Tag Archives: heritage

Old Town Hall, 122 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

The last or the first historic building along this side of Main Street.

As the datestone 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 mode  and it still serves the town as a multi-purpose building.

The front elevation is a wonderful study in symmetry. The brickwork, laid in standard running bond, expresses the Classical elements: the flat roof with quiet cornice, the grand arches over the three openings, CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 104each surmounted with arches and 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 place was used for offices, meeting rooms and as the local jail.

In a small treed park on the same lot as the town hall stands a somber handsome sculpture of a soldier along with a cenotaph listing the local dead in the two World Wars.

Today the building continues its role as community space housing CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 103offices for the Cypress Planning District, Arts Council, North Cypress Weed Control District and the Emergency Measures Organization and providing a meeting place for various community organizations.

Pa Tuckett recalls occasionally sitting with a prisoner in the jail in the basement of the town hall. This was back in the 1940s and 50s. “The law required a prisoner never be left alone so somebody had to sit with him all night. It paid well and you didn’t actually have to stay awake,” remembers Pa. “Usually it was some drunk causing a ruckus and winding up in jail. One time, quite by accident, they caught a wanted man here. I sat with him. He was the only prisoner that talked to me. He said some scary things. I just listened. He never found out who I was.”

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


Reid Dickie

Another unique building in Carberry!

Yes, in Manitoba’s only Heritage District which offers dozens of different styles, materials and uses, we find yet another unique structure! 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.

CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 106Built 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. Hiding behind the boomtown storefront is a forward-facing, medium-pitch gable roof.


Thomson used one 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,CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 108 the pattern on the blocks remains crisp and vibrant, a testament to the builder.

The two rougher patterns on the boomtown parapet imitate blocks but are actually a metal covering. The quoins were created by raising the corner blocks. The lintels and sills are concrete.

Today it houses The Seton Centre but its original moniker is well earned. A. E. Gardiner ran a harness repair business out of this place for 48 years starting just after it was built.

Pa Tuckett spent a lot of hours jawing with A. E. “We were like brothers sometimes,” Pa remembers, “Close and caring. We used to joke that one fixed up busted horse leather and the other fixed up busted automobiles, who would win. I think A. E. knew the answer to that all along.”

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Flower Shop, 110 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

Crossing Third Avenue heading north

Manitoba’s lone Heritage District features two buildings used extensively by various telephone systems. The building across the street at 121 Main was built by Manitoba Telephones and became the new home of the switchboard and telephone operators after 1939. The flower shop building was used by Bell Telephone company from 1906 to 1908 then it was taken over by Manitoba Government Telephones. Since 1980 it has been series of flower shops including Phyll’s Flower Shop,  Arlene’s Floral Boutique and Flowers and Gifts.

Though thoroughly clad in metal siding now, beneath lurks another fine one-storey brick structure with flat roof. Unassuming andCARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 112 utilitarian, the building’s facade is a symmetrical display of central entrance bracketed by large display windows. This side view shows the addition at the rear of the building.

Pa Tuckett’s daughter Jane worked as a switchboard operator in this building for about six months before moving into the new telephone building across the street. “Jane had a sweet and very distinctive voice that people recognized on the street and on the phone,”  says Pa.

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McCullough Building, 48 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

At the end of the contiguous bricks on Main Street

The McCullough Building brings us to the end of the existing brick buildings along this block of Carberry’s Heritage District. This one-storey brick structure was constructed in the late 1890s and has served a number of family-owned grocers and butchers over the decades.

Simple and practical, this little store sits on a rubble stone foundation, has a flat roof and a high front parapet suggesting boomtown architecture.

CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 113In this picture you can see how the McCullough Building is now the anchor at the north end of the block since the Rex Cafe building was demolished. The side of the building displays the original brown-red brick of the structure.

This vintage picture – the McCullough Building is the second building from the left – reveals its original brickwork with corbelling below thecarberry main cornice, tall display windows with a multi-paned transom over the entrance and the furled fabric awning which many of the storefronts along the street used to protect against the hot afternoon sun.

For many decades, the store housed grocers including Sam Bookhalter, Tony Blair, Kotaska Brothers, Les Christopher and A Peill. It was a Solo Store for a quite a few of its years. This ad is from the local history book marking Carberry and area’s 75th Anniversary in 1959. It gives a nice history of the Blair family in business and augments the heritage aspect of the book. According to this account, the building once included the now-gone Rex Cafe to the north.


When I mentioned the Solo Store to Pa Tuckett, a small smile arose on his lips and he very quietly said, “Oranges.” I asked him to repeat. “Oranges,” he said. “I had three kids, Willie, Jane and Zeke, not Ezekiel, just Zeke, okay? They all loved oranges. You didn’t find many oranges on the dusty prairies during the 1920s and 30s but when you did, it was a little bit of heaven. This was back when Sam Bookhalter had the place, way before Solo. Sam’d send his delivery boy over to our house to say he just got a small shipment oranges in. Me and Myrt would scurry over and buy as many as we could afford which wasn’t usually many. I remember the bright eager eyes of the kids, gathered around the kitchen table, watching as I cut every orange into quarters and gave each kid one. Their little faces, wet and dribbly with juice, beamed for oranges like nothing else.”

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Wright Building, 46 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

Our stroll north along Main continues.

Virtually identical to its neighbour, the Pharmacy Building, in its original look, today modern lathe and cladding obscure the similarities. Erected in late 1890s, this two-storey mixed-use building served various and sundry occupants, both commercial and residential, ever since.

carberry main

The Wright Building is third from left in this classic early shot of Main Street. The same Romanesque Revival features – corner pilasters, arched windows, corbelling and drip moulding –  abound here just like on the adjacent building.

The entrance appears to be recessed with transom window over the door and tall display windows abutting the street. The building was constructed on a stone foundation and has a one-storey shed roof addition at the rear.

An early resident of the building was Hood’s Bookstore after which it became the local library. For a number of years Haubrick, Marnoch and Scott Insurance Agencies occupied the main floor which more recently housed Linda’s Hair, Antiques and Collectibles.

An avid reader, Pa Tuckett spent many pleasant hours in Hood’s Bookstore. Pa loved the cowboy stories of western writer Will James. “Will was a very good artist as well as being a writer,” says Pa. “I especially enjoyed his illustrated novels. The American Cowboy is my favourite.”

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Pharmacy Building, 44 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

Nestled among brick companions

Although known as the Pharmacy Building, 44 Main has housed a succession of professionals including doctors, dentists and pharmacists since it was built in the late 1890s. Long and narrow it fits perfectly into the row of contiguous structures from the period.


In this early picture the Pharmacy Building is fourth from the left. Hiding beneath its present metal cladding you can see the building has similar Romanesque Revival detailing as its adjacent neighbours. Continuous lines swept across the facades, corbelling dripped from the cornice, arched windows prevailed and a sense of continuity lived among the bricks.

This is a shot of the interior of the drugstore when it was owned by G. W. Walkey. 

CARBERRY0001In addition to Walkey and its current occupant, Falk Pharmacy, the building has housed many other pharmacists over the decades: Dennis McMillan, Eric Lee, Colin Barlow and H. D. Spearin.

Often updated over its decades of service, the Pharmacy Building’s facade has been modernized on the main floor and its original appearance covered with vertical metal cladding on the second storey.

Pa Tuckett’s second wife and mother of their three children, Gilda, gave birth to their second child, in this building. Here’s how Pa put it, “That was when Doc Gilbert was still around. You remember him, with the lazy eye. You never knew exactly what he was lookin’ at. Anyways, Gilda was round and ripe and doing her morning shopping on Main Street when her water broke as she was going by this building. She walked in the front door, her friend Jolene was the nurse who called Doc Gilbert and an hour later we had a beautiful baby daughter. We named her Rosalind.”

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Forbes Building, 40 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

More built heritage along Carberry’s main drag.

Going by the brick detailing on the second floor facade, the Forbes Building and its neighbouring Kowalchuk Block are twin sisters linked at the adjoining wall. Design elements, such as the drip moulding,  American bond, corbelling and segmental arches above the windowsCARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 125 are shared by both buildings.

Notice the delicate wood frame detail between and above the individual panes.

The main floor is attractive with its recessed entrance surrounded by large display windows below a series of transoms. I suspect the entrance to its second floor is next door at the Kowalchuk Block.

CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 124The Forbes Building, erected in late 1890s, served as commercial home to two long-time Carberry businesses. Funeral directors  J. B. Davey and Son were early occupants. Carberry Radio-Electric inhabited the space for a number of decades.

Pa Tuckett bought his first TV at Carberry Radio-Electric. “It was 1961 when I decided TV wasn’t just a fad. The roof antennae blew off three times in the first year.”

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Calvary Pentecostal Church, 141 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Manitoba’s only designated heritage district encompasses two blocks of Carberry’s Main Street. This is our last stop in the district on the west side of the street.

Other than its modesty, the most striking feature of the former Pentecostal Church is the marvelous mottling effect of its tricoloured bricks. The three shades – a light tan, darker tan and darker reddish-brown – create a woozy visual dance that is most noticeable on the street facade and tower. Expertly laid, staggered vertical rows along with the squat square entry tower create the sensation of ascension in a modern but reserved way.

The tricolouration of the bricks is used with especially delightful results around the openings. The surrounds of the pointed former window, side window on tower and the front entrance combine headers and stretchers in a simple but visually stimulating fashion. The rounded side windows are topped with a similar but more subtle spray. Though intentionally plain in mass and detailing, the brickmanship makes the place jump.

Built largely by congregation volunteers in 1942, the resulting church demonstrates their determination to remain stalwart. Set back from the public sidewalk and impressively positioned on its lot, the former church adds yet more eclecticism to Carberry’s heritage district. Its design arose from several sources. Notice the combination of Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival styles, the latter above the modified front window and the former over every other opening.

Pa Tuckett told me, “My second boy Zeke got hitched in that church in the late 40s. She was a sweet innocent girl named Shyla. Zeke was 19 and she was 17 and they had six kids that lived before Zeke turned 30.”

Today the building serves as a law office. Its former occupants include a cafe and clothing store.

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Three More New Church Videos

Reid Dickie

I always shoot many more pictures than I can use in posts so I’ve assembled the extra church pics into short videos and uploaded them to my YouTube channel.

You get to see contextual views of how and where the building sits, shots of it from many different angles and some sound to accompany the vision. I have featured all three churches in blog posts. Click on the church name to read my blog post. Click picture to watch the video.

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Minnedosa, MB  2:17

Griswold United Church, Griswold, MB  2:01

St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Poplar Point area, MB  2:26

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Manitoba Heritage – Tenby School, Tenby, MB

Reid Dickie

Most one-room schoolhouses built in rural Manitoba were small, modest and unassuming affairs, usually of wood construction, occasionally made of brick. Tenby School, located in the R.M. of Lansdowne, is the exception, in fact, a unique exception. Two factors contribute to the school’s uniqueness: its design and its building materials.

Rather than a small rectangular box, the usual design for country schools, Tenby School is larger, almost square and features a pyramidal roof. Windows along the south side brought light into the classroom as did the two gabled dormers which open into the room. The north and west walls are without openings to protect the room against our prevailing northwesterly winds.

The school’s facade, with the peaked dormers and extended vestibule, is dramatic despite the small size of the building. The gabled entrance and dormers suggest the unbuilt portion of the pyramid roof.

In 1904, the year the school was built, a popular construction material was employed: concrete blocks. Before you could buy blocks ready-made, itinerant crews traveled the province with portable block-making moulds that created the materials onsite and in the exact quantity, quality and with the features required. In the case of Tenby School, the blocks are long and rectangular and sport several finishes.

Many different finishes were available to the block makers and Tenby School is an excellent example of the building method, featuring four types of block detailing. Smooth blocks, rough blocks, striated blocks and floral blocks combine to create a delightful exterior. The elegant floral design is used on the corner quoins to fine effect.

Around the time this school was built, Tenby was a going concern. Named after a town in Wales by the community’s founder James Griffiths, Tenby had many businesses, a water tower that serviced steam locomotives as well as a grain elevator. Today little remains of the town but for a house or two and this remarkable little schoolhouse. The local residents have done an excellent job preserving this unique Manitoba relic. I would suggest they get a new Canadian flag to fly, replacing the rag that flapped in the breeze during my visit. Tenby is located NNE of Neepawa with access off Provincial Roads 260 and 575.

Find many more stories about Manitoba schools on my Schools page.

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St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church, La Salle, MB

Reid Dickie

Towering above all else, including the cottonwood trees in the little French community of La Salle, MB, south of Winnipeg, stands St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. Representing the strong faith of the local population for over 100 years, this masterfully achieved edifice of buff brick possesses an inspiring plethora of design details on every facade.

The form of the large church is transept – shape of the cross – with an elaborate front facade that evokes order and ascension climbing to a slim bell tower surmounted by a shimmery steeple.

Let’s take a close look at the front facade. The most striking feature is its comfortable symmetry, not a line out of place, not a wasted brick, just upward sweeping motion. 

The brickwork is marvellous. There are three arcades (rows of arches), each with five arches, formed by the brick design, two are sloping downward under the roof eaves and the centre spans the front of the entrance pavilion just below its cornice. The smooth corbelling (layering of bricks) that forms the arcades is superb, creating interesting shadow and light combinations.

As with the arcades, all openings in the building are arched. The front entry, the window above with its trio of slender windows under a circular focus and the openings in the bell tower are all arched. All openings have a limestone keystone at the apex. The keystones on the front have small tablatures.

On the ends of the transepts there is another series of corbelled arcades, thirteen arches under the eaves and above large round windows with spoke tracery. All around the place under the eaves is a sweet bit of corbelling that adds to the ornate sensibility of the church.

In true heritage geek parlance, the bell tower/steeple is a honey! Eight arched openings, each keystoned with a scroll and separated by square columns and capitals, create the still-inhabited bell tower. Above the bell tower a short eight-sided dome supports the steeply pitched octagonal steeple that ends with a round pinnacle and a metal cross spire.

La Salle, MB is located south of Winnipeg on Provincial Road 247 a few kms west of Hwy #75.

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Dog Day Drive on the Sweltering Prairie

Reid Dickie

Yet another 33 degree C. (over 90 F.) day in a perfect summer which demanded a short jaunt out of The Hive onto the lake bed southeast of Winnipeg! There was enough breeze to slake the heat. The air was full of chaff from plundering combines wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Three MCC thrift stores hit along the way – Niverville, Grunthal, Steinbach – with zilch to report from all of them. Surprising!

I paused in Sarto to see if Willow Plain School was open. It wasn’t. Instead I talked to Jake who was restoring the traditional blue window trim to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarto. Here’s Jake at work.

You’ll notice the onion dome at the front of the church is a yellow colour, part of its new coat of paint. Jake thought he’d be repainting them. Here’s a view of the church with its yellow domes. Sarto is on Provincial Road 205.

As I drove east along 205, I saw a number of unusual small buildings along the road about a mile west of Hwy #12. They turned out to be elaborate sheds. Called estate sheds, they are definitely not the kind you buy at Canadian Tire. Some resembled cabins, others playhouses and barns. All the designs had certain delightful, whimsical features.  Two guys were working assembling one of the cabin sheds in the heat. Henry and Ernie told me they came prefab and there are dozens of styles to choose from. All styles have double doors, either on the side or front, to easily access the shed and move equipment in and out.

The company is Triman Estates Mini Sheds in Neepawa, MB who can special order the sheds from Miller’s Storage Barns in the U. S. They come in dozens of sizes and shapes, colours and you can even customize them yourself. Find out more about the company at http://www.playmorswingsets.com/playmor-swingset-dealer/triman-estate-mini-sheds.

Three kms south of Steinbach next to Hwy #12 is St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. You can’t miss the tiny white chapel with the red roof, pointed Gothic windows and tall skinny steeple. In back of the church under shady oaks rest dozens of local parishioners.

The beach at St. Malo Provincial Park was thronged with sunbathers, swimmers, beach volleyball players and people escaping the heat.

This memorial to the deceased who have been shuffled around while the modern world “progresses” can be seen next to provincial road 311 half a km south of its junction with Hwy 59.

Here’s its B-side.

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St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko, MB

Reid Dickie

A one-of-a-kind example of two Ukrainian churches in the same churchyard – one original, the other succeeding – can be discovered in Sirko in extreme southeastern Manitoba, about a mile from the Minnesota border.

The original St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church, of log construction, was built in a vernacular style in 1908 under the direction of Dmytro Waskul. Its small rounded rectangular plan accommodates the vestibule at one end and sanctuary at the other. Its delightfully painted interior can hold about 30 standing adults.

The unusual roofline with deep overhanging eaves supported by large V-brackets and trisected at the ends to produce a curved space is fully engaging. The three crosses along the peak of the roof leave no doubt as to the function of the little place.

Next to the old church is a log bell tower of traditional Ukrainian design and construction.

Modest, holy and surrounded by the graves of former parishioners, many with tall white crosses denoting their Orthodox faith, the old church shares its sanctity with its replacement.

Indicating the success of the second generation of Ukrainians, they replaced their humble utilitarian building in 1950 with a grander expression of their faith.

Larger and more substantial, the style is familiar: cruciform with three small banyas or onion domes, one surmounting a larger central dome and arched Romanesque openings all around.

A new bell tower was constructed along with the church. In this picture you can see both churches and both bell towers. The new St. Elias, a focal point of the local farming community, is still used regularly.

Blue on blue, white on white, the church and sky harmonize on a hot Manitoba afternoon.

Watch my 3:08 video of both St. Elias churches.

Sirko is located about five miles south of MB Hwy #201 on Mile Rd 54E just east of Sundown.

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Davidson Building, 109 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The tenth building in our series on Carberry’s historic main drag is a doozy!

Carberry’s local history book states this is among the earliest buildings in town, “established” in 1883. Situated strategically at Main Street and Third Avenue, a major intersection, the Robertson Block, as it was originally known, has displayed its two full facades which demonstrate deft design and skilful brickwork for almost 130 years.  It’s showing its age, mainly with discoloration and the deteriorating stucco job, but still holds its own in commanding attention and supporting the street’s heritage prestige.

This earlier picture (1960s?) of the block shows the detailed brickwork on both faces along with the elaborate design of the main floor facade.

This brick two-storey, supported by a stone foundation, has a flat roof with a delightful roofline of stepped parapets, raised pilaster capitals and tall chimneys visible due its corner location. The side view facing Third Avenue has a three-bay designation, each bay corresponds to a step in the roofline, is bisected with a pilaster and has an increasing number of arched windows with drip moulding.

The Main Street facade’s upper floor features fine Romanesque details set, with masterful symmetry, into three bays. Here Romanesque design is represented in the segmental-arched windows, the raised brick drip moulding over them, the corbelled (stepped brick) cornice bracketing the arcade of sweet arches below the pediment. Pure poetry lovingly written in brick!

The building is substantial, more so now that it incorporates the one-storey structure next door into its current use. The one-storey has been used as a movie theatre and garage and now as part of the grocery store. It was The Palace movie theatre starting in 1940 when bought by Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Baldwin. It played to packed houses every night with R. A. F. training personnel. In 1953 Muriel and Gordon McPhail purchased the theatre and made improvements. As with many rural movie houses, TV put the kibosh on The Palace. Its last incarnation was known as North Cypress Theatre.

During its thirteen decades, the corner building has housed pioneer merchants, implement dealers, butchers, rental meat lockers, a World War II service club for personnel stationed at the RAF flying school that operated nearby and a grocery. In its early incarnation as the A. Robertson Block, the two-storey store housed Robertson’s Furniture Store for many years. Later it became a butcher shop run by W. D. McMillan who sold it in 1964 to Ken Davidson, another butcher. Davidson’s Meats offered locker plant services to Carberry residents before home freezers became available in the late 1950s. Today, durably, it is still Davidson’s Meats and Grocery thus earning its current moniker The Davidson Building.

Just before they were married in the summer of 1918, Pa Tuckett rented a pretty little cottage on Dufferin Street in Carberry for him and his new bride. That fall he added a white picket fence. Alex Robertson had his furniture store in this building at the time so Pa and Amelia bought furniture for their first house. They only bought the basics: a table, two chairs, one lamp and, of course, a bed.

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Ray’s Diner, 43 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Our next stop along Manitoba’s only Heritage District gets us to Ray’s Diner.

Obviously no longer Ray’s Diner but still known as such for heritage purposes, 43 Main Street is much like its southerly neighbours as reported in my two previous posts in this series. A practical commercial space, also built about 1900, Ray’s Diner is a one-storey structure with wide display windows flanking the central entrance, flat shed roof and stucco walls.

As you can see in this earlier picture, the place had some nice brick corbelling just below the cornice and elaborate brackets on the tall pilasters separating the buildings. “Modernized” now, meaning most of its heritage character has been covered over by cladding and fake stonework, the building still contributes to the historic nature of Carberry’s Main Street.

Over the decades this location has housed numerous businesses including offices for auctioneer R. H. Lindsay, Knuckey’s Barber Shop, T. D. Stickle’s grocery, Al’s Coffee Shop and a hardware store run by Cliff Addison.

Pa Tuckett, who had a head of thick, black hair, remembers jawing with Knuckey the Barber. People called him A. J. While discussing the major issues of early small town life, A. J. always gave his customers a clean cut and a sharp shave. “He never drew blood, not even once,” affirms Pa.


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St. Anne’s Anglican Church, MB Hwy #26

Reid Dickie

Built in 1864, St. Anne’s Anglican Church is one of the oldest log churches in continuous use in western Canada. Situated on a peaceful treed lot and surrounded by graves that date back to the building of the church, St. Anne’s  was constructed largely due to Archdeacon Cockran who was the founder of the Church of England Missions in the Assiniboine River valley.

Its plan is a simple rectangular nave with an entry tower topped with a pyramidal roof and a pinnacle with a weathervane. The four corners of the roof sport wooden pinnacles as well. Three windows on each side of the church allow adequate light, aided by the window in the apse behind the altar. All windows including the skylight above the entrance feature Gothic Revival pointed arches and complementary tracery.

The above picture is of the entrance to the church. You can see the exposed log construction. A building technique known as Red River frame, which was once the most common building technology in Manitoba, was used to build St. Anne’s. The method involved creating a framework of vertical logs, then placing short horizontal logs to fill in the spaces. Of the few remaining Red River frame buildings in the province, St. Anne’s a prime and precious example.

This picture of the interior of St. Anne’s displays the simple altar and the original plain decor of the church.

St. Anne’s Anglican Church is located just south of Hwy #26 a couple of kms west of Poplar Point. Watch for signs by the side of the road. Shrouded by mature trees, you can’t see the church from the highway. Meanwhile watch my short video of St. Anne’s

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Carberry Gingerbread House Video

Reid Dickie

I shot some footage of one of Carberry’s finest old heritage piles: the White House aka Gingerbread House. Read a previous post about this house and its history. Now part of Carberry Plains Museum, which you will also see in the video, the gingerbread house performs charismatically and unabashedly to some “original” sound I created by combining noises from freesound.org. Just click the pic above and it all unfolds for you.

See more heritage guff and such on my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/DickToolCo/videos

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Royal Canadian Legion, 25 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Here’s part three of our jaunt back in time on Carberry’s Main Street.

Modest, sturdy and practical, one-storey brick buildings sprang up in most growing Manitoba towns, supporting a variety of commercial and social uses. Built in the 1890s as two separate long narrow buildings, Carberry has an excellent example of utilitarian town building. The business roles of the two buildings changed frequently until they were merged in the mid-1950s and became the Royal Canadian Legion, a hub of social interaction in the little town. Pa Tuckett has fond memories of “bending a few with the old boys” at the Legion.

Though primarily functional, this little one-storey has a few elements of interest. The buildings are both wider than usual, have flat roofs, brick walls and stone and brick foundations. A shallow pilaster indicates the original border between the two spaces. Their interiors are deep and open and now connected with a partial opening in the separating wall.

In this picture from Carberry’s early days, the Legion is the second building in. It had lovely brick corbelling along the cornice and well-defined indented entrances. It’s possible some of that brickwork still exists behind the blue cladding above the entrance.

Today the little buildings, now united behind a single facade, sport the bright red Royal Canadian Legion signage and the Canadian flag flying above. My picture doesn’t do it justice. It inspires a disproportionate amount of awe for its size. Nestled between the Charlie Sear Building and the Murphy Block (the next post in this series), perhaps its role bringing continuity to the heritage ambience of the street accounts for some of that.

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Warkentin’s Blacksmith Shop – MB Heritage

Reid Dickie

Built by Henry Warkentin in 1931, used for thirty years as his blacksmith shop, this unassuming building by the side of the road is now a municipal heritage site. Located at 2172 Hwy #26 a few miles west of St. Francois Xavier, MB. (watch for lot numbers on blue markers) this simple vernacular building reminds us of a very specific aspect of our past, part of pioneer commerce before the days of welding shops and modern farm machinery. Click on pic to watch my video.

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Fort la Reine Museum, Portage la Prairie

Reid Dickie


Fort la Reine Museum in Portage la Prairie is one of the most progressive and inventive museums in Manitoba. Their Lennon/Ono exhibit last year drew the curious. Always looking for new wrinkles to make use of the museum’s collection, this week I received an email from them suggesting “get married at our museum.” What a novel idea!

Fort la Reine i do

They have all kinds of interesting venues to actually hold your wedding including a couple of heritage churches. You can get wed elsewhere and use the museum as the setting for your wedding photos with various amenities available. I Do details are on their website. Even if you’re not getting married the museum is a worthwhile stop, just off the TCH on the east side of Portage.


Under an overcast sky, the mighty Avenger and I took a spin westward on the TCH to Portage la Prairie last Friday. A quick shop of PLP’s thrift shops, it has three, yielded just four classy 1950s glass tumblers @ $1 each at the MCC. A slow cruise through Island Park, literally a park on a large island in the middle of the Assiniboine River, and a pause for a Horts got me homeward bound. But not before a stop at the Fort la Reine Museum on the east side of PLP. The gate and all the buildings were open but Tracey Turner, the museum’s curator and manager, said they don’t officially open until Monday, May 7.

The evil-looking device next to the barber chair is an early electric hair curler!

I spent half an hour roaming the sprawling museum which is comprised of 27 different pioneer buildings and items brought into the site creating the feeling of a village.  Heritage purists disparagingly refer to these kinds of museums as “petting zoos.” They believe that heritage value exists only when the place is in situ and that value disappears when a building is moved. Not being a heritage snob, I like the clustering of buildings from various times and uses. Fort la Reine Museum displays all the qualities that I appreciate in a museum.

Such as? The pleasant feeling of an early pioneer village. When you enter there is a row of old buildings as you might find on a main drag of a prairie town around 1900. The pictures at the top are of the interior of the museum’s general store. Also on site are a replica of Fort la Reine (the original was built by La Verendrye in 1739), a red barn, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church, fire hall, print shop, school, doctor and dentist’s offices and West Prospect Church.

Specific items on display include a York boat, Musketeer aircraft and several houses. The houses range from a reproduction of a  trapper’s crude shack, the Paul family’s log house built in 1879, the Hourie house built in 1890, the Burton house from early 1900s and the Douglas Campbell home. Each house represents an improvement in accommodations and demonstrates the development of prairie architecture from rude shacks to elegant Queen Anne Revival style homes.

The museum has a significant railroad component which includes the private rail car of Sir William Van Horne, the flamboyant general manager of the CPR, a superintendent’s car, a signalman’s shack and a caboose.

Another reason I like this museum concept is, without it, most of these buildings would have been destroyed, converted into sheds and granaries or left to rot into the prairie. Even though they aren’t in their original location, they do still exist thanks to the museum.

Tracey Turner told me they are doing something new this summer. In July and August the museum will host an exhibition about the various traveling vaudeville shows that crisscrossed the country in the early 1900s. Called Voices of the Town, Vaudeville in Canada, the exhibit is on loan from the Peterborough Museum and Archives. I’ll provide more information about the exhibit when its opening day draws nearer.

Meanwhile, the Fort la Reine Museum offers plenty to see and be amazed by. There is lots of space for the kids to run about, fascinating one-of-a-kind exhibits and friendly knowledgable staff. The museum makes a terrific Manitoba day trip. Find out more about the museum here http://www.fortlareinemuseum.ca/

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Filed under Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Hope, Manitoba Heritage, Museum, Pioneer Village, Pioneers, Roadside Attractions