appears to be one long take, i.e. one uninterrupted shot with no editing. Credit and, hopefully, some awards should go to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for the seamlessness of the movie. The stylish technique created a floating sensation for me that lasted the whole film. If you missed its first run, see it during its Oscar run in theatres. Birdman trailer. Locke takes place entirely inside a car at night and the only actor we see is the driver. That might sound tedious but write a well-oiled script that uses modern telephone technology in a new and inventive fashion to tell the story then hire one of today’s best, though somewhat unknown, actors and the result is riveting entertainment. British writer/director Steven Knight (he created TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) is responsible for the story and the vision and actor Tom Hardy (above) is the driver. The car never stops so the film unfolds virtually in real time. Hardy says near the beginning he’s ninety minutes away from London and he arrives almost exactly ninety minutes later. Considering he has only his chest and above to act with as he talks to various people on his hands-free car phone, Hardy easily overcomes the limitation and makes the role utterly convincing. During the shoot, Hardy caught a head cold which is incorporated into the drive as one more way his life is unraveling. Tom Hardy is under-appreciated even though he’s been in Inception, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Lawless (amazing role) and The Dark Knight Rises. Next summer he is Mad Max. Maybe then he’ll get the recognition his talent merits. Watch Locke trailer.
Thanks to Netflix I watched the British TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Watson (left). This is Sherlock for the 21st century and it’s a hoot with three seasons done and a fourth on the way. Its fun trailer. A fascinating series called Rectify with Aden Young as a newly released prisoner returning to his hometown has two seasons under its belt and returns in the spring. Netflix also has Lie To Me, one of the last series Linda and I watched together. Tim Roth reads facial expressions and body language to determine who’s lying and who isn’t. Educational and fun.
National Public Radio in the U.S. produced a 12-part podcast called Serial that revisits a real 15 year old murder by interviewing all the principals and seeking out new information on the case. Beautifully written and voiced by Sarah Koenig with very high production values I highly recommend it. Serial is available here.
Late in the year I discovered a German throwback band called the Baseballs (right) who capture the genre’s brash fun. Their original songs are often pastiches of numerous hits from the 1950s and 60s. They also rockabilly up some modern songs. On the player below hear the Baseballs jumped up versions of Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love, Alicia Keys’ No One and Robbie Williams’ Angels.
2014 at readreidread.com was a very good year with almost 80,000 views from 160 countries. I created 132 posts during the year and uploaded 679 pictures to my blog. This year-end review will be my 1010th post. Here’s how my blogging life went month by month.
I started the old schools series with Earl Grey School (left) in all its glory. I posted an article from elsewhere on ways to rebel in the Matrix and added an absurd cut-up video called What He Rebels Against.
Though I eliminated my Fiction page because WordPress is a crappy forum for almost everything now, I posted a short fiction called Bad Men Who Love Jesus. I profiled Isbister School now the Adult Education Centre and offered a feature on the 1948 Reavis Report on the future of schools and education in Winnipeg.
Ecole Provencher was the next old school feature. This month my large video work The Lonesomes: 16 Prairie Stories (right) was posted on my blog and also on my YouTube channel. You can read the scripts and backstory here and watch the video here. I posted on movies about the Beats made in the 21st century.
We had spring flooding in Manitoba this year that caused Spruce Woods Park to be closed for a while. I did three on-site reports. The next old school is Luxton in Winnipeg’s North End. I documented the ten years of my radio career with pictures and charts in a post called Read Reid Radio.
I reported on my first Spirit Sands hike of the year, my train trip to Dauphin and the awakening of the garter snakes at Narcisse in a post called Snakes Without Ladders. I re-reported on Kevin Richardson and the lions shot with a GoPro camera. An amazing story!
I reported on my visit to the Criddle/Vane homestead discovering the house had been sealed off (left). Two days later the house was burned to the ground by arsonists. I posted a short fiction piece called Watching the River Flow, a life-changing conversation between a husband and wife
More flooding at Spruce Woods Park with on-the-spot video and pictures. The Cooks Creek Medieval Festival was held this year and I have a full report plus video. I helped promote the Carberry Heritage Festival this year and posted often about it.
A major attraction at the Medieval Festival was the Prairie Caravan Tribal Belly Dancers. I offer some background on the troupe and video (right) of one of their festival dances. The heritage festival in Carberry was a success prompting a third year. Check out the Carberry Heritage Festival website for the latest information. More short fiction What Ever Happened To the Squareaway Children – Grindel, Cheyenne, Colloquia.
An offshoot of my rooting around for found footage online I created a daily short video series called The Good Old Days which started last month and accounted for the rest of my posts this month. See two samples: Five-horse, one man swather and stooker :55 and Cigarettes, Oh Boy 1:18
I celebrated John Cleese’s birthday, offered a new short video called Tesla As a Boy. I did a feature on a 1960s radio contest where CKY (left) tried to get a town to change its name to Seekaywye. I report on Marshall McLuhan’s 1977 visit to Brandon. La Verendrye School is next in the schools series and a new found video Guitar Concerto.
I posted the feature on Birtle Indian Residential School which I shot in June when my friend Mark and I went for a drive in western Manitoba. I created two more found videos – Just This and Oasis in Space which uses the sound poetry of Kurt Schwitters as its audio. I found some TV commercials Federico Fellini produced in the late 1960s including one for Campari. Five versions of one song – The Chokin’ Kind – rounded out the month.
I kicked off the month with a feature on Winnipeg 1910 to 1919 which tied into Laura Secord School. I found some lovely old calendar art from the 1920s which got me curious about calendar art in general. On the 124th anniversary of his death I posted two short fictions about Sitting Bull with an added bit of film this year. Then I started the 12 Days of Christmas – a daily look at one of Carberry’s wonderful heritage buildings. The series was very popular. Party hats (right) from the 1930s was a timely post. Over the Christmas holidays, due to hundreds of Facebook links, my post on the Vickers Viscount airplane in Garland from 2013 generated thousands of views giving my blog its best day ever and second best month ever.
I’ll give the last picture and the last word to my namesake Ezra Reid Scholl who’s just turned two. The little guy enriches my life beyond measure. I revel in watching him grow and change and learn. Among the many things Ezra has taught me so far is there is no better reason to make a silly fool of yourself if it makes a two-year-old laugh. This picture is Ezra at 17 months. Below that is a one-minute video mash-up I did of Ezra being extra cute. Click the pic. Happy New Year!
By far the merriest place in Carberry, James White’s gingerbread house, built circa 1900, occupies a prominent corner on Carberry’s south side. Contractor and inventor James White built it to reflect his Ontario heritage where Queen Anne style developed its own permutations. Fanciful yet formidable, subtlety and exuberance unite in striking accord in its expansive harmony and superb craftsmanship. The picturesque roofline features double gables with a shallow pitch between them. Under the gables, bull’s-eye windows are perfectly centred between substantial brackets, each of which features a delicate drop. The peaks of the gables contrast with the smooth arc of the bargeboard below. The design on the elaborate bargeboard, the triangle and dot, is replicated on the upper verandah. The colours are intoxicating. The distinctive red brick has developed a lovely patina over the century that accentuates the contrast with the rich white brick detailing. All windows are topped with elaborate headers in white brick, each with a drop, like on the brackets. Two belt courses in white brick gird the house and the bull’s-eyes are accentuated by the solid white brick enclosures. Every corner is loaded with white brick quoins. Notice the subtle use of the colour black on the building in the small details on the verandahs, window sills and lintels and under the gables. Though I could describe its detail for pages, this is a must-see-for-yourself place. Now part of the Carberry Plains Museum, guided tours inside the house are offered in the summer months. I’ll tease you with my four and a half minute video tour of the house inside and out.
The Carberry gingerbread house is one of only three houses with that design in Canada and the only one of the three still standing, making it extra precious.
From an important and imposing location, a red brick behemoth watches over Main Street. Its grandeur, though somewhat faded, its status as local landmark and its architectural presence make the Bank of Montreal Carberry’s most important building. Completed in 1902, originally a Union Bank, the structure combines enormous size, ambitious architecture and a variety of uses to become a unique exception to typical small town bank buildings in Manitoba. Its colour treatment of grey limestone, red brick and white trim is striking and alluring as is the combination of materials. The delicate symmetry of the facade is expressed in a wealth of handsome detail from the large elaborate chimneys to the elegant and steadfast limestone surround of the main entrance surmounted with a limestone balustrade and a bay window. The main floor housed the bank proper, the basement had offices accessible from the sidewalk, the second floor was home for the bank manager and his family and the third floor was a ballroom where clients were entertained.
Carberry holds an annual heritage festival every August. To celebrate its unique heritage designation, two blocks of Main Street are closed off to accommodate festival activities – performers, artisans, demonstrations, vintage vehicles and implements. The 3rd Annual Carberry Heritage Festival happens Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, 2015. Check out the festival’s website at http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com
Lovingly-restored to its original late 1890s appearance by owner Don Forbes, this building pops! It prompts the imagination to see the whole street newly built, colours bright and alluring. Going by the brick detailing on the second floor, the Forbes Building and its neighbour, the Kowalchuk Block are twins linked at the adjoining wall. Elements – the drip moulding, American bond, corbelling and segmental window arches – are shared by both buildings. Notice the delicate wood frame detail between and above the second floor panes. The main floor is attractive with its recessed entrance surrounded by large display windows below a series of transoms. The colour scheme of forest green and cream against the red patina of the brick feels warm and inviting. The Forbes Building served as commercial home to two long-time Carberry businesses. Funeral directors J. B. Davey & Son were early occupants. Carberry Radio-Electric inhabited the space for decades.
The parachute unit of the RAF training at Carberry along with several local musicians formed a troupe appropriately named the Rip Chords. They performed concerts around the area ending their career with a well-received stand at the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg. Their final song, called The Boat Song, praised the people of Carberry and Winnipeg for their hospitality.
Charming Queen Anne style details make this a local treasure. Built about 1910, this red brick one-and-a-half storey home is notable in Carberry for its use of gingerbread elements like the scroll and bracket work on both the upper and lower porches, striking against the red brick. The bricks are laid in standard running bond. The facade window in the vestibule has coloured glass, original to the house. Its floor plan is unique in Manitoba. The first owner was Joseph Mack who was a school trustee and municipal councillor. At one time the house was a duplex.
Typically in small towns, before there was a power distribution grid system, early electricity was generated by a local power plant. Carberry’s first electricity plant began supplying power in 1907.
The Nelson Butt Building makes a striking impression along Carberry’s Main Street due to its distinctive design, use of colour and recent faithful restoration by John and Sharon McNeily. Joseph R. Thompson built the Butt Building about 1896 and over the decades it has housed a variety of businesses including law offices, publishers, a bank and butcher shop. The place earned its present name by being home to the jewellery store of Nelson J. Butt from 1946 until 1992. The street view is a symmetrical dance of depth where brick arc and wood angle sway and commingle in sweet baths of white or red, figure and ground. The dancing balance is embodied in the superb stepped corbelling along and below the cornice, and enlightened by large display windows, sidelights and transoms in the recessed entry which promises unknown delights within. Three sensuous white arches pride the roofline and the pairs of second floor windows. The front elevation is virtually the same today as it was when it was constructed.
Gas lights were installed in Carberry in 1902.
A notable family built this lovely wood frame house in 1897 using a basic design enhanced by elegant Queen Anne style detailing. The expressive use of woodwork on the porch especially on the pillars and bargeboard along the gable end turns a common house plan into a heritage delight. The porch continues at the rear of the house with a second floor balcony. Notice the inset bull’s-eye window under the side gable.
In 1890 Carberry separated from the municipality and incorporated as a village. Its first mayor was W. W. Ireland who ran a lumber and coal store.
Now a museum and gift shop devoted to Ernest Thompson Seton, the world-renowned artist and naturalist who spent about ten years in the Carberry area, this building has a rich past. Built about 1915, this little place is a finely-crafted example of a popular building technique of the era: concrete blocks formed on site. Choosing from a variety of moulds with various facings, Frank Thomson of Austin, MB created the blocks and assembled them into this compact, one-storey commercial building. Thomson used a lovely pattern on the building. The intertwining floral design flows around the little place like sweet concrete syrup, a divine, resonant texture that embraces rather than creates the inner space. Even after almost a hundred years of exposure to Manitoba weather, the pattern on the blocks remains crisp and vibrant, a testament to the builder.
The Carberry Plains Archives, created in April 1988, has an extensive collection of archival artifacts and can assist local residents and their descendants with genealogical research and with the safekeeping of their precious family documents and photographs. The Carberry Plains Archives is located in the library.
Robert Fern Lyons was an early settler in the Carberry area who owned 2700 acres of land and raised crops and livestock. A Conservative, Lyons was elected to the Manitoba Legislature five times between 1892 and 1914. Lyons built his mansion just outside of the town. Though long abandoned and disintegrating quickly, the crumbling mansion retains enough of the detail to suggest its original magnificence. Built around 1895, the red and buff brick two-storey house combines elements of Italianate and Queen Anne architectural styles into a striking and luxurious pile. The first floor features buff brick, the second floor red brick, both laid in standard running bond. The commingling of both coloured bricks on the second floor is fluid and dynamic. The asymmetrical massing of the house, round segmental arches over the windows and the accent quoins are all Italianate elements that give the house a villa feel. Queen Anne style is represented in the two-storey rounded rooms, the bargeboard and fish scale shingles on the gable ends, the ornate three arched windows, which open into the stairway, and picturesque roofline. I suspect this place will be torn down soon. Watch my 3 minute video tour of the shambles inside the old mansion.
Carberry and North Cypress Rural Municipality are Spud Country. Every year local farmers plant and harvest about 20,000 acres of potatoes, much of it processed at the nearby McCain Canada plant.
As the date stone on the stepped pediment above the entrance states, Carberry’s old town hall was built in 1907. Brandon architect William Alexander Elliott designed the building in a Neo-Classical style. The front elevation is a wonderful study in symmetry. The brickwork expresses the Classical elements: the flat roof with quiet cornice, the grand arches over the three openings, each surmounted with keystones, the formal entrance, stringcourse and pediment. The little triangular transom creates a traditional pediment that adds to the elevating effect of climbing the stairs and passing through the recessed doorway into the formal world beyond. Being set on a high rusticated limestone foundation affords full use of the basement. As a town hall the basement was used for offices, meeting rooms and even the local jail.
Carberry was named by James J. Hill after Carberry Tower, county seat of Lord Elphinstone in Scotland. Lord Elphinstone, a director of CPR, was traveling with Hill inspecting the railroad line.
While most of the buildings along Carberry’s Main Street have been used for numerous purposes, this compact little structure has served but two high-profile uses since it was built in 1938: federal post office and regional library. The original building was the basic cube on the left. The addition complements the original building in style and materials. Overall, Art Deco describes the building’s architecture. Popular into the 1940s for federal government buildings, the style easily adapted to small town requirements of size and functionality. Art Deco elements here are the boxy massing, flat roofline, well-defined geometric lines and the low-relief ornamentation. Tall windows surrounded by soldier courses of bricks and limestone sills, the limestone surround of the main entrance contrasting with the red-brown brick and the stepped pavilion of the entrance all exude simplicity and durability, modern practicality at its height in 1938.
The first post office opened in 1881 as De Winton, named after Colonel De Winton who at the time was secretary to the Governor General. The name was changed to Carberry in 1883.