Recently the Headingley Historical Society completed an intitiative to document our histroty in the production of Headingley - Pioneers Past and Present.
As a result of the efforts of the Headingley Historical Society we are able to re-produce some of their writings on our website. Click on a topic below to view a specific story:
Dr.Chris Ridley was the first person in Manitoba to start a game farm and sanctuary.Ridley operated his Birdwarren Sanctuary for more than fifty years.It was located along the Assiniboine River on Empire Street in Headingley from the mid 1960s until 1975.At that time he moved the Sanctuary to Argyle because Headingley was incorporated into the City of Winnipeg,and expansion and higher taxes made the move necessary.Over the years he moved from Argyle to Lockport and finally St.Laurent in 1991. Dr.Ridley held a PhD in Zoology from the University of Manitoba and had been caring for injured animals ever since he set up the first sanctuary in the Norwood area of St. Boniface in the 1920s.He continued to operate this project entirely with private donations.He has banded migrating birds longer than anyone else in Canada.
Through the years,Dr.Ridley showed thousands of school children Sammie the Toucan,Izzy the Pelican,and his bald eagle,along with countless blue jays,owls,hawks,great blue herons,crows,rabbits and even monkeys.Every spring Dr. Ridley held a show at Polo Park where he moved part of his sanctuary.
During the Headingley years there were hundreds of animals at the popular sanctuary. They included Japanese deer, cougars,coyotes,raccoons,chinchilla,a bald eagle,hawks, llamas, owls, pelicans, a toucan, Canada and Snow geese, peacocks, monkeys, pheasants, budgies and more.Everyone from game wardens,zoo caretakers to private citizens came seeking his assistance for tropical pets or birds in need of surgery. These accounted for the thousands of animals that Dr.Ridley cared for and returned to the wilderness once medical care was completed.
Chris charged a nominal $5 fee;however,most people dropped $20-30 into the donation box.Ridley was kept busy answering treatment inquiries from across Canada,caring for U of M lab animals,along with frequent appearances on TV and radio shows.Mike Kitchen eventually became Chris Ridley ’s successor.Kitchen was only 14 when he first started volunteering at the Headingley Sanctuary. Ridley proved to be a resourceful patient himself over the years.He once had a coyote bite his top lip,so to hide the scar, he grew a moustache.Another time during a photo shoot he took 18 stitches to his arm when Tonka,his grown cougar, lunged at a duck he was holding.He drove himself to the hospital.
Dr.Ridley died on March 31,2003 at Tuxedo Villa.He was 93 years of age.
In 1937,John "Jack ” S. McMahon purchased Lot 7 from the Herbert Sabine Family estate and began two decades of farming on the property with his wife Nell. He would later add part of Lot 6 (originally John Lonsdale property) and design a golf course at 7620 Roblin Boulevard. Breezy Bend Golf Course opened to the public on June 2, 1960, with Lieutenant-Governor Errick Willis teeing off the first ball. The course was unique since it was designed and built without an architect.
McMahon read books, attended courses and modified the layout as he went along. Although the intent was to keep the course public, McMahon soon realized this was not possible In 1961 the club became private. In 1969, The Manitoba Open was held at Breezy Bend for the first time. In order to remain a top notch golf course, ,architectural redesign was provided in 1972 by golf course architect Geoffrey S. Cornish of Amherst, Massachusetts with further enhancements in 2000 by David Grant. In 2011, Breezy Bend Country Club celebrated 50 years of providing superior golf experiences and unparalled service in its dining and banquet facilities.
The Headingley and District Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1993 with an initial membership of 40.
The first Board of Directors meeting was held in June of 1993 with President Ben Smirnov (John Blumberg Golf Course),Vice-President Ken Cutts (Columbia Insurance), Secretary Jody Cole (Headingley Sport), and Pat Ritchie (Pat Ritchie Law Office).Board members were Barry Kluz (Manitoba Pool), Ron Fast (Fast Plumbing), Tom Struthers (Ramboc), and Executive director Jean Kuziw (Terra Farms). Mrs.Audrey Hedley, the office manager, is the only paid employee and she manages the affairs of the Chamber from their offices at 5434 Portage Avenue.
The Chamber has hosted public forums on the initial land use plan,designed pins for the Rural Municipality and itself, and erected three Welcome to Headingley signs.It initiated a photo contest,corporate citizen award and community volunteer award,student scholarship and business enhancement award,which are given out at their annual dinner/dance in November. They also host an annual golf tournament plus several luncheon meetings and seminars. The Chamber produced the Headingley Telephone Directory that is distributed free to residents,and publishes a quarterly newsletter for members called The Promoter. It has a year-round job bank, hosts youth career seminars, hires a summer student, and maintains a business information library.
Golfing in Headingley has been a popular sport, on both sides of the river.
The first course was opened in association with the Chateau Dixie Hotel (Roblin Boulevard and Alboro Street). Green fees were 50 ¢ and the club professional was R.Holden. The course remained in operation during the 1923 and 1924 seasons.
Located on the grounds of the Headingley Agricultural Society grounds at 5367 Portage Avenue was Headingley’s Curling Club.It had two sheets of ice that were flooded with water from the railway water tower,from the well (although this did not make good ice because of the alkali) or with water hauled in barrels from the river. In the 1920s the curling club paid the Agriculture Society $100.00 for 8 rinks per year. The stable was to be used by the players only. Curling continued into the 1950s but the building was old and snow would sift through the roof onto the ice. It was finally closed, but many good memories remain. After the war, with the introduction of clubs with artificial ice and better transportation, curlers switched to other clubs, where they still curl today. Numerous Headingley teams competed in Manitoba bonspiels over the years. In 1942, the Jack Duffy rink,with Jim McIntosh, Jack Bell and Gordon Taylor, won the Tribune Trophy in the Manitoba Junior curling bonspiel. In 1946, the Duffy rink consisted of four brothers, Harold, Tom, Jack and Russell, while Victor joined the William Taylor and sons, Dave and Frank.
Truman Seekings rink was defeated in the final game of the Manitoba High School Bonspiel. In 1950, the school curling was unable to finish its entire schedule as the ice was too far gone.In 1950 Bill Francis won the most games -7 out of 8. Shirley Taylor’s rink along with Harold Hamill’s finished close behind,winning 6 out of 8.
Over the years, the Starbuck Bonspiel often had Headingley teams entered. Headingley women were also active in curling, entering many bonspiels. In 1935, Madeline Taylor, Marie Britton, Ethel Murphy (Bremner) and Vera Bloomer entered the Manitoba Annual Bonspiel.
Headingley had two trophies.J.J. Grey presented the Chateau Dixie Trophy in 1924 to the Headingley and West Winnipeg Curling Club.This was presented four times: 1927-28 season, 1931-32, and 1939-40. It was presented the first year to Bill McIntosh Jr., M.McIntosh, A. McDonald, and A.J. Fanset. In some of the years it was won by a Winnipeg team, much to the disappointment of the Headingley crews.J.Block, W.McIntosh, G.McIntosh and W.McIntosh Jr.won the 1927-28 season. The 1931-32 year was won by C.Houston, H.Shirtliff, J.Keough, and A.G.Bell.T.Copp,W.Bremner, J.Keith, and H. Bremner won the 1932-33 trophy. There wasn’t another spiel until 1940, at which time Jack Braun, Lionel Francis, Tom Duffy, and Spencer Britton won it.
Another trophy was the Francis Limited Cup and sweater, which were presented to the Headingley and West Winnipeg Curling Club.In the 1921-22 season, it was presented to A.M. Bannatyne, S.J.Hutton, Robert Bell (lead) and Harry Bremner.
Fall suppers were another community tradition began in the 1930s. The first was held by Headingley United Church in 1933 ($68 profit) at the old Headingley Hall on Portage Avenue (same location as the present building). With an outhouse, wood stove for heating and a lack of running water, it was no small feat to host one of these events. These dinners were remembered as cold and drafty.
In 1936 the dinner saw a profit of $84, and 1940 only $37 (blamed on the war). Suppers were sporadic for the next decade, but when the new hall was built in 1953, the United and Anglican churches pooled their efforts and hosted several fine dinners. By 1954 each church had a profit of $156. In 1955, they realized a profit of $188 each after paying $119 for Turkeys, $14 for rolls, $5 for hall rental and $1 for 5 quarts of milk. They also bought a set of 150 place settings of dishes for $99 from Eaton ’s. In 1956, adult prices were raised to $1.25 and children to 50 ¢. People thought these prices were too high and nobody would show up, however, they averaged 500 people each year. The menu has changed little over the years, serving a traditional Turkey dinner with all the trimmings followed by delicious home baked pies. As neighbours gathered upstairs to wait and visit, the tables were set downstairs.
Water had to be carried in, heated and slop pails carried out. Today’s Annual Fall Supper has been running continuously since 1968 the year the United Church congregation began holding the event at its new home on Bridge Road.
The Headingley Fire and Rescue Service began when Alan Gaye offered to become Acting Fire Chief and twenty volunteer firefighters were selected in May 1993. The department was up and running by September 15, 1993, using a 1966 F800 Ford Fire truck purchased from the Winkler department for $7,800. At the same time another truck was purchased from Red Deer, Alberta, a 1989 F800 Ford for $92,500. This was a demonstrator and had a 1992 pump and pump action. In 2000, the 1966 F800 was sold and a 1998 International 4900 Fire truck was purchased from Fort Garry Industries for $206,000.
Headingley became part of the Boine Valley Mutual Aid District when it organized in 1993. The Fire Chief was to receive $300 per month as an honorarium as well as $0.28 per kilometer mileage. Firefighters were to receive $11 per hour (min 2 hours), and $8 per hour for regular meetings and hall work.Required
Headingley Correctional Institution (Gaol) was opened October 1930 at a cost of $402,837.60. John Crawford Downie was the governor responsible for Vaughan Street, the Industrial Farm and the new Gaol. There were 48 staff and 270 inmates from the institutions. The inmate population consisted of males and females until 1931 when females were sent to Portage la Prairie.
Inmate labour was used to construct the barns and farm buildings under farm superintendent William Sutherland, blacksmith August Anderson, and carpenter H.V.Hosford. The guards (or turnkeys) were G.W. Boivin and A. Douglas. In 1931 inmate life included hard work and silence. Inmates were not allowed to speak to turnkeys or each other on the work site or in the dining hall. Prisoners were forced to remove their clothes before bed. They were required to bathe once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter. Visitors, approved by the governor, came Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon and from 1:00-3:00 p.m.From March to October inmates were locked in their cells from 7:00 p.m.to 6:00 a.m.From October to March they were locked in their cells from 6:00 p.m.to 7:00 a.m. Letters could be written only by permission and could be censored.Inmates could read in the library once a week. Compulsory religious services were held each Sunday and recreation was allowed every Thursday afternoon. In 1947, a physical training instructor was hired and by 1953 exercise took place daily in the summer, excepting weekends and holidays.
The dining hall was used for meals and any other large gathering of inmates such as movies, plays and formal addresses. Starting in March 1939 movies were shown Thursday afternoons as the recreation activity during the fall and winter. Inmates were given boots, socks, pants, coats, shirts, straw hats, and underwear. Winter clothing was signed for when needed. They were also issued two blankets, two sheets, a pillow, pillowcase and a towel.
A 1938 article on changes under the new governor, Colonel Royal Burritt, reported that inmates could sunbathe while working outside and could get a cup of cocoa before bed. After lunch prisoners could also smoke in their bunks. There was also a 10:00 a.m. time set for inmates to bring complaints to the governor. Inmates were now allowed to talk, smoke, and play cards during their daily rest periods. 1944 saw compulsory attendance for religious ceremonies stopped.
For disobeying prison rules an inmate could receive a hard bed (indefinitely), bread and water for not more than five days in a row, solitary confinement with bread and water not exceeding five days (including four visits daily by the gaoler), strapping of not more than ten slaps by the gaoler (in the presence of the gaol physician), chaining to the wall during the working hours (not longer than three days), or finally the ball and chain. Strokes of lash,whip (cat-o-nine tails) or paddle were allowed as a court sentence under the Criminal Code of Canada. The Paddler, as well as the Hangman, wore a mask and would only be known to the Sheriff.
Capital punishment in the form of hangings was carried out at Headingley from 1932 to 1952. A total of 25 hangings took place, including the execution of two axe murderers in May 1934.
"Still intact within its red brick walls is one of the few permanent execution chambers ever built in Canada...enclosed scaffold and pit, flanked by two cells isolated from the rest of prison...the most efficient and humane...available in Canada.”
In 1932, a cemetery was located immediately west of the Gaol along the riverbank,and it contained the remains of 16 prisoners. Forty years later, however, riverbank erosion exposed a casket and skeletal remains.Further erosions were anticipated and the cemetery was moved on November 12 and 13, 1974 immediately northwest (approximately 1/4 mile)to the western edge of the Gaol property. Institutional services and outside gangs were the two kinds of work programs in Headingley.Institutional services include kitchen and laundry services and trades work.Trades included carpentry, painting, tailoring, shoe repair and later, barbering. This program was aimed at reducing the cost of operating the gaol. Both federally and provincially outside gangs have been involved in farm labour and road construction.
Farming at the Headingley site continued until the demise of the farm in 1973. The gaol started with 506 acres of land and in the 1930s another 200 acres was purchased in the Rosser area.In the spring of 1947, this Rosser land was sold to the Miller’s from Grosse Isle and these funds were then used in the 1950 purchase of 325.88 acres of land next to the gaol. The land now totalled 958.48 acres.
By 1947, the farm had a herd of Holstein cattle for milk, cream and butter production along with 300-400 Yorkshire and Yorkshire-Lancombe breed hogs. In 1959 ,the farm grew barley, oats, sweet clover, hay, green feed and corn ensilage. Vegetable production included beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, parsley, turnips,spinach peppers, peas, cauliflower, and beets. There were 40 beehives until 1950, when beekeeping was discontinued.
Numerous additions and improvements have been completed over the years. The second gaol governor, Colonel Burritt, suggested in his 1945 report the government use $300,000 to build an east custodial wing to handle an increased post-war inmate population. The government chose to act on another of Colonel Burritt’s recommendations, and a Vocational Trades building was completed and fully operational by March 31,1952. The building housed the paint, carpentry, shoe repair and tailor shops as well as storage rooms. Other improvements over the years included the building of Annex A, opened April 15, 1957 and Annex B opened on March 11, 1959.
The powerhouse was built in 1969, the Lawson Gymnasium in 1972, and the East Dining Hall, storerooms,and trades shops in 1975. The sewage treatment plant was completed in 1975 and the water treatment plant in 1980. A new Vocational Trades building,located near Annex B, was completed in 1978. By 1972, a greater focus was placed on therapeutic inmate programming. The short stays of inmates along with their desire to earn more money at rehab camps killed the farm program -the livestock, buildings and equipment were quickly sold or disposed of. The 708 acres of farmland was either leased out or sold. Paid cleaners were now hired, a job that was previously done by inmates. Programs like the Alcoholic Foundation of Manitoba now filled the inmate’s days.
Unionization in 1967 increased staff as a result of concerns about workplace safety and security.The table below shows the differences in staffing,operating costs and salaries over the years. Originally staff had various weapons to aid in the security of the institution and transportation of inmates.These included revolvers,rifles,tear gas rifles and pistols,as well as restraint equipment such as shackles,handcuffs and batons.
The Oregon Boot or the ball and chain could also be used on a prisoner. Following the escape of Kenneth Leishman and 12 others in 1966, firearms were temporarily removed from the gaol and by 1967 the order was official. The early 1970s saw the removal of tear gas. Currently only trained staff is authorized to use restraint devises and batons.
Throughout the 1930s there were 4 minor inmate revolts, and one in each of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s. Disturbances also occurred in 1971 and 1983. The most serious of all these riots broke out at 11:00 pm Thursday, 25 April 1996 and continued for 24 hours. Eventually, 321 prisoners surrendered after rampaging, setting fires and brutally attacking guards and inmates.
All of the inmates were moved to Stony Mountain Penitentiary, Brandon Correctional Institute or the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Eight guards and 17 inmates were taken by ambulance and treated at the Grace Hospital in Winnipeg. Although no one was killed, one prisoner lost fingers and another was nearly castrated. Prison policies that encouraged guards to act like social workers were blamed. Other suggested reasons included gang wars, staff cuts, and policy changes allowing high security inmates to come in contact with the general prison population. Police reports suggested that the riot appeared to target inmates who were either informants or segregated because of sex crimes.
Twenty Headingley volunteer First Responders attended to injured inmates, along with twenty Headingley Firefighters and members of Fire Departments from the Rural Municipalities of Portage la Prairie, Macdonald and Cartier. In total,60-70 volunteer Firefighters and First Responders were in attendance. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) controlled the outside of the Gaol, and there were no escapes. The emergency response team and canine unit were also called in as a precautionary measure.
Much of the Headingley Correctional Institute was reduced to a burned-out shell and it took over a year to rebuild. Damage to the facility was estimated at $3.5 million, however renovations added up to over $10 million.
After the riot in 1996 and a $10 million renovation resulting from the damage, a further two additions were made at the front of the facility. The year 2000 saw the completion of a $17 million expansion; each of the two new wings contains 76 cells used for maximum security and domestic violence offenders
The beginning of the European settlement of what has become Headingley begins several decades after the coming of the Selkirk Settlers. The community around the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers was beginning to spread outward as the population increased and settlers looked for more land. Land west along the Assiniboine River was popular with many because it was higher and important consideration given the periodic river flooding in the area. The land also contained abundant wood supplies for fuel and construction and the hay fields were extensive.
The first permanent resident of the area appears to have been Oliver Gowler (1814-1865) and his wife Mary (1816-1878). Theirs is a story of overcoming tremendous odds to flourish in their new home. The young married couple came to Canada in the fall of 1836, hired by the Hudson ’s Bay Company to work on their experimental farm at Red River. They arrived and were forced to winter at York Factory but lack of food forced them to attempt 300-mile trek to Norway House in the dead of winter. Struggling to keep up, Mrs. Gowler would wake up before daylight and start her march.By lunch, the rest of the party had caught up to her. After a quick lunch she was forced to walk late into the night to catch up to the rest of the group,only to have to repeat this the next day. Somehow, they managed to make it safely to Norway House, where they remained the rest of the winter.After spring breakup,they travelled south to the Red River Settlement and to the Company farm. The farm was a failure, but Gowler had fulfilled his contract and was able to purchase his own farm near Fort Garry in 1846.The devastating flood of 1852, however, chased the Gowlers and many farmers like them away from the area.Many fled west to the Silver Heights/Sturgeon Creek area.
The Gowlers chose to go even further west, choosing high,relatively dry land on which to locate. Thus the first farm was begun on Headingley soil, River Lot 64 (present-day John Blumberg Golf Course) and ultimately expanding to include River Lots 3 to 6 on the south side of the river.
Oliver Gowler prospered on his new farm, cultivating more and more land and reaping remarkable harvests of potatoes,wheat, barley and oats.By the late 1850s, he had established a reputation for producing fine cheese and tobacco, had a good stock of cattle and horses and was planning on building a fine mansion to replace his original home.
He became one of the most successful early farmers in what would become Western Canada and was known to lecture throughout the province on agricultural practices. Beginning in 1868 and continuing for many years, the Gowler House was used by Rev. George Young to conduct Methodist services on his regular Sunday circuit that included Winnipeg, Sturgeon Creek,and Headingley.
James Cunningham,a member of Manitoba’s first Legislature of 1870, also arrived in Headingley in 1853. He was born at Fort Churchill in 1817 but moved to Kildonan parish in 1822 after his father died.Like others, the flood of 1852 forced them to move west and they settled in Headingley. He and his family moved between Headingley and Poplar Point several times over the next six decades.
He is credited with building a water mill in Headingley around 1861,able to turn out 100 bushels per day and produce high quality flour.
He took out patents on River Lots 31, 33 and 36 (the west end of the Headingley parish,on both sides of the river) by the mid-1870s. He died in Somerset, Manitoba at the age of 98. The next major development was the founding of the area’s first organized church by the Anglicans. Anglicanism had a long history in the area, Reverend John West had been sent in 1820.Long under the guide of the Church Missionary Society, Queen Victoria erected the Anglican See of Rupert’s Land in 1849 with David Anderson as Bishop, the first step towards autonomy.
One year later the Parish of St.James was created to serve the growing community on the Assiniboine River. In November 1852, Reverend Griffith Owen Corbett was sent from England and, after being ordained by Bishop Anderson, was given the task of organizing a new parish west of St. James. Reverend Corbett named the Parish Headingley, after his sponsoring parish in Leeds, England and immediately built a house where he conducted services. The first Holy Trinity Church,built near the banks of the Assiniboine on Lot 57 (just east of present-day Breslayor Road), was completed during the summer of 1854, a sturdy log structure on a stone base with a sod roof. It was consecrated by Bishop Anderson on November 26,1854 and was also used as the community’s schoolhouse.The nearby cemetery was consecrated in 1862 and three years later Bishop Anderson donated the church bell.
In 1876, the second Holy Trinity Anglican Church was completed,replacing an aging facility described by one observer as "irredeemably dilapidated.”
The new church was larger (60’ x 25’) and stood on Lot 54.Bishop Machray dedicated it in November 1876 but it would be replaced in less than a decade. The new church/schoolhouse gave the community a sense of permanency and also attracted a man who would become its most influential citizen -John Taylor. Taylor was born in St. Paul’s Parish on January 24, 1834, son of James Taylor, Hudson’s Bay Company man and Mary Inkster, daughter of chief factor James Inkster of Brandon House. Taylor chose education and agriculture as pursuits rather than the usual career in the Hudson’s Bay Company.He was educated at the parish school and then St.John’s College, under Bishop Anderson.
He was appointed teacher at the mission school in Oxford House and after eight months relocated to Norway House. Returning to St.Paul’s in 1855, he was then sent to Headingley to take charge of the parish school.He married Miss Flora Campbell in 1856 and together they had eight children (she died in 1872). A year after their wedding, Taylor began farming and in time,amassing a large amount of land in Headingley (specifically River Lots 49-53) and further west.
William Benjamin "Billy” Hall was another in the list of well-known Headingley farmers who arrived in the 1850s. Hall was born in Fort Erie, Ontario in 1833 and came west as a surveyor in 1858. In 1859 he had received a land grant of River Lot 1, Headingley Parish and proceeded to build himself a modest home on his land.
Hall, it turns out,was an excellent nurseryman,and by the early 1860s, was well established. He took a bride and then built a magnificent mansion that became known as ‘The Hermitage,’ the original house becoming a wing. It became a meeting place for the community and the couple’s nine children. His experimenting with fruit and vegetables as well as trees and shrubs earned him an excellent reputation and his nursery was soon supplying stock for most of the settled communities in the west. He died on June 22, 1902 and The Hermitage was destroyed in a tragic fire in January 1920 that claimed the life of his eldest son, William Syrenus Hall, who had taken over the house, W.S.Hall’s infant son and two other members of the household - William Rodgers and John Marigold.
By the end of the 1850s, Headingley had seen remarkable changes in a short time. It had a number of farms well estab lished and prosperous, a handsome little church and parish school and a growing population on both sides of the river. It was also developing into a major resting spot on the overland trail going west from the Red River Settlement, especially for the huge Red River cart trains travelling along the western trails.
The 1860s continued much the same way as the earlier decade.New names began to appear as more of the land was occupied: Dennison, Clouston, Bremner, Tait, and Fowler. Several other developments spurred growth in the area, including the advent of steamboats on the river.In 1858, the Anson Northup made the first-ever steamboat trip on the Red River, from Minnesota to Fort Garry, proving not only that it could be done, but also that it was a workable solution to the demand from the Red River Settlement and surrounding areas for more goods. It wasn’t long before many boats were making their way along the major water systems of the region and Headingley became an important stopping point for the Assiniboine River boats. Similar to the trails of old and the trains of the near future, Headingley was taking advantage of its geographic location.
The area’s first rope ferry was established in 1869 by J.F.Robinson at the Headingley Grand Passage, the historic fording location.
In the late 1860s, Rev.George Young, the first Methodist missionary in Red River, began making regular visits to Headingley. His regular Sunday entailed a Winnipeg service at 10 a.m.,a second service six miles west at Sturgeon Creek and then Sunday School (4:30 p.m.)and service (6 p.m.) at the home of Oliver Gowler in Headingley. He would stay the night at the Gowler farm and then rise the next morning to start his missionary circuit, arriving in Winnipeg the following Sunday to begin again.
The 1860s was also the decade of the Riel uprising at Red River. Reverend Corbett had increasingly been a leading voice in the community outside of the church walls, travelling to England in 1857 with his wife Abigail to appear before a House of Commons select committee arguing for the populating of Rupert’s Land to protect it from possible annexation by the United States. Reverend Corbett remained in England over the winter and took some basic medical training to better serve his parishioners.
Upon his return to Headingley, Corbett became very vocal in his opposition to the Hudson’s Bay Company and the existing government in the region. His opinions were held by many in Headingley but did not sit well with some of his parishioners. In December 1862, he was arrested for,according to a local observer, "having made repeated attempts to procure abortion, by instruments and otherwise, on the person of Maria Thomas, a girl in his service, whom he had seduced.”
Corbett was jailed after interviews were conducted with the various parties and the community was split between supporters and critics. The trial in February 1863 lasted nine days and heard from 61 witnesses. Corbett was found guilty and sentenced to six months imprisonment. The sad episode was not over however, as a group of Corbett’s supporters broke him out of jail on April 20. The leader of this group, James Stewart, school-master for the Parish of St. James, was then arrested and he too was broken out of the jail at Fort Garry. Neither man was ever returned to jail and soon after Corbett left his family and his parish and returned to England to live.
His place was taken at Holy Trinity by Rev.H. Cochrane for three years, followed by Rev. James Carrie (1866-72). Of course, Headingley’s location on the main communication line and its traditional role as stopping point guaranteed its inclusion in the dispute between the government of Canada and the Metis of the Red River Settlement. On January 25,1869, a group of anti-Riel supporters gathered in Portage la Prairie to arm themselves and return to the Red River Settlement to oppose Riel and his forces and re-establish the old government and make ready for the takeover by the Canadian government.
The next day, a Metis-organized convention of elected delegates from all area parishes met to decide the fate of the Settlement. After a full week of debate, it was decided that a delegation of the convention (Judge John Black,Father M. Richot and Alfred H.Scott) should take the Bill of Rights to Ottawa.
Meanwhile, the group in Portage la Prairie was joined by 60 government surveyors and other interested people and set off to reach Fort Garry and force the release of Riel’s prisoners. In Headingley they were met by a fierce blizzard and were fed and sheltered by fellow Orangemen and their families.
After two days,several Headingley men,including John Taylor, W.B.Hall,Magnus Brown,John Cameron and members of the Morrison and Dennison families,decided to join the group.
On February 12, the party headed east,arriving at Kildonan and joining a party of 300 led by Dr.John C.Schultz. Tension mounted at the same time that Riel was releasing the last of his prisoners at the Fort.There was bloodshed, the Kildonan group disbanded and went home except for the Portage/Headingley men, who choose to elicit a reaction from Riel by passing under the walls of Fort Garry. Riel was quick to respond, jailing 46 men (Magnus Brown and John Taylor among them,W.B. Hall and John Cameron were freed and returned to Headingley).
After more negotiation in both Ottawa and around the Settlement, the way was cleared for the passing of the Manitoba Act by the government of Canada on May 12,1870, creating the Province of Manitoba. In November,elections were held and John Taylor was declared Headingley’s first M.L.A.with a majority of one vote, although the new Attorney General awarded the seat to James Cunningham on a "technicality.”
Taylor would win the next two provincial elections,1874 and 1878, becoming the minister of agriculture after the second victory. Headingley was now maturing; it had an M.L.A., prosperous farms and merchants:for example, John F.Robinson, "Dealer in General Merchandise,” and John Higgins with his "General and Select Assortment of Dry Goods, Groceries, Hardware, & c [sic ]...at his Stores in the Town of Winnipeg and Headingley.”
John Taylor,despite his election setback,continued to grow in influence,one report stating that "Until settlement forced him to give up stock ranching.
Headingley's third golf course opened on June 12,1969, in the middle of the only recorded June snowstorm in Winnipeg to date!
Located on the Gowler Farm,it is named after John Blumberg, Winnipeg City Councillor for 32 consecutive years. The Late Councillor Blumberg ’s son was given the honours of the first tee off.The course features 9 and 18-hole courses and the facility has grown to include baseball diamonds and soccer pitches.
The archaeological site known as the Kuypers Site is situated on the south bank of the Assiniboine River at Headingley. The University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg conducted a joint archaeological field school in May and June of 2002 at the Kuypers Site.Two previous excavations and several surface collections have been conducted at the site in the past.In 1972, the University of Winnipeg conducted an archaeological field school at the site and in 1980 Brandon University and the University of Winnipeg conducted a joint field school at this site.
The Kuypers Site is believed to be an area that was sporadically but repeatedly occupied by bison hunters for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European explorers and settlers. The shores of the Assiniboine River would have provided shelter, bison and plant food for people in the past and their activities here are well represented by the recovered stone tools and bison bones that have been butchered and processed, and small pieces of Aboriginal pottery.
Based on the types of artifacts found at the site and the rather thin distribution of these artifacts over such a large area (1km 2), in addition to the fact that the artifacts are typical of a number of time periods, it is evident that this site was used on multiple occasions,although probably not intensively. A series of scroll bars visible on the ground, on aerial photographs and topographically, indicate that the site was formed by the lateral migration of a meander of the Assiniboine River during episodic flooding .These scroll bars present interesting features in relation to the pattern of artifact distri-bution across the site.
The oldest signs of site occupation is represented by Oxbow projectile points, scrapers and other types of stone cutting tools, and these are all located on the oldest point bar (the scroll bar which is the furthest from the river). A more recent Aboriginal occupation (ca.1000 AD)was weakly represented by three pieces of Aboriginal pottery, which were located on the most recent point bar. The archaeological investigation of the Kuypers Site has intrigued geologists who are investigating the changing course of the Assiniboine River. The discovery of occupations buried within specific scroll bars and the excavation of datable bone and wood material from the site can contribute to a better understanding of the development of the river. The Manitoba Geological Survey of the Manitoba Department of Industry, Trade and Mines sent a portion of a bison bone that was recovered during the archaeological excavations for radio-carbon dating.The bone provided a date of 3610 ±75 years Before Present (BP).
An additional radiocarbon date of 3950 ±120 years Before Present (BP) was obtained for the site from bone specimen that was collected during the 1980 excavations (Morlan et al 2000:164). In addition, the projectile point styles suggested that the site was Middle Precontact (ca1000 BP - 4000 BP).
One of the more interesting features was a lens of burnt bone located in two adjacent excavation units in one of the forested areas of the site. The 15 cm-thick lens of calcined bone (calcined - heated to such high temperatures that the bone turns white) was composed of thousands of small pieces of charred bone fragments that covered an area of approximately 0.5m2. This feature is believed to be the remains of bone processing where the de-fleshed bone was smashed and boiled for the removal of the marrow and fat.The marrow and fat from the bone are high in nutritional content and were a particularly important part of the diet of bison hunters. This type of bone processing feature is typical of bison hunters and is referred to as a "bone-boiling pit.” These features have been found at other archaeological sites where bison hunting was known to have occurred. Close to two thousand artifacts were recovered by the 2003-field school and probably double that number were previously found at the earlier excavations.
Headingley received its first telephones in 1911. The telephone office was located in the Barrett home, at 5402 Bridge Road, with Maggie Barrett as the operator and James Duffy the agent who collected the bills. Thirteen phones were listed in the first phone book.This included three farms south of the river - Morris Bishop, Mr.Meincke, and Watkins and Young, market garden-ers. Three belonged to the West Winnipeg Developers Company, who had big plans for development in south Headingley. The other seven were located in Portage Avenue businesses and homes.These included James Black, the Black and Francis Store, Lester Francis,Thomas Buchanan, Contractor and builder, J.Copp, Blacksmith, Fred Gow, at the Hotel, and the McLean Livery Stable.
These first phones used a wet battery and every few months a telephone serviceman would come around to fill the tank with liquid.For many years, service was only during the day, and for those who did not have phones, messages were usually sent to the Francis store. The second telephone office was in the home of Ethel McLaren (Portage Ave and Hudson St),and she operated the phones until she died in 1927. After the Bank of Commerce, at 5434 Portage Avenue, closed its doors in 1924, the two-storey building was renovated to include room for the telephone exchange with living quarters. In 1927, Louisa and Tom Kidd became the telephone operators and stayed on until 1955. By 1946, there were still only 48 phones in the community.
Phyllis and Tom Craig were the operators from July 1, 1955 until October 1968. Muriel Britton and Jean Piper worked for them as well. This marked the end of operators in Headingley. They had been an important community link for many years, not only putting calls through asking, "Number please?” but also acting as an emergency line. Only a few businesses had private lines because of the expense. Most of the community was on party lines with phone numbers like 305 r23, which meant that your ring would be two long and three short rings. A long ring meant there was a jailbreak ,a fire or some other trouble in the community. At that time you would listen for a message from the operator, who could also cut into your conversation if necessary. Phone manners were very important during the party line era, especially seeing that up to 10 different parties could share one line. You were expected NOT to listen to other people’s conversations. If someone else was talking, you were to wait five minutes before trying again. You were to keep calls short, and make sure the receiver was not left off the hook as this would affect the whole line and calls could not come in or out.
If someone had an emergency, you were to hang up and let him or her use the phone. If problems arose, the Telephone Company sent out a warning letter to the offending customer. The automatic telephone system was put in place in 1968. Up to 1972, Headingley was a rural exchange that included St. François Xavier and was considered long distance from Winnipeg.After Headingley residents took petitions of protest to the Legislature, the exchange became part of Winnipeg on January 25,1973, leaving St.François Xavier on its own.The phone bill went to $3.60 per month from $2.50, and saw the phasing out of party lines.
The ferry was an important link, not only for Headingley, but also for the people from southern Manitoba, including Starbuck and Carmen. It ran for 45 years.
Powered by the current of the river, the ferry was attached by ropes to each side of the river, then it would be angled into the current. J.F.Robinson established the first ferry in 1869. By 1880 William Tait built a ferry and operated it on his farm (Lot 14) for what he could collect. Robert Bird earned $18 per month as the ferryman in 1895.
A new ferry was ordered in 1905 and by 1906 the price was 25 cents per auto. A new wooden bridge replaced the ferry in 1915.
After crops were threshed, grain had to be ground into flour. Headingley had its own gristmill and in 1900, Simon Hodgson was the miller and grain buyer.
In 1908, a new grain elevator was built in Headingley, replacing an older facility. It was managed by a local board of directors who made the decisions regarding its operation and sold memberships to local farmers. Dave Taylor served on the board as secretary for 25 years. For most of these years,the elevator man also lived in Headingley and a house was provided for him by the Board.
The elevator, known for many years as the Headingley Co-Op Elevator, was located near the train station and railway section man house - a very busy place year round. In 1925 the Manitoba Pool Elevator Company was formed. The railway not only moved grain to be sold elsewhere, it also brought in coal and other supplies.
The elevators were busy in the winter and early spring - cleaning grain for farmers. But the railway and agriculture sectors have evolved over the years and elevators had to handle enough grain to be profitable. A decision by Manitoba Pool was made to close the Headingley elevator in November 1996.
Two years later, Agricore took over the Manitoba Pool Company. In March 1999, the elevator was demolished and this former landmark is now gone forever.
After many months of hard work by many volunteers in our community, the first library opened its doors on September 27th, 1993. This building was an old 10 x 8 x 45 ft. supply building for the defunct Sea Cadet Camp at Hnausa. It was purchased by Jim Pearn & Russ Bowdery for $2000 and was moved 95 miles for a cost of about $700 to its new location beside Phoenix School. Russ Bowdery, founding Director, and his crew of volunteers then had their work cut out for them.Bowdery was about to see his dream come true with the help of Herb Britton providing hammer and paint brush,Wes Wiebe installing electrical wiring, Al Gerbrandt building ramp and steps, Tom Byrnes with his bobcat to moving gravel and Gary Glavin with many other volunteers moving ties and looking after the many finishing details. Ties were donated by Tom Scoular and the carpet by Pat Fossay and Don Fleming.
The next job involved many volunteer hours cataloguing over 5,000 donated books and filling the shelves. The team was headed by Audrey Teichroeb, Head Librarian, and included Joyce Turner, Hazel Smith, Annie Hatfield, Karen,Gary and Matthew Glavin, Russ Bowdery, Lynn Major, Vivienne Pearn, Natalie & Janine Girard, Ann Fleming, Ruth Van Gestel and Lydia Coady, to name just few.
The library quickly outgrew the original building and plans were once again drawn up for a new building.Again volunteers were busy building shelves and packing and unpacking 7,000 books.Over the years, as the library grew, Herb Britton and John Teichroeb spent many hours building shelves. The new library was again built beside Phoenix School. The grand opening and ribbon cutting was held on December 6th, 1998 with Councilor Gary Glavin unveiling a plaque dedicated to Russ Bowdery, declaring a section of the library "The Russ Bowdery Reading Corner.”
The original library board consisted of Russ Bowdery, Vivienne Pearn, Lynn Major, Gary Glavin, Herb Britton, Councillor Margaret Mills and Head Librarian Audrey Teichroeb. The library is also operated by a summer student grant.The first student hired was Emma Coady, followed by Gina Coady, Andrea Capri and Amanda Stephens. Over the years the library has been staffed by over 50 volunteers who look after the day to day operation.Ian James served eight years on the board. In 2003, Joan Spice serves as Head Librarian with Wendy Capri as her assistant. Board members include Pat Britton, Shan Hornby, Marly Mustard, Margaret Mills, and Marlene Boyda.
With the creation of the Rural Municipality of Headingley in 1992 came the need to organize the many civic services required. Lorne Erb became Municipal Administrator on January 1,1993; he retired on June 30, 2000, and was replaced July 1, 2000, by Chris Fulsher. Gail Bell was the Rural Municipality’s first Secretary, and in February 1994 became Headingley’s first Magistrate. Darlene Caron became Secretary on May 23, 1993 and she has, since 2000, become Assistant Administrator. Karen Couch became Administrative Secretary in June 1996. Bill Kluczkowski was hired as the first Development Officer, but, following his untimely death in 1993, was replaced by Tom Schouler. Dan Doucet was hired as Municipal Planning Assistant in 1993. He was instrumental in setting up the Geographic Information System (GIS) computer program in the office. Peter Barenz was hired part-time in 1997, and as sewer and water use expanded, he was moved in 2000 to fulltime as Superintendent of Public Works.
The Municipal office started out in rented space at 5421 Portage Avenue before moving to 126 Bridge Road in March 1993 after the purchase of the building. This building also houses the Fire Department. Garbage collection was set up, and in 1993 Headingley was the first municipality in Manitoba to recycle garbage and use a two-bag garbage system with penalties. In 1995, Council put in place its own land use plan called Plan Headingley. The plan designated land for agricultural, commercial, residential or industrial use. It also included restrictions regarding development and lot sizes, intending to keep the Municipality’s rural nature intact. A zoning bylaw was also established in 1995-96 along with Headingley’s own bylaws. The GIS computer system was installed and in 1994 started showing land uses, ownership, topography etc.; this has proven invaluable. The first phase of sewer and water installation was started in 1998 and continued until 2000. Taillieu Construction bid on and was awarded the contract. This included the entire village (north and south), Dodds Road, Wescana to Bridge Road, Charles Glen, and Empire to Grange. Treated water came from St.Eustache.
The new Headingley government lowered taxes, which in 2002, were approximately 40%below the City of Winnipeg. The City currently has a mill rate of 30 while Headingley has a mill rate of 18. Business tax was also eliminated in Headingley. Major drainage improvements have been made in two areas. In 1995, a major drain was reversed from Four Mile Road west of Westcana to the Assiniboine River. Another drain was expanded and upgraded on John Blumberg Golf Course from 1997-2001.
The daily or weekly newspaper became an increasingly important institution in the community. The Headingley Times was a Fred Francis production started on January 23, 1950 and ran until May 15, 1950. The Headingley Headliner started its life as a flyer sent out by the Phoenix Community Club nine times a year. Mavis Taillieu took over this volunteer job in 1992 from Jill Ruth. Mavis and three other volunteers (Karen Glavin, Gloria Wohlers and Bonnie Leullier) then started publishing monthly. There was no charge for the newsletter as advertising covered costs, and it was produced on Mrs.Taillieu’s personal computer.
Over the next 3 1/2 years the Headliner grew from 12 to 36 pages. In 1995-96 Mavis met and hired Tom Ayers as editor. An office was opened, furniture and computers purchased, and a loan secured. The Headliner was printed at the Daily Graphic offices in Portage la Prairie. By December 1995, the Headliner evolved as the province’s newest newspaper. April 1,1996 saw the new tabloid style newsprint format published the 1st and 15th of each month to 3,000 houses in Headingley, St.François Xavier, Springstein, Dacotah, Elie, St.Eustache, Marquette, Fannystelle, Cartier, Starbuck and Oak Bluff. Advertising continued to cover costs, including salaries for editor Tom Ayers and office staff Bonnie Leullier.
The following is a list of the Headingley sons and daughters who fought in these various wars. The Historical Society decided to list only persons who were born and/or brought up in Headingley, in order to keep the list short.Of course, many people eventually came to Headingley who had also fought in the wars. Our apologies if there are any omissions.
- Boer War 1899-1902
- Richard TAYLOR,
- Rupert World War I 1914-1918
- ACHESON, Dudley A.H., Lieutenant, BC Regiment, 54th Bn., died November 5, 1916,Vimy Ridge Memorial, France.
- BARTLEY,Nehemiah,27th Battalion,Canadian Machine Gun Corps.
- BREMNER,George A.J.,Private,43rd Battalion CH of C,wounded Vimy Ridge,France,died April 18,1917,age 33.
- Barlin Communal Cemetery,France.Grave I.A.41
- BROWN,John Alex
- BUCHANAN,James John,Private,78th Bn,Manitoba Regiment,died April 15,1917 of wounds at Vimy Ridge,France.Boulogne Eastern Cemetery,France.
- Grave IV.D.23.
- FOWLER,William Robert,Private,47th Bn,Western Ontario Regiment,died March 20,1918.Brookwood Military Cemetery,Surrey,UK.Grave IX.A.8. v
- LAMONT,John Salmon,Royal Canadian Artillery
- SANSREGRET,Alexander,Private,46th Bn. Saskatchewan Regiment,died September 3,1918,age 23.Ligny-St.Flochel British Cemetery,Pas de Calais France.Grave III.E.13.
- TAIT,Cyril Wilfred,Private,27th Bn.Manitoba Regiment,died June 19,1916 of wounds.Etaples Military Cemetery,France.Grave II.B.49A.
- TAIT,Frank Lionel,Private,7th Bn.,British Columbia Regiment,died May 22,1915. Vimy Memorial,France.
- WHITAKER,Frank,Sergeant,First BC Regiment,7th Battalion,1st contingent,died August 10,1915.Berks Cemetery Extension,Belgium.Grave III.C.37.
- World War II 1939-1945
- ANDERS,Winston,Royal Canadian Engineers
- Sapper,Royal Canadian Engineers,died June 1944, age 47.Brookwood Cemetery,Surrey,England. Grave 49.F.3.
- BROWN,Duncan Stewart, RCAF,killed in action December 18,1944,age 20,
- DeLaville Every,Belgium.
- Brussels Town Cemetery.Grave X.27.28.
- COPP,James,Army,Irish Fusiliers
- CREMEENS,John Wilbur, Queen ’s Own Rifles RCIC, died September 9,1944,age 17, Calais Canadian War Cemetery, Leubringhen,France.Grave 6.B.5.
- DUFFY,Frank,Army,Fort Garry Horse
- EVANS,Dave,Army,Hong Kong
- GOODWIN,Janet,CWAC,Leading Airwoman RCAF
- GILLESPIE,Douglas,Navy 6 years
- KENNY,Norman,Navy,ordinary seaman,died May 8,1941,age 34, commemorated at Elmwood Cemetery,Winnipeg,MB
- KITERINGHAM,Clive,Army Hong Kong
- LAFLECHE,Jude,Lord Strathcona Horse,tank driver
- LAMARRE,Oliva,RCAF, Africa/England
- MCINTOSH,James Donald,Army, Royal Winnipeg Rifles,killed in action,June 8,1944.Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery,France.Grave XIV.F.13.
- SANDERS,William,RCAF S
- SCUTCHINGS,George, Army
- SONNICHSEN,Helmut, Army
- TAYLOR,Donald Allan, RCAF,44 (RAF)Sqdn, killed in action June 22, 1944.Jonkerbos War Cemetery,Netherlands.Coll.Grave 11.J.1-8.
- John Britton,December 26,1941
Following World War II, Headingley Legion Branch #212 was organized and Jim McKinnon was its first president. The B.E.S.L. Ladies Auxiliary was also active in the community. In 1950, elected to office was Elsie Francis as President, first Vice-president Florence Westmore, second Vice-president Emily Duffy, Secretary Hilda Nyrerod, and Treasurer Mary Catton. Executive: Mrs. T. Seekings, Mrs. M. Seekings, and Mrs. Fliesener. Entertainment: Elsie Francis & Florence Westmore; Hospital Committee: Hilda Nyrerod; Sick Visitor and Warden: Mrs.Chas Case; and Auditor: Mrs. H. J. Duffy. This Branch continued into the 1950s. The Independent Order of Foresters,Branch #2023, was also active here in the 1950s.