Day 74 – August 19 – Winnipeg, MB

We drove about 10 kilometers east to the community of Transcona to vist their museum. We thought it would have a lot of information about the railyards, but it was quite small. As always, though, with museums, there were some interesting things.

The community of Transcona came about in 1908 when the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) and National Transcontinental Railway (NTR), looking to build a second railway line across Canada, settled on a large area of unoccupied, flat land east of Winnipeg. This land functioned as the centrally-located site for repair and maintenance of the GTP and NTR railways. The town’s name is a combination of Transcontinental (Railway) and (Lord) Strathcona, Donald Smith who was a former Manitoban who was instrumental in building the Canadian Pacific Railway not too long before.

The Transcona Shops fully built built 33 engines as well as all the maintenance and repairs they did. The first one they built is on display in the Rotary Park. In 1972 Transcona amalgamated with the city of Winnipeg, along with 11 other communities.

After we toured the museum we did an Adventure Lab that took us to five of the nice murals there are around town. As we searched for the specific five we needed we saw many others.

We drove back to Winnipeg to go to the Costume Museum of Canada which I had wanted to visit last time we were here but it was closed. It was closed again today. Rats! So we just drove the short distance to the Museum of Manitoba.

It was a large museum with 9 galleries, some of which we just did a quick walk through. I took lots a photos as usual, but have only posted a few – well, relatively few – here.

Snowy Owl.

There was a small gallery showcasing the photographs of a young Jewish man who lived in Morden, about 125 km southwest of Winnipeg. He was an avid photographer from the age of 12 and did a lot of experimenting with light and angles, and took many self-portraits. His box of negatives was discovered after he died in North Africa during WWII.

Nick Yudell in 1931 on the steps of St. John’s Technical Collegiate.

Taken in 1940 not long before he left for Britian to fight in WWII.

This large wall painting was done by Daphne Odjig. We have a limited print of one of her paintings from the 1980s when she lived in our area. She died in 2016.

As is the norm in most prairie museums there was a section about dinosaurs and also a special gallery and film (accessed by a separate ticket which we did not buy). I had never seen this turtle-type one before. I think he is cute. He is not classed as a dinosaur, but is a mammal.

We spent the most time in two galleries: The Nonsuch and the HBC Collection.

The Hudson’s Bay Company, to commemorate its 300th anniversary in 1970, commissioned a shipbuilding firm in Devon, England to build a replica of the Nonsuch. At the same time the Museum of Manitoba approached the HBC for a contribution to its proposed cultural complex – the new museum. HBC gifted them the Nonsuch.

The shipyard knew they were making a replica for a museum but they also wanted it to be seaworthy and sail. They used historic tools and techniques from the 17th century, including the same types of wood. It took 10 months and $125,000 to build her. The Nonsuch was launched on Aug. 26, 1968 and shipped to Canada. Before coming to it’s permanent berth in the museum it sailed 14,000 km in salt and fresh water – in the Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie and through the Welland Canal. It was also shipped to Seattle and sailed up the west coast of British Columbia, making several ports of call.

The HBC Heritage webs site says:

“At 43 tons, Nonsuch had a deck of about 16.2 metres (53 feet) in length, and 11.3 metres (37 feet) along the keel. Her beam (breadth) was 4.6 metres (15 feet), she had a draft of 2 metres (6½ feet), and was designed to take a complement of six to eight naval cannons. Built in Wivenhoe, Essex in 1650, she began life as a merchant ship before she was bought by the British Navy, subsequently captured by the Dutch, and then recaptured by the British before being sold to private interests. She is generally believed to have been named in honour of Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, one of King Charles II’s favourite mistresses. The name, meaning “none such” or “without equal,” was a nickname of hers.”

The Nonsuch replica sits as though just returned from her voyage to Rupert’s Land (pre-Canada name) in port at Deptford, England in 1669. The walls that make up the town around the ketch were built after the ship was in place, so Nonsuch is never sailing again.

Even with the upper level viewing area you could not get a shot that showed how high the masts and sails were. Seven people at a time were allowed aboard. There are 4 kilometers of ropes of various sizes on the ship. Rope coils were everywhere. When Nonsuch origianally sailed she had 12 crew. Four slept in the Captain’s cabin at the stern (there are only two bunks but two would be on duty while two were off). The other eight crew slept (usually four at a time unless All Hands were needed due to a storm or something) in the hull below deck.

Captain’s quarters. A bunk on either side with a couple of drawers and a sided desk in the middle.

On either side of the ship there are carvings of a dog. The staff call one of them Wellington and the other Boots. I assume after the seafaring footware.

In 1920, for Hudson’s Bay Company’s 250th anniversary they began to actively pursue putting together an historical collection. Men were dispatched to former posts and the call was issued for items. By 1960 over 10,000 objects reflecting the story of the company and the remarkable people who worked for the fur trade had been acquired. Items are still being gifted to the collection. In 1994 Hudson’s Bay Company gifted the collection to the people of Canada and the Manitoba Museum became its home. There were many, many interesting things in the pieces of the collection on display.

The motto Pro Pelle Cutem translates to For skin, skin – or A pelt for a skin. The motto is often taken to mean “[animal] skins obtained at the cost of [human] skin.”

John and I thought this mantle was made from porcupine quills, but the description list says it is dentalium shells that would have been acquired through trade. It is from the late 1800s and the Northern Plains. Dentalium shells are a type of seashell.

This child’s jacket is made from loon feathers with fur trim. It is Inuit from the early 20th century.

The carvings in the photos above and below are from the Inuit Collection. All are from the early 20th century.

This silver cigar box with the HBC Coat of Arms on the lid was given to Sir Winston Churchill in 1956 to commemorate his honorary postion of Grand Seigneur in the Hudson’s Bay Company. (I wonder how they got it back?)

A replica of one of the large trading canoes.

This HBC coat of arms was on the exterior of the Hudson’s Bay store in Kamloops, BC (an hour from our home) from 1957-1982 when the store was relocated from downtown to the new Aberdeen Mall up on the hill. Our family did some shopping in that store from time to time.

The end of the HBC collection had a display of the Chairman’s office in London, England until the headquarters of the company was moved to Canada in 1980.

Despite it not being the destination of choice for our touristing today, we did enjoy the Museum of Manitoba.

Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and drive to Winkler, which is only 1 1/2 hours away. Winkler is Manitoba’s 4th largest city with a population of almost 14,000. We are spending three nights there as well. But we do not have a list of heritage houses, or historical villages, or musems to see. We plan to do some geocaching!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.