Category Archives: Manitoba Heritage

Reid’s first novel now available at McNally Robinson


With gratitude and love I dedicate this book to my parents, Helen and Bruce Dickie, whose gifts I used every day of my life, and to Linda, who lit my way.

Available now at McNally Robinson

Moments away from puberty, young Jim Crawford begins to discover how his newly effervescent maleness gives fresh meaning and expression to manhood in his family, friendships, community and beyond. Set in a small Canadian prairie town just as the tumultuous social and cultural changes of the 1960s begin, Play the Jukebox is a character-driven story entwining bright wholesome and dark pathological expressions of masculinity. As his own unique gifts reveal themselves, Jim learns the heights and depths to which men will go to defend family and future and how shared experience creates diverse forms of camaraderie between men and women.

Jim’s life revolves around pop music and records. The 45 – the little record with the big hole – is king; radio disc jockeys, record players and jukeboxes spin the seven-inch discs constantly. He discovers intimate links between hit songs and his own development as he travels from town to town changing the records in jukeboxes with Percy Peel, a mystery media mogul who leaves lasting impressions on Jim. As they did for millions of 1960s youth, The Beatles play a defining role as one of Jim’s change agents.

McNally Robinson: If you are coming into one of our stores, we suggest that you confirm that the book you want is in stock by emailing the location nearest you: Grant Park, Saskatoon, or by phoning the location nearest you.


Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Fiction, Friendship, grief, Hope, Humour, Love, Manitoba, Manitoba Heritage, Movies, Music, Prairie People, PRAIRIES, Radio, shaman, shamanism, Spirit, Winnipeg, Wisdom

Carberry Report Spring 2015


Reid Dickie

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. 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.

IMG_2265Just 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.


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Filed under Carberry, Festivals, Manitoba Heritage

Panic Don’t Panic – Fiction

Reid Dickie

A steamy prairie wind blows in from the west, the city swelters, the garbage blows up and down Graham Avenue. Come Soon Summer does a finger check because the wind told her to. She curls her fingers toward her and counts. One two three four five. One two three four five. Yup, all there, even the one with the dirty plastic band-aid on it. Someday she will look under the band-aid and see what is there but not today.

She knows the finger stealer is nearby. Perhaps it’s the white man who thinks he’s cool in wrap sunglasses. Maybe it’s the old black lady with the thick glasses and the polka dot shopping bag. Or it’s the tiny drooling googly-eyed baby in the huge plastic carriage, or its mother, the thin distracted woman sipping a take-out coffee through a straw as she navigates the giant tram through sidewalk traffic, picking away at some black thing in her hand, the plugs in her ears telling her how to be in the world and what to do. Whoever it is, there is danger.

Come Soon Summer hears all about the danger from the wind through the elm saplings along the sidewalk, the whish of the bus tires on hot cement and the chattering in her head. There is danger. One two three four five. One two three four five.

When she remembers where she lives, Come Soon Summer can always go home, back to the little boxy house in the bush by the little stream that drowned somebody every summer for twenty five years but never drowned Come Soon Summer, not even once. In the house she sees her half-brothers Ilis and Orlis feet up watching some game on TV, eating zesty chips from crackling bags and bubbling water from plastic bottles. She sees first their feet then their legs being removed by the diabetes and she sees the spinning spokes of their wheelchairs create fluttering birds in the late afternoon sun. She spirals into the flickering light, her fetch overshadows her ghee. She doesn’t understand her thoughts.

Come Soon Summer finds a piece of thick blue chalk on the sidewalk. It is a finger, she thinks, someone has lost a finger. She counts her own fingers. One, two, three, four, five. One two three four five. All there.

She picks up the chalk, which has fallen out of a girl’s bag as she ran from the library to the waiting family car. Is the library on fire? Come Soon Summer asks herself again and again until she can’t remember the question anymore. That’s how she likes it, when she can’t remember the question anymore. She is holding chalk with all her fingers. That’s all. That’s all she knows, needs to know.

She remembers she can write. She can’t think of anything she needs to write or even wants to write. Come Soon Summer has no words. She stands weeping wordlessly as the library door swooshes open and closed.

She remembers the only two words any of us really need to know. They come rushing at her, toward her and she captures each one before it gets lost inside the word zoo building. Together the two words squeeze out small music in her mind.

The blue chalk is becoming moist and crumbly in Come Soon Summer’s hand. She now knows she needs to write and she knows what she needs to write. She kneels and applies the blue chalk to the red brick sidewalk in front of the library. A wad of gum sticks to the chalk. She flicks it away and feels the chalk expressing her command beneath her hand. She feels powerful. Her words appear large and blue.


 Don’t Panic

Slouched against the stone building Come Soon Summer watches as library patrons walking in and out scuff her words away, her important message, her blue lines disperse like clouds in a red brick sky, vaguely tinting the soles of boots and shoes that later at home cats will sniff and sneeze from the blue dust of her chalk.

Come Soon Summer sneezes just as a woman in office clothes bends toward her offering her a loonie. Come Soon Summer takes the metal thing and smiles widely at the woman, revealing her blackened and broken teeth and the dark gums that still keep some of them in place. Come Soon Summer looks at the metal thing in her palm and suddenly lets out a yelp that startles a library patron who is chaining up his bike at the rack. One of her fingers is gone! Another yelp! Gone! One of her very own fingers! Counting one, two, three, four… only four, one gone! She curls her fingers toward her and counts again. “One two three four…” Still one short! Panic, Don’t Panic, Panic, Don’t Panic!

Something else is going on.

Come Soon Summer looks across Graham Avenue into the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church where men are shouting and hooting. Coming on the run around the side of the church is a barefoot young Cree man pursued by four slightly older native men, all of them high as kites on whatever they managed to steal from Canadian Tire that day. The boy runs through the iron gates into the traffic on Donald Street barely dodging cars. Traffic clears and his pursuers easily catch him on the sidewalk beside MTS Centre. They strip off his torn t-shirt and hold him as they take his jeans and run across Donald waving his clothing victoriously in the air. They stand across the street, pointing at his nakedness and shame, their laughter sounds like coyotes.

The naked man’s name is Shaq, actually Shaquille. Short on heroic role models of their own, Shaq’s young Cree parents named him after a black American basketball player due to cross-cultural empathy between downed natives and suppressed American blacks. Shaq is not seven foot one, he’s five foot ten. His smooth young body carries two souvenirs. Along his right side above his waist is a foot-long scar, still red from a knife attack by his drunken sister three months previous. Shaq almost bled to death that time. A sharp indentation on his right shoulder reminds him of the bullet that he caught on Alfred Avenue in the North End when he was eleven. Friendly fire, the cops called it.

On the sidewalk next to MTS Centre, Shaq quakes in anger, his head and long black hair shake as he clenches his fists by his side. Throwing back his head, he lets out an enormous existential wail of angst that echoes back and forth between the old church and the brick and glass boogie room. As he wails, his arms and clenched hands rise skyward, fists shaking over his head. His prolonged, resounding howl sounds like Wolf.

Naked and howling Shaq feels perfectly alone. He reaches inward and draws out his power animal fully, becoming Wolf on the sidewalk next to MTS Centre, powerful, brave. He howls again and again, each more desolate, more authentic than the last. He looks down at his naked body and howls again, this time tinged with a little laughter but ever Wolf. He throws his fists open and claws flex out of his fingertips. He leaves scratches on the afternoon sky.

His tormentors, though still curious what he will do next, lose interest in the game and throw his t-shirt and jeans onto Donald Street. Shaq watches as cars run over his clothing again and again. Clothing seems so irrelevant now, so unnecessary, so imperfect. I am perfect, Shaq thinks. When the traffic clears, he walks into the street, retrieves his wardrobe and dresses in the middle of Donald Street while drivers honk around him. Smiling and baring his teeth, he gives each one a fond finger.

At the same time as Shaq is naked and howling, behind him and proceeding along the sidewalk next to MTS Centre Come Soon Summer sees an orderly double line of poisonous mushrooms, orange bobbing mushrooms, the most dangerous kind!

In fact, they are not poisonous mushrooms, or even mushrooms. They are the Grade Two class from Our Lady of In Spite of Ourselves Catholic School – all twenty two of them, each wearing a neon orange hat for easy spotting during disasters – under the management and advisement of two obese diabetic women who are not their teachers but teacher’s assistants assigned the dirty job of tending the small flock through the maze of downtown, treacherous filthy downtown with its lurid crime, lack of predictability and unbenign deaths as seen on TVs in Squash Squander Heights and other suburbs surrounding Winnipeg. The women and their entourage are headed toward the Millennium Library for Storybook Time with Gerty Glucosemeter.

Both Eleanor Fecunder and Sessious Pindrover, minders of the little herd and both mothers though not of any of the children in their tow, are wearing similar toxic orange hats. The children have been trained to look for “the lighthouse of an orange hat if they are feeling lost.” As a result, child snatchers now, as a rule, have a neon orange hat in their glove box. Neither Eleanor nor Sessious know this or even care. They just want to get the herd to the gee dee library without any of them being flattened by a bus.

Sessious, leading the line, is the first to notice the commotion of the Indian boys. Her heart rate jumps thirty beats a minute, her eyes widen and her pupils dilate in a strange reaction to the anti-depressants she gobbles daily. She sees the naked man, turns toward the children and screams at the top of her lungs, “STOP!”

Bumpily, all the children stop, most are frightened, some start to cry. Eleanor, riding shotgun at the rear, finally sees naked Shaq and yells at the top of her lungs, “RUN!!” Confused, the children start to run past Sessious and Shaq. All of them turn to look at Shaq. Waiting for the light at the end of the block, some children still cry, others, curiosity enflamed, stare big-eyed at the man howling on the sidewalk. Storybook Time with Gerty Glucosemeter turns out to be rather anti-climatic. All the mushrooms make it through the ordeal, none squashed, all home safe and sound.

That evening, around the dinner table in the Bubbler household on Pillsbury Crescent Roll Crescent in Plunging Plover Plateau, Dad (Blair) asks his seven-year-old Son (Seth) what he learned in school today.

“I saw a wolf.”

Dad (Blair) is surprised. “You saw a wolf? Really? Where did you see a wolf, son?”

“Downtown, when we went to the lyberry, there was a wolf howling on the sidewalk. He had no clothes on.”

Dad (Blair) smiles at his son’s active imagination.

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Filed under Fiction, Manitoba Heritage, Winnipeg

Classic Cars, Trucks and Machinery at Carberry Heritage Festival

Snapshot 1 (17-02-2015 12-29 PM)

Reid Dickie

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

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Linwood School, 266 Linwood Street, Winnipeg (1913)


Reid Dickie

Pop quiz!

What Winnipeg school’s alumni includes the City’s first woman mayor Susan Thompson, bandleader Jimmy King, Liberal Cabinet Minister Mitchell Sharp, Olympic speed skater Gordon Audley, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and former National Defense Headquarters Chief of Air Staff Ken Pennie?

Hint: it’s in St James.

This diverse group all haunted the halls of Linwood School.

Though having recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, Linwood School sits on a lot used for schools for 130 years. St James School, a white two-storey wooden building with a large bell tower that sat on the southeast corner of the lot was the original school on the site. Built in 1885 and known in the neighbourhood as The White School, it burned down in 1913. Students attended classes in tents during construction of the current building, also called St James School. The name was changed to Linwood School in 1951 to avoid confusion with the newly opened St James Collegiate.

The original trustees’ names are carved in limestone on the front of the school. The architect is LINWOOD11scan0007listed as A. Melville and the trustees were Alex Gunn, Chas. Holden and J.H. Cotter.

Scottish-born Winnipeg architect Alexander Melville designed the present building. Melville, and his enigmatic brother William, a civil engineer, were responsible for at least 14 of Winnipeg’s fire halls, many of them still standing. (Under the heading of Winnipeg Degrees of Separation, we find Susan Thompson who, besides attending the Melville-designed Linwood School, was later a resident in a fire hall on Dorchester that had been renovated into condominiums. This fire hall was a Melville Brothers design.)

The Melvilles created plans for the Empire Hotel on Main Street, Broadway Court Apartments, Ashford Apartments on Balmoral, Touraine Apartments on Ellice and the Coliseum Dance Hall, all now demolished. One of the few houses the brothers designed, the G.A. Glines house, still stands at 55 Hargrave though its exterior has been substantially changed. Check out this Manitoba Historical Society page for all of Melville’s buildings.

The stately, two storey red brick and concrete Linwood School resembles the size andLINWOOD22scan0001 shape of British Board schools but with a more horizontal emphasis. A large school, it has 20 classrooms set on a tall foundation allowing adequate basement usage. The bricks, laid in running bond, have developed a beautiful patina that changes colour: in shadow, it is deep wine-red; in sun, it turns almost chestnut. Seven belt courses of contrasting limestone surround the building from cornice to foundation complimenting the school’s seven bays. Ribbed pilasters are used to great effect on all elevations.

LINWOOD SCHOOLThe formal front entrance (left) has wide stairs leading toward double doors and sidelights under a low arch with decorative stone keystone and label. Above that, a limestone ledge and brackets sustain three narrow windows and more elaborate limestone work is crowned with the school’s name and datestone.

The school’s fenestration, over 150 windows, adds lightness and openness to the exterior. All windows have limestone lintels and sills.

At the back of the completely symmetrical school is a pair of entrances (below). Grandly carved in limestone over one door is “BOYS”, over the other “GIRLS”. Thought this conjures all manner of questions, the reason was simply logistical: boys and girls lockers were most easily accessible through the separate doors.



Inside, the hallways are wide and bright with pilasters and beautifully restored oak throughout. The wainscoting and trim around all the blackboards is oak. The large marble sections at the entrances have recently been cleaned and refurbished. Original interior glass is etched with decorative floral designs. On the lower level, there is a large assembly room with built-in stage original to the building.

Classrooms have high ceilings and five large windows making them bright and airy. The linwoodschool1 rearpressed tin ceilings are gone; however, the cast iron railings with oak banisters remain.

From its opening in 1914, the school held elementary classes on the main floor and high school classes above. When St. James Collegiate opened in the early 1950s, the higher grades moved there.

An annex was added on the north side in 1953 and the gym in the early 60s. Though both are brick, their one-level utilitarian style is dwarfed by the mass and scale of Melville’s creation. Above is a view of the symmetrical rear elevation.

The school proudly displays an Honour Roll of former students who died in both World Wars, a venerable and appropriate tribute found in many Winnipeg schools.

In 2013 Linwood School celebrated its 100th anniversary with student reunions and nostalgic events. Watch a four minute video created for Linwood’s centenary.

There has long been a connection between Linwood School and the St James Horticultural Society. The Society has used the school for monthly meetings and flower shows since 1914.

Administered by the St James-Assiniboia School Division, today Linwood School educates 197 children (2012) from Kindergarten to Grade 5. The middle class neighbourhood around the school has been stable for so long that third and fourth generations of the same families are now attending Linwood. The school is so integrated into the community it has over 100 volunteers every year. With its stately and solid appearance, this fine old building grandly reflects the stability of the area it serves.


Linwood School

Built 1913

Additions 1953, ca 1961

Materials: red brick, limestone, concrete

Style: Georgian Revival, Romanesque Revival two-storey

Architect: Alexander Melville

Current assessed value: $2,217,000

Acreage: 4.2 acres

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January 16, 2015 · 6:30 pm

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Twelve

 Gingerbread House, 510 James White Way, Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Heaven and Nature sing…

Merry Christmas 

Why Carberry?

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Festival, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Eleven

Bank of Montreal, 33 Main St. Carberry, MB


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 Factoid

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

Why Carberry?


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Ten

Forbes Building, 40 Main St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?

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12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Nine

Brick House, 20 Ottawa St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?

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12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Eight

Nelson Butt Building, 31 Main St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

Gas lights were installed in Carberry in 1902.

Why Carberry?

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12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Seven

McPherson House, 123 Dufferin St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Six

Manitoba Telephone System Building, 121 Main St. Carberry, MB


MTS built dozens of these little buildings all over Manitoba in the late 1930s and during the war years to house the telephone switchboard, operators and offices. Carberry’s was likely built about 1941. Few remain. This eye-catching pile served its purpose: to remind people to use the telephone. The Spanish Colonial Revival detail of the red adobe tile false roofs (they are tin) on three sides accentuates the compactness of the massing and the sweet roofline, all plain as plain can be. Yet it catches the eye, makes you want to call someone up, tell a few lies and see how quickly they get around town. Contrasting with the stucco cladding is the red soldier course of standing brick around the windows and door. The chunky wide brackets under each fake roof give the roofs principle.

Carberry Factoid

Excellent Carberry trivia: one of the British airmen who attended the flying school in Carberry was actor Richard Burton. It’s not clear if he was an instructor or a trainee. Burton was nominated for an Oscar seven times and never won but he did marry Elizabeth Taylor – twice.

Why Carberry?


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Five

Webb House, 139 Selkirk St. Carberry, MB


This sweet variation on Second Empire architecture was the home of W. J. Webb who ran the Carberry Meat Market. Built in 1895, the roofline is its most compelling element. A variation on a mansard roof is cut with tall ornate dormers and a small door opening onto a roof balcony enclosed by a scrolled balustrade. The roof spreads over the large porch and the front room and is supported by brick columns. The rich colours give the home a pleasant aura. I love the little white pediment above the porch entry.

 Carberry Factoid

The British Commonwealth Training Station No. 33 of the Royal Air Force was founded in 1940 to train military personnel for World War II. Its Service Flying Training School was located at Carberry. In five years 3,000 airmen were trained here with British wives and children accommodated in the town. The school’s motto was Unity is Strength. It published a regular newsletter entitled the RAF Rag and disbanded about 1945. Where the McCain Canada processing plant sits south of town was the site of the airport.

Why Carberry?


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Four

A. E. Gardiner Building, 116 Main St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2014, Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Three

Lyons Mansion, Hwy #5, 1 km south of Carberry, MB

Lyons house next to Hwy 5

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 Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?

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12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day Two

Old Town Hall, 122 Main St. Carberry, MB


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 Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?

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12 Days of Christmas in Carberry – Day One

 Carberry – North Cypress Library, 115 Main St. Carberry, MB


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.

Carberry Factoid

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.

Why Carberry?

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Inside Birtle Indian Residential School 2014


Reid Dickie

UPDATE June 28, 2015 The remains of the residential school and the land it sits on have been put up for sale on Kijiji. Price reduced from $99,000 to $79,000 CDN. Here’s the link

Perched on the edge of the Birdtail River valley above Birtle, MB stands the ruins of an Indian residential school. Built in 1930, this two- and three-storey red brick and limestone building was the third residential school in the town. The 1882 school burned down in 1895. The 1895 school, near this site, was demolished and replaced with the present building. Closed in 1972 and largely abandoned to the elements since, today the place is a fascinating shambles. In June 2014 I took pictures and video of the school inside and out. BIRTLE 005Smashed glass brick basement windows. Thoroughly vandalized, there are few unbroken panes of glass left on the building. BIRTLE 002Rear view of the building.  BIRTLE 004Appropriate graffiti on old shed next to school. BIRTLE 030The facade of the three-storey section of  school.  BIRTLE 010Smooth limestone pointed arch over the front entrance.  BIRTLE 029Just inside the front door looking out.  BIRTLE 025Remains of a colourful mural on the wall inside the front door.  BIRTLE 028Hallway to large auditorium. BIRTLE 014Ice cube trays on a decomposing couch with evidence of fire on the floor. Several small areas in the building have been blackened by fire but it’s mostly masonry with little to burn.   BIRTLE 012Well-graffitied auditorium.   BIRTLE 019Ruined elegance. Once-stylish over-stuffed armchair now oversees the peeling of the floor tiles.BIRTLE 024Bird’s nest atop hanging metal ceiling fragment.  Pigeons, robins and swallows use the place to roost and nest.BIRTLE 021The one remaining unbroken urinal in the building.   BIRTLE 023View out third floor window of pretty little Birtle in the valley below.


This archival picture shows the school not long after it was built in 1930.

Click here to view my five and half minute video tour of the school.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Photography, Schools

Mid-Century Winnipeg – The Cave Supper Club

Wpg Earle Hill & His cavemen at Cave Club 1937

Taken in 1937 in Winnipeg’s Cave Supper Club (likely located where Giant Tiger is at Donald and Ellice), Earle Hill and his Cave Men are about to entertain the evening crowd. There were also Cave Supper Clubs in Vancouver and Edmonton (it was a chain). Stalactites and huge mushrooms were prominent motifs in all of them.

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Filed under 1930s, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Music, Winnipeg

Carberry Heritage Festival 2014 – Updated

Third Annual Carberry Heritage Festival

Friday and Saturday August 7 & 8, 2015



Reid Dickie

Carberry celebrates its rich heritage with the Second Annual Carberry Heritage Festival Friday and Saturday August 8 and 9, 2014. This year’s all-age festival features the return of some favourites from the inaugural event and a line-up of new entertainers and experiences. mark morriseau Events are free unless noted.

Returning for the Friday night old-time dance is extraordinary fiddler Mark Morisseau (left) and his band. Dance starts 7:00 Friday evening at Carberry Community Hall, 224-2nd Ave. Tickets are $15, light refreshments served. Click his pic for a preview.

On Saturday the Manitoba Muzzleloaders will be back in their buckskins demonstrating flint-lock long guns.

Friday events include an old-fashioned Strawberry Social at Drop-In Centre, 132 Main St. Sponsored by Carberry Plains Museum. $5. admission. Also a display about local WWI training camp, Camp Hughes.  Street buskers and artisans as well as walking tours of Carberry’s unique Heritage District, the only designated one in Manitoba, happen both days.christina

Scheduled for Saturday is an 2:30 pm performance by Christina the Crazy Hooper (right) who recently won a talent contest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She’ll do a workshop with kids of all ages after the show. Bring your hula hoop. Other new performers on Saturday include a 3:30 pm grobbworkshop by Manitoba singer/songwriter Sheena Grobb (left).

Sheena and her band will also perform an evening concert with local Celtic musician Becky Nikolaisen as the warm-up act. Tickets are $10 adults, $6 youth under 12. At Community Hall, 7:00 pm.

New experiences on Saturday include a town tour in a carriage pulled by a team of heavy horses, a display of live heritage breed animals (chickens, swine, goats, cattle, etc.) and a display of hand-quilted treasures. Taste a variety of edible wild plants with botanist Laura Reeves at the Seton Centre.

On Saturday also expect street buskers, artisans, kids’ activities, antique flea market, Ernest Thompson Seton’s birthday party, walking tours of the town and cemetery, and much more.

To accommodate festival events, one block of Main Street will be closed to traffic. Events begin at 2:00 on Friday and 11:00 am on Saturday.

For family fun and warm country hospitality don’t miss Carberry’s Second Annual Heritage Festival Friday and Saturday August 8 and 9, 2014.

I’ll be attending both days and documenting the festival for my blog and YouTube channel. Check out my video report from last year’s festival.

Carberry is located 42 kms east of Brandon on the Trans-Canada Highway and 3 kms south on Hwy #5.

For the latest info on our next festival check out

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