Tag Archives: Reid Dickie

Turn Out – Hot New Video on YouTube

Snapshot 2 (06-04-2013 5-44 PM)

Reid Dickie

In the late 1970s when Linda and I devoted our lives full time to multi-media creations, we recorded a 3-minute audio piece called Turn Out. It consisted of me reading a series of phrases, all of them  permutations of the phrase “When you turn out the light it gets dark very quickly.”

Jump ahead thirty years to the planning stages for the 2010 event commemorating Linda called A Celebration of Light and Linda. I asked my dear friend Chris Scholl to compose some music for an original black-light dance by fire dancers Wild Fire which was part of the Celebration. I gave Chris my 1970s reading of Turn Out to see if he could incorporated it into the show. The result has a relentless beat, driven by the dark and the light abetted by a chorus of coyotes.

Snapshot 3 (06-04-2013 5-45 PM)

The tune was a great success at the event. Recently I manipulated some of my digital images and gave the tune a visual capability that does admirably in keeping up with the beat.  Now it’s a hot new full-length music video called Turn Out by Morphogen and available for global consumption on YouTube. Share it with all your friends who love to dance!

CAUTION: the video includes several sequences of rapidly flashing lights.

Click any pic and PLAY IT LOUD!

Snapshot 1 (06-04-2013 5-43 PM)


Filed under dicktool co, Music

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Twelve

A. G. Hay House, 402 Clark Avenue, Killarney, MB

Hay House, Killarney

Reid Dickie

I love this house!

The house itself, brick with tall, square massing and truncated hipped roof, is attractive but rather ordinary, despite its opposing one- and two-storey bays.  Its location and Queen Anne Revival style decoration elevate its appeal and grandeur from great to wondrous.

Arthur George Hay from Ontario studied law in Winnipeg andFront view practiced in the Killarney-Virden area after 1893. The main section of the Hay house was completed in 1904. The rear addition was added later.

The two-storey entry pavilion and wraparound verandah are the most striking features. The wooden enclosed porch and the balcony above topped with a pediment and sunburst design accentuate the height of the house. Pediment detailTuscan columns support the porch and verandah, both of which are loaded with intricate wooden details. Notice the three distinct types of brackets under the roof of the balcony and the lovely turned pillars and balustrade.

The large and comforting verandah coddles the house adding to its grace with the conical-roofed corner pavilion topped with a classicSide view pinnacle. The single and paired Tuscan columns, small under-eave brackets and complex use of the colour green make the verandah sing while the rest of the house completes the harmonic choir.

Windows are mostly tall in proportion to the house capped with segmented arches. A charming detail and one that speaks to the overall high quality of the design is the small cutaways above the windows that accommodate the arches.

Yet among all that, set back from the street and settled comfortably on its treed corner lot, the Hay house exudes grace and charm, satisfied with its unique presence in the town of Killarney, its provenance unquestionable.

For an all-angles view of the A. G. Hay house, watch my 1:51 video.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Nine

B. J. Hales House, 1312 10th Street, Brandon, MB

B. J. Hales House, Brandon

Reid Dickie

Benjamin Jones Hales came to Manitoba from Ontario and taught at MacGregor and Hartney Schools before becoming the first principal at Brandon Normal School, a job he held from 1911 to 1939. A keen naturalist, his collection became the B. J. Hales Museum of Natural History, a permanent fixture at Brandon University since 1965.

About a block away from Brandon Normal School, one of four such schools for teachers set up in Manitoba, Hales built his house in 1912. Front and side viewLeaning toward Arts and Crafts but declaring no particular architectural style, it’s the double eyebrow roofline that dominates the house along with its steep hipped and oddly truncated roof and prominent dormer.

Set back from the street on a wooded lot, the two and a half storey brick house is domestic, simple, genteel, a model of the times it was built. I love the little second tier sidelights next to the porch door.

The lot is partially surrounded by a fieldstone fence with a built-in stone fireplace on the south side. Much of the flora on the property was planted by B. J. Hales.

This is a 1930s postcard of Brandon Normal School.

Brandon Normal School

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage, Prairie People

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Six

Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church, 162 Central Avenue, Ste Anne, MB


Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church


Reid Dickie

Imposing and ambitious, Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church is the focal point of little Ste. Anne, its presence a venerable landmark along Dawson Road, one of the first surveyed trails into the West. Four years under construction – 1895-98 – this massive complex resulted Side elevationfrom a design by Joseph-Azarie Senecal, much favoured architect and builder of prairie Roman Catholic churches of the time. Symbolizing the cross, Senecal’s floor plan is cruciform.

Drawing from Romanesque Revival – style architecture, the church is loaded with elaborate detail executed with high-quality craftsmanship. The brickwork alone is enthralling. The entire building is encircled with corbelling under the cornice that seems to drip off the walls. Belt courses of raised brick entwine the place and the rounded openings are topped with segmented sprays and labels.

Facade of Ste. Anne'sThe facade with its striking entry tower apexed with a complex and beautiful steeple effortlessly creates a wondrous sensation of ascension. The double wooden doors and elaborate fanlight above begin your heaven-bound ascent.  The large window above the door, smaller in size but the same design, draws your attention upward to dual windows bracketing a statued alcove. The roofline accentuated by corner towers with their ornate pinnacles, brick corbelling along the Ste. Anne's steeplecornice and balustrades leading to the central tower add a rush of upward energy culminating with the double-belled steeple. The metal-clad multi-tiered steeple has a pleasant rhythmic feeling that adds to the smooth bliss of ascension.

One reason why the ascension works so well on Ste. Anne’s is because Senecal was familiar with the Golden Section, the old way of using ratios and relationships in building design. This ancient way of seeing explains why some buildings evoke a magical, uplifting feeling and other don’t. Using the Golden Section creates an accord between our bodies and our enclosed spaces. Jonathan Hale wrote an enlightening book called The Old Way of Seeing. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in architecture. Ste Anne Roman Catholic Church’s comfortable presence springs from Senecal’s use of the Golden Section.

Side viewSenecal’s other design work in Manitoba, much of it convents and hospitals, includes churches in St. Leon (1895), Gretna (1897) and Holy Ghost Church, Winnipeg (1899) and St. Francois Xavier (1900). He was the contractor, not the designer, on Saint Boniface Cathedral (1906).

Renown artist Leo Mol (Molodozhanyn) painted the images in the nave and sanctuary interior of Ste. Anne’s. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get pictures of the church’s interior. It’s on my list for next summer.

Pre-Confederation, this parish was established in 1859 to serve Metis and French settlers, some of whom inhabit the cemetery around the church.

For a 360 degree view of Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church’s exterior watch my  2:52 video.


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Five

Brick Italianate House, Ninga, MB


Buff Brick, Ninga


Reid Dickie

My summer travels took me to places I’d never been before, like Ninga, Manitoba. Not ninja, Ninga, apparently the Chippewa word for mother.

This lonesome seemingly deserted buff brick house caught my attention and I took one picture of it, the one above. So everything I say is based on seeing this one elevation.

The roofline is the foremost Italianate feature. Its low pitch hip jousted by the sweet angles of the matching gables evokes a smooth and gentle, almost erotic rhythm against the prairie sky. It sings!

The under-eave colour appears to have been reddish brown, which would have contrasted richly with the pale buff brick and feel right at home under the milky brown of the shingles. The pairs of tall windows under the gables have simple brick headers. The bricks overall are laid in common running bond.

The main floor conveys several elements of Italianate style such as bay windows  It appears to have two of them but closer inspection reveals the one on the left of brick construction is incorporated into the body of the house and features the main entrance.  The one on the right is a wooden addition, a back porch painted in trim colour.  The bays are connected by a narrow but elegant verandah.

Oh, the verandah: the brackets are a contrasting green to the reddish trim. The low pitch of the roof in sighing reverence to Ninga, for surethe roofline above and the trio of turned squared-away pillars doing their important work slowly succumb to the creep of the foliage, already obscuring the stairs and entwining the bench against the wall. Although the house remains in reasonably good appearance, the straggling strands of long-dead Christmas lights and the invading overgrowth herald its tomorrow, its future tangled in the vines and vicissitudes that encroach on its presence, that threaten its being. Only the prairie wind can determine how apt this all is.


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day One

Johnson House, 446-7th Street, Brandon, MB 




Reid Dickie

In 1880, Samuel and Edwin Johnson moved from Seaforth, ON, where they ran a successful family hardware store, to Brandon with the same intention. The brothers built their store on the south east corner of Ninth Street and Rosser Avenue in 1885 and Johnson Hardware operated there until 1959. Under Edwin’s skillful management, the store prospered, making Edwin a prominent citizen of the city.

In 1904 Edwin commissioned one of Brandon’s up and coming architects, William A. Elliott, to design a home for him and his family. Elliott, who went on to design dozens of buildings all over southern Manitoba, was just making a name for himself in Brandon when approached by Johnson. The resulting house is a beauty!

Begun in 1904 and completed in 1906 by builder C. Lillington, the Johnson house is a superb example of Queen Anne Revival architecture, the dominant home design style of the period. The main focal point is the veranda that wraps around the feature corner of the Johnson house Brandonhouse. Its low pitched roof is supported by Classical columns. The veranda pediment with the cowl and anchor detailing is repeated on the dormers. The tan bricks are laid in standard running bond; all openings feature rectangular, segmented or semi-elliptical brick arches and windows have limestone sills. The oval window with its four keystones is striking. Don’t miss the pairs of sweet scroll brackets under the dormer eaves.

The house was inhabited by the Johnson family for 72 years. Beautifully maintained, right down to the patterns in the shingles around the veranda foundation, kudos to its present owners for their dedication to preserving local heritage.


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Heritage Buildings, Houses

DickTool Co YouTube Channel Second Anniversary Today!

Reid Dickie

Two years have passed since that pivotal moment when the first Dick Tool Co video was uploaded onto YouTube. It was Be An Artist Now, the excellent and disturbing long form coming in at 29 seconds. Sit down and watch it now by clicking the pic.

I have shot, edited and uploaded 49 new videos in the past year bringing the total number on my channel to 167. The number of views has shot up this year by 40,000 bringing the total to around 53,000. This is still remarkable and humbling for me so thank you for tuning in.

 Top Ten Most Viewed Videos on Dick Tool Co Channel 


—    1. Canadian National Railroad Fast Freight  9597 hits

—    2. The Doll House by Heather Benning  6956

1.     3. Giant Manitoba Sinkhole June 16/11  5562

2.    4. Lake Manitoba Flood at The Narrows  1441

8.    5. Caligari’s Mirror – Pere Ubu  1422

—   6. Tim Horton’s Car Crash  1406

7.    7. Go – Pere Ubu 1164

—  8. Manitoba Boogeyman Percy Moggey  946

—  9. Giant Manitoba Sinkhole 2012 Update  858

4. 10. Kangaroo Birth Cycle Coat 841

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Filed under dicktool co, DickToolery, Linda, Love


Reid Dickie

“I’d rather have two good friends than 500,000 admirers.”   e.e. cummings

“We love those who can lead us to a place we will never reach without them.” Norman Mailer

“Hold a true friend with both your hands.” Nigerian proverb

The odd time that a pre-read copy of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s “national” newspaper, shows up in the coffee shop, I make a point of perusing it. I always find something interesting on the Facts and Arguments page. It happened again this week.

A clip item referred to a website called http://www.thoughtcatalog.com and gave as an example of its content – The Five Types of Friends Everyone Should Have by Ryan O’Connell. Ryan is the self-described “brat” who writes and edits Thought Catalog. He encourages writers and thinkers to submit “fun stuff.”

I like anything that gives me a new perspective on myself and/or my life, teaches me something new and/or shines a light into a dark place and/or gives me numerous opportunities to use and/or, which I will stop using immediately. Anyway, the ‘five friends’ idea captured my attention. As I read through Ryan’s list I reckoned if I have each kind of friend in my life. I’ll tell you what I found after you read the list. See if you have such friends.

Abridged and in no particular order:

  • A friend who is always down for whatever whenever, a spur-of-the-moment friend who you don’t have to book weeks in advance;
  • A friend who is slightly cooler than you so you get to go to wild parties and have unexpected encounters;
  • A friend whom you truly admire, for whatever reasons;
  • A friend who doesn’t know any of your other friends, your under-the-counter friend, maybe;
  • A friend whom you’ve known all your life.

How did you do with the list? Got a friend for every occasion?

Luckily I can claim to have a person in my life who fulfills each of those roles. I won’t name them but they are all solid to the list and special to me in their own ways. If I were in dire straits and needed any of these friends, they would be there for me in a flash. Every day I am grateful for this boon. Ryan’s piece is here.

I’d like to add three other kinds of friends to Ryan’s list that we would all benefit from having:

  • A family member who becomes a friend, someone with whom you have a relationship that goes beyond familial requirements, you truly and easily like each other;
  • A friend who becomes family, someone who truly and easily creates the warmth and conviviality of a loving family without any blood relationship;
  • A friend you haven’t seen in over 30 years but you’d feel comfortable calling out of the blue.

Again I am fortunate to have such people in my life.

I want to elaborate a little on that last friend type. Also attending the Radio and Television Arts course I took at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto in the late 1960s was a guy named Ted Barris. He was bright, curious, a people person and a lot like me. We hit it off right away. I was familiar with his family name from Canadian TV. His dad was Alex Barris – think the panel on Front Page Challenge.

The last time I saw Ted, he was passing through Winnipeg in the early 1980s on his first book tour. He stayed with Linda and I and we had a fine time. A few decades passed, life happened and the week or two ago I suddenly thought of Ted, wondering how he was doing. Quick Google search and there was his website and contact. Quick email and we were in touch again.

I called Ted last night and we gabbed for half an hour. He told me about his family. His daughter Whitney will be appearing in MTC’s Assassins in January.  He teaches at Centennial College in Toronto and writes every day, currently working on his 17th book! Our conversation was easy and casual even after so many years having passed since we spoke. Ted is also the kind of friend you can blog about and he doesn’t mind.

I am rich with friendship in its many forms. The richness has shown me that the underlying pulse common to every important friendship is love, a basic human response to another being, a caring understanding that persists no matter what happens.

In the recent movie The Master (go see it!) there is a scene where they show the album cover to the soundtrack for a 1973 Lindsay Anderson film called O Lucky Man starring Malcolm McDowell. Alan Price, original keyboardist with The Animals, wrote and performed terrific songs for the movie. The title track lyric leads with, “If you have a friend on whom you think you can rely you are a lucky man.” By this definition I humbly acknowledge my luck once again. Hear and see Alan Price sing the song in the opening scene of the movie.

For another take on friendship watch poet Henry Gibson recite his verse on Laugh-In.

“Yes. I have a truck. No. I’m not helping you move.” – T-shirt at On the Run in west Winnipeg defining the edges of friendship.

Coda: there is also the kind of friend who names their child after you but that’s a whole other post!!

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Friendship, Linda, Love, Old Souls

I Scare Myself

Reid Dickie

Now a tradition, my one concession to Halloween. Five minute Super 8 film that I shot in the 1970s in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village. Inspired by its music, a great tune by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. Click the pic and booga booga.

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Filed under DickToolery

Three New Church Videos

Reid Dickie

It’s buzz buzz buzz all the doo-dah day here with three more short videos squirted out and now uploaded to YouTube. I always take lots of pictures at heritage sites, especially churches because they are particularly photogenic – must be their aura. Since I can only use a few pictures in my blog posts, I’ve made short videos using pictures from three Manitoba churches. 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. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, near Gardenton,  2:39

Union Point United Church, Hwy #75, near Ste. Agathe 2:07

First and Second St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko 3:09

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Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Portals to the Past

Reid Dickie

The road is long. In fact, it cannot be stopped. Sometimes, across open prairie, the road is obvious with lines and arrows; sometimes the road disappears into the bush or grass but it’s always there, unstoppable. The road possesses the souls of those who travel it in a particular way, not as a path or a conduit but as a Holy Mile, The One Mile, The Only Mile, Unending, Endurably Far, Replicating Itself to The Vanishing Point.

Yet, beside the road, the haunted souls of the long gone find solace and sanctuary in the tumbledowns, the neglected and abandoned places that once danced with the rhythms of lives but now succumb and succumb. Visit six lonesome places by clicking on the pic.


Filed under Day Tripping, Ghost Towns, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

The Hobo Code Video

 Reid Dickie

A set of very specific communication symbols developed in the late 1800s among the homeless of that time: hoboes, tramps, drifters. Innocent looking chalk marks on a gatepost or a piece of equipment next to the railroad tracks could mean life or death to a passing hobo new to the area. The Hobo Code became the language of the transients, a kind of tramp telegraph that was used for over fifty years. Fans of Mad Men will recognize the term from the first season, episode eight titled The Hobo Code. I have posted previously about the Hobo Code.

In my video I draw some of the symbols of the Hobo Code and explain their meanings and also update the Code with its modern usage. Click the pic to watch the video. Enjoy!

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Filed under Diversions, Manitoba Heritage, Video

Look What I Found While Driving Around

Reid Dickie

“I’ll be driven, eyes always moving, riveted to the task…” 

– Gordie Downie

My list of heritage sites to visit and record all over Manitoba has largely been satisfied. More organized than ever, it was a highly productive summer of “working the list.” I just calculated my mileage for the season and the mighty Avenger and I, well, myself and three mighty Avengers, have logged almost 23,000 kms, all but 1,000 of them in Manitoba. I got to see amazing country this year, discover special places that few Manitobans know about then report them here on my blog. Thanks for reading my blog, by the way. I am grateful every day for your attention.

With my trusty, battery-sucking digital camera by my side, I’ve captured some odd, surprising and occasionally astonishing images along my path. Here are a dozen of them with brief commentary about each one.

Old Cook Stove in Abandoned Stone House

Sure, I haunt the occasional tumbledown farmhouse out in the middle of now here, sure I do. I’m not usually the first to satisfy their curiosity about what’s inside the old place. A little stone house sits atop a small rise along Hwy #21 south of Hartney. I’ve seen this old house most of my life since my grandparents homesteaded nearby. This summer I stopped at it for the first time for pictures and video. Beyond the Keep Out sign, this old wood stove was the first thing I saw through the door. I took a few shots of the interior, largely wrecked. The inset is a shot of the house. Expect more about this place on my blog and YouTube channel.

Stillborn Graves at Camp Hughes Cemetery

The little cemetery at Camp Hughes has but 26 graves in it dating from 1916. Sadly, more than half are the graves of children. Some died in infancy, others stillborn and unnamed. Several graves are simply unknown.

Strange Cloud on Prairie Horizon

No, it’s not an atomic bomb test. It’s a gigantic cloud of smoke slowly rising from a field of burning stubble. This is a common sight in late summer, ominous and beautiful at once, most are not this spectacular. I shot this traveling south out of Winnipeg along Hwy #75 in late August. I watched it for miles as the cloud grew and changed shape.

Criddle Vane in the Rain

One hot afternoon during one of my dozen visits to the Criddle Vane homestead this summer, a prairie thunderstorm came over with plenty of lightning and thunder, a little rain but no wind, just a smooth calm passing. I took this picture of the Criddle Vane house through the rain-spattered windshield of the Avenger. Percy Criddle was very wary of storms and prided himself on the lightning rods, imported from England, that adorned the roof of this house. The inset shows the house after the rain.

Wind Sculpted Formation at Spirit Sands

During a hike on Spirit Sands with my dear friend Chris Scholl, we came upon this beautifully sculpted arch on the upslope of a dune. We’d had variable winds, that is, winds from directions other than the prevailing northwesterlies, which may have accounted for this small miracle in sand.

Assessment Roll Information for Negrych Farm 1901-1930

If there was one site I visited this summer that left me in awe of how our ancestors lived and survived on the harsh prairie, it was the Negrych Homestead north of Gilbert Plains. Its ten original log buildings date from the late 1890s when the family arrived there, most of them in Ukrainian vernacular style. Each building houses materials the family improvised and used for decades. This assessment roll information traces the family’s assets for thirty years from 1901 until 1930. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Old Headstone in Wawanesa Cemetery 

Humble and plain, corroding against the weather and the years, this little stone caught my camera’s eye in the cemetery at Wawanesa. What story could this stone tell?

Gathering of the Clans Picture

Being a full-blood Scotsman, this nicely framed illustration of the Gathering of the Clans had special meaning when I discovered it in one of the buildings at the Fort la Reine Museum in Portage la Prairie. Click pic to see entire image.

Herald Angels at Immaculate Conception, Cook’s Creek 

This isn’t my photograph. My friend Kevin Uddenberg took this picture using his smart phone which has HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology. The quality of the colours and the definition of the images is almost three-dimensional. By contrast look at the inset which is my picture of the same angels taken on the same day and time as Kevin’s picture.  The difference is obvious and substantial.

The Hemp’s as High as an Elephant’s Eye and… 

Rewilding W. C. Fields for smartass purposes with bashful aplomb. During my summer travels, I noticed that the only area of the province that concentrated on growing hemp in any quantity is north of Riding Mountain around Dauphin. This verdant crop you see was growing directly behind my hotel and stretched for acres to the horizon. Besides being easy to grow and low maintenance chemicalwise, there is another sound reason why so much hemp is grown in the area: the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers Coop is headquartered in Dauphin.

The Staircase That Killed Percy Criddle

We return to Criddle Vane homestead to wind up this odd excursion. Insufferably brilliant or brilliantly insufferable, whoever Percy Criddle was, the beginning of his exit from this life was a tumble down the stairs you see here. After moving both his families from London, England to a patch of sandy soil south of present-day Shilo in 1882, Percy spent 35 years eking out a living largely due to the true genius of his children. During a severe blinding case of Erysipelas that Percy acquired in the spring of 1918, he groped his way to the top of these stairs and tumbled the full length of them, injuring himself terribly. He died ten days later at age 73 and is buried in the family cemetery a couple hundred yards from his house. This is Percy’s headstone.


Filed under Blog Life, Day Tripping, Earth Phenomena, Heritage Buildings, Humour, Manitoba Heritage, Manitobans of Note, Pioneers, spirit sands

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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Filed under Day Tripping, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers, Schools

Orion has returned to hunt in the northern skies.

Reid Dickie

I’ve covered lots of Manitoba ground over the last ten days and the signs of change are everywhere, not just in the fields where the harvest progresses apace sending plumes of chaff and dust into the air. The red maples flame as loud as our flag. Always the leaders in changing colour, cottonwoods burn yellow in the dry dusty sun of late summer. Greens start to fade as russet and pumpkin shades emerge. An especially good summer for poison ivy, now its scarlet and orange leaves form bright carpets in the understory of shallow forests and along the ditches of the TCH. This year mountain ash are laden with large clusters of hot red berries awaiting the first frosts to sweeten up for the jays and waxwings.

Murmurations of blackbirds weave and dive across the highway coordinating their aerial sonar for the long flight ahead. Tiny flocks of LGBs (little grey birds, thank you Ed Abbey) polka along with the Tragically Hip on the mighty Avenger’s CD player. Vs of geese broadcast their lonesome message across the land. Red-tailed hawks populate telephone poles keen-eyed for their next meal, an easier feat now those nice farmers have cut down all the long crops making the yummy wee critters more vulnerable.

Generally critters get more mobile at this time of year in anticipation of winter. They plan ahead like the garter snakes who are now heading toward the nearest karst that’ll take them down below the frost line where they can overwinter thus many flattened snakes on the highways. Night critters like skunks, raccoons, porcupines and badgers populate the shoulders in larger numbers now than during the hot weather. Ravens tug at the carcasses. Nature bats last.

I caught this cluster of wild bees and several of their honeycombs over the entrance to Zoria Hall, a popular dance hall now and ago. There was honey dripping down the wall! It was a cool windy day so the bees were inactive.


In the cemetery next to the Zoria church was this beautiful white angel turning black with time.

Still driving around…

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, BEAUTY, Blog Life, Critters, Natural Places, Parks, PRAIRIES, shaman, Spirit

Manitoba Heritage That Is Gone, Gone, Gone!

Reid Dickie

During my travels this summer working through my list of heritage places to visit, I came across several heritage sites that no longer exist. Although most of these sites have been designated as municipal and federal heritage sites, for various reasons they are now gone, gone, gone.

Designated a municipal heritage site in 1987 and included in the federal Canadian Register of Historic Places, Bethlehem Lutheran Church manse, which sat on Queen Elizabeth Road in Erickson, MB for a number of years after being moved from Scandinavia, MB, was demolished a couple of years ago. Used for a time as a museum, it deteriorated significantly and was becoming as public danger. It succumbed to old age.

The little village of Sifton, MB had a rare heritage site that was deemed municipally significant and designated as such in 2005. Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1926 in the Lemko style, underwent extensive rehabilitation after designation, returning it to its beautiful original colour and condition, as you can see in the above picture. In 2010 the church burned down, probably arson. This isn’t the first fire on this site. Two buildings connected to the parish were also destroyed by fire. A 1905 orphanage burned in 1924 and a 1926 monastery went up in flames in the 1980s.

In the village of Garland, I went looking for Andrew Kowalewich General Store, an example of modest country stores, this one built in 1913 and clad in pressed tin. Although having municipal designation, the building was torn down by the owner about ten years ago.

In Dominion City, MB a timber truss bridge spanning the Roseau River was given heritage designation by the municipality in 2000. Unique in Manitoba because, though most truss bridges are made of steel, this one was made of wood. I use the past tense because the bridge was washed away by flood waters recently.

These aren’t the only Manitoba heritage sites that have vanished but they do give a fair overview of reasons why heritage sites disappear. Natural causes like weather, indifference to heritage significance in succeeding generations, deterioration of materials from age and firebugs are a few causes of heritage loss. Designation by various levels of government, while giving heritage sites prestige and importance, doesn’t assure the continued existence of places that, though once integral to the community, now search for new meaning in the 21st century.

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Filed under Bridges, Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings

Manitoba Telephone System Building, 121 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Strolling along the main drag now we encounter a rare delight!

Reid Dickie

Before the days of dial telephones, which was long before the days of cell phones for anyone under 40, you turned a crank on your telephone and an actual human being asked what number you wanted to reach, dialed it for you and waited until you either got an answer or didn’t. Actual humans!! We called them “operators.” This happened daily in this building in Carberry and in others like it in most every little Manitoba town and village.

Plus, among the somber but elegant brick buildings along the street, this eye-catching pile served its purpose: to remind people to use the telephone because inside women you likely knew were waiting to connect you up. And, as they sat hunched over their switchboards, or switchboreds, listen in on your conversation as likely as not.

The Spanish Colonial Revival detail of the red adobe tile false roofs on three sides accentuates the compactness of the massing and the sweet roofline, one step, pilasters telling us when, all plain as plain can be. Yet it catches the eye and the ear, makes me want to call someone up, tell a few lies and see how quickly they get around town. Small town telephone roulette, let ‘er spin!!

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.

MTS built lots of these little buildings all over Manitoba in the late 1930s and during the war years. Carberry’s was likely built in 1941, one of the few that I can think of remaining in southern Manitoba. Precious, spaced nicely between its neighbours to allow full access to all facades and a familiar landmark in downtown Carberry, the last telephone office before dial phones continues to be used as offices and still acts as a fanciful exclamation point along the street.

Pa Tuckett was twenty-three years old when he first talked on a telephone. He never owned a telephone until he was thirty-eight years old. His number in Carberry was 87.

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Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Uncategorized

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

Our amble down Carberry’s Main Street takes us past one of the town’s most symbolic buildings. 

Reid Dickie

While most of the buildings along Main Street have been used for numerous purposes, often overlapping, 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 of the picture. 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.

Elements defining Art Deco 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 highest…for 1938.

Now used as a book return, the brass mail chute is original as is the date stone and frontispiece lamps. This little building continues its symbolic role in the Carberry community, not just as a library, but because of its intergenerational contribution to the heritage district.

For the first 25 years he lived in Carberry, Pa Tuckett got his mail through General Delivery. But in 1938 he acquired his first and only post office box: #123. Pa joked, “I asked for a harder number to remember but this is all they had.”

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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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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Sacred Places

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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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Roadside Attractions