9.46 m textual records; 1919 photographs & graphics
History / Biographical
Brandon, Manitoba was incorporated as a city in 1881. In 1882, led by Charles Whitehead and a small Board of Directors that included J.W. Vantassel, Charles Pilling, George Halse, J.E. Smith, William Johnson, R.T. Evans, and Thomas Lockhart, it was decided to hold an agricultural exhibition. These men were all involved in the farm business in one way or another, and they wanted an opportunity to help residents realize the agricultural potential of the region. In October of that year, the fledgling community held its first agricultural exhibition . The fair was held in downtown Brandon at what was known as “Market Square.” Market Square was two acres of land located on Princess Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets. Due to poor weather, and the fact that not many people were ready to show animals and grain, there was a relatively small turnout. The following year was much improved. There were 730 entries into the exhibition. By 1884, the Board of Directors of the Brandon Agricultural Society, which was in charge of the exhibition, realized that they were in poor financial shape, to the point of being personally out of pocket. It was realized that October was not the best time for farmers to be leaving their farms to go to an exhibition. In 1888, it was decided to move the exhibition to the summer time, when it was much easier for people to attend.
The first Brandon Summer Fair was held in July 1889, and it was a resounding success. The Board of Directors had added many items of interest to appeal to the entire public, not just agricultural people. In 1892, the Western Agricultural and Arts Association (WAAA) was formally established to take over duties from the Brandon Agricultural Society. However, it was not until 1897 that the WAAA held its first meeting. There is no explanation as to why there is a five year gap between the formation and the first meeting of this organization. 1897 was the turning point of the Brandon Exhibition. The fair was now firmly established in Brandon, and the Board of Directors was instrumental in ensuring that it remained so. This was done by petitioning to both the municipal and provincial governments for grant money. As well, the Board booked midway and grandstand acts that would bring the city dwellers to the agricultural exhibition.
There were also early attempts at holding an agricultural exhibition in the winter. The first such attempt was in 1884. There was also a Spring Stallion show held in 1891. By 1904, however, a petition by J.D. McGregor had gone out to formally establish a winter exhibition. This effort also failed, but by 1906, it was decided by businessmen, politicians, and farm representatives in Brandon, including McGregor, to organize a winter fair. Rather than seeing this new fair as competition, the Board of Directors of the summer fair felt that it would complement their exhibition. The new fair would remain primarily agricultural. The first winter fair was held in 1906. While the two fairs were not amalgamated, they did share the same secretary-manager. The secretary-manager was responsible for the day to day management of the fair, as well as keeping track of meetings and decisions reached by the various fair boards and committees. In 1907, the Brandon Winter Fair and Livestock Association (BWFLA) was formed to act primarily as a land-holding joint stock company. The following year the Provincial Winter Fair and Fat Stock Association (PWFFSA), an entirely separate organization from the BWFLA, was formed to manage the activities of the winter fair. The PWFFSA name was soon changed to the Manitoba Winter Fair and Fat Stock Association (MWFFSA).
By 1906, Brandon could boast two full size exhibitions, one in the summer and one in the late winter, both of which were considered to be premiere events. In 1908, the Brandon summer fair was renamed the Inter-Provincial Exhibition, and in 1912 it held it’s first Traveller’s Day, an event which would soon become an important addition to the fair and is still in existence today. It is thought that the name “Traveller’s Day” came from the fact that it was held on a Saturday, a day when many people could travel to Brandon for the exhibition.
In 1913, Brandon was bestowed with the honour of hosting the Dominion Exhibition. This was a national exhibition sponsored by the federal government. It was held in a different city every year. There were several cities vying for the 1913 Dominion Exhibition, but it was Brandon that impressed the sponsors the most. With the government funds received for this honour, the Board of Directors supervised the building of a new grandstand, display buildings, and racetrack, as well as the general expansion and improvements to the fairgrounds.
In the spring of 1912, it was decided by the Board of Directors of the winter fair that the facilities they were currently housed in were inadequate for their needs. The mayor and city clerk of Brandon went to the provincial legislature in order to request that there be an amendment added to the Brandon city charter. This amendment would allow the city to guarantee bonds issued by the winter fair board to help pay for the construction of a new facility. This request was granted, and a $70 000 addition was built next to the original winter fair building. The new building was opened in 1913.
Throughout the First World War, both the winter fair and Provincial Exhibition buildings were used for the war effort. There was one distinct difference however. The summer fair Board was able to negotiate a deal with the army that enabled it to reclaim the fair buildings during fair week. The winter fair, however, had to give up the idea of holding fairs in 1915 and 1916. It was not until 1917, that the winter fair was able to resume.
During this time, due to the financial problems that had beset the winter fair, the two exhibitions considered amalgamation. The Board of Directors of the winter fair felt that because they were the smaller of the two fairs, their interests would be swallowed up by the summer fair. The winter fair withdrew from the negotiations to amalgamate. With this rather sudden turn of events, the Board of Directors of the summer fair petitioned the government to be allowed to incorporate. This was granted, and in 1920, the WAAA was incorporated as the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. From 1920, the summer fair was officially known as the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. This was the first time that the summer fair was incorporated, and received the “status and financial assistance” that came with incorporation.
More problems beset the winter fair in the 1920s. In 1920, a fire burned down the winter fair pavilion, located at the south end of the winter fair buildings, and caused the Board to cancel the 1921 winter fair. It was not until 1922, that a new building was completed. By 1929, both fairs were well regarded throughout Canada. In 1929, a decade long Depression hit the west. While many fairs closed during this time, Brandon struggled to keep its open. The Directors of both fairs felt that the agricultural shows “encouraged excellence at a time when faith and enthusiasm were at a low ebb.” The summer fair proved to be quite successful during the Depression, likely as a result of the few moments one was able to forget one’s troubles while there. The winter fair was not quite as successful, although both fairs received government grants and work relief projects. There was little new entertainment in these exhibitions.
There were changes about to manifest themselves at the summer fair, however. While the winter fair had representatives from various associations on its Board of Directors, the summer fair Board of Directors was a small close-knit group of men. Citizens saw entry into this elite group as elusive and difficult. To ward off the possibility of the Board becoming a “self-sustaining clique,” that only chose Directors from within, it was decided by several citizens to try and elect some new blood into the fair Board. In 1933, there was a general election for the Board. Instead of the usual men shuffling positions, there were forty-four nominations for the twenty positions. When the voting was all over, seven new men sat on the Board. Despite some inner rumblings, especially on the summer fair Board over the next few years, both exhibitions survived the Depression.
During the Second World War the fairs once again were forced to operate under adversity. Once again, the buildings were requisitioned for the army, although they were released during fair week. The summer fair was forced to make several concessions, and the winter fair was relocated to the summer fair grounds for the duration.
The winter fair did not survive the Second World War intact. Due to financial reasons, in December of 1945, the Board of Directors turned the winter fair buildings over to the City of Brandon. By 1946, the BWFLA, which was the joint-stock land holding company, had ceased operations because the city now controlled the winter fair land and buildings.
The next fifteen years would be a time of rebuilding for both of Brandon’s exhibitions. Children especially were more active participants in the agricultural exhibitions. The summer fair continued to diversify and look for new ways of entertaining the public at large. The winter fair remained primarily agricultural. By the end of the 1950s the winter fair, which was used to struggling, was now both successful and stable; and the summer fair, a perennial success, was starting to fade.
By 1969, both the winter and summer fair Boards had realized that amalgamation was the best possible decision, both practically and financially, for the future of the two fairs. On 29 October, 1969, the two exhibitions amalgamated to become the Manitoba Exhibition Association. The reconstituted Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba was now responsible for both the winter and summer fairs. A new building was erected on the summer fair grounds to house both of the exhibitions. On 2 April 1973, the Keystone Centre was officially opened at the winter fair, although it had been in use since October of the preceding year.
In 1970, Manitoba’s Centennial, it was decided that an organization in Manitoba would receive the title of “Royal,” as a way to celebrate the centennial. Although many organizations applied for the honour, it was the Brandon winter fair that received the accolades. The winter fair was bestowed with the title “Royal”, and became known as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.
In 1975, a third exhibition was added, this time a purely agricultural fall show known as the Agricultural Exhibition, or AgEx. This fair was partly organized on behalf of the cattle growers, who found that the summer and winter fairs did not give them adequate time and space to properly show their cattle. The return to a fall show, which had not existed since 1888, would be the return to a purely agricultural exhibition. This show was to be primarily a show and sale event. On 3 November 1975, the first AgEx was opened to resounding success.
The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and AgEx are all still in existence in Brandon. They are regarded as three of the most important events to take place annually in the city.
These files were housed with the Manitoba Exhibition Association until c1986 when they were transferred to the S.J. McKee Archives at Brandon University.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of textual records and photographs comprised of the records from the three annual exhibitions that are held in Brandon, Manitoba: the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, and the Agricultural Exhibition (Ag-Ex). The textual records include prize lists, programs, minutes, financial, administrative files, original results, scrapbooks, tickets, news releases, contracts, by laws, documents as well as a miscellaneous section. There are approximately 1846 photographs that include scenes from these three exhibitions. These records provide a unique perspective on the development of agriculture and rural life in southwestern Manitoba. Fairs such as these have been and remain prime media of farm improvement, technological and scientific advancement in rural Canada, and the promoters of country living. These fairs also reflected the long tradition inherited from Britain and Europe of country fairs as centers of entertainment, social interchange and diversion. These records are a principal source of information about the most broadly based vocational, entertainment and social events held on an annual basis in southwestern Manitoba over the last century. The records are vital to academic research on agriculture or fairs, individual biography, or community history.
The RG 2 Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba Association finding aid was created by Karyn (Riedel) Taylor with the exception of Series 9 and the accompanying database, which were created by Donica Belisle. This finding aid was created in August 1999.
Researchers are responsible for observing Canadian copyright restrictions.
RG 2 Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba Association fonds
RG 2 Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba Association fonds
Additional records regarding the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, and AgEx are housed at the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba Association offices. To gain access to these records, it is necessary to contact the general manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba Association.
The fonds is divided into sous-fonds by exhibition. There is a Provincial Exhibition sous-fonds, a Royal Manitoba Winter Fair sous-fonds, an Ag-Ex sous-fonds, and a Miscellaneous sous-fonds that holds information that could not be easily broken down into one exhibition. The arrangement is as follows:
RG 2 Provincial Exhibition Association of Manitoba fonds
RG2SF1 Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba
1.3 Financial Records
1.4 Administrative Files
1.5 Prize Lists and Programs
1.6 News Releases
1.7 Original Results
RG2SF2 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair
2.3 Financial Records
2.4 Administrative Files
2.5 Prize Lists and Programs
2.6 News Releases
2.7 Original Results
3.4 Administrative Files
3.5 Prize Lists and Programs
3.6 News Releases
3.7 Original Results
4.3 Financial Records
4.4 Administrative Files
The forerunner of Manitoba Pool Elevators (MPE), the Manitoba Wheat Pool was created in 1924 as a mechanism to allow for the co-operative marketing of wheat by Manitoba producers by the United Farmers of Manitoba. The Manitoba Wheat Pool was initially intended to be a provisional organization until the establishment of an interprovincial Pool, but when Alberta and Saskatchewan established their own permanent Pools the United Farmers decided to do the same. The Manitoba Pool was different from the SK and AB Pools in that the municipality was the primary unit of organization; members belonged to their municipal Pool associations first, rather than having direct membership with the central Manitoba Wheat Pool. Manitoba Pool Elevators was established in 1925 as a subsidiary of the Pool in response to local members complaints about the unfair business practices of privately owned elevators. The private elevators also slowed up the shipment of grain to the Central Selling Agency employed by the Wheat Pool, acting as a barrier between the local Pools and the Manitoba Wheat Pool. Once established MPE quickly began to build new elevators and aquire privately owned elevators.
MPE's approach to marketing grain promised to stabilize the market price of grain and ensure a fair market price to producers. Initially the Manitoba Wheat Pool was very successful. However, in 1930, the Manitoba Wheat Pool found itself burdened with an unsold surplus from the preceding year that had been bought from the farmers at a price that was significantly higher than any possible return during the Depression. As a result, in 1931 the Manitoba Wheat Pool's Central Selling Agency defaulted on its bank loans. Despite attempts to save the organization, it was forced to declare bankruptcy in November 1932. The financial difficulties of the Wheat Pool had little to no effect on the Pool Elevators, and so this former subsidiary organization became the main Manitoba Pool organization. This change meant MPE had to reorganize, which they were able to do with funds from the provincial government. The company was successful enough in subsequent years that it was able to finish repaying the Manitoba government a full year early in 1949.
MPE did not limit itself to grain handling; they wished to enrich the lives of rural families through education and to provide economic stability through diversification.
MPE established a lending reference library for members and a traveling library for rural families in 1926. With the passing of the Public Libraries Act in 1948, the province took over responsibility for providing rural families with books. MPE decided that since their traveling library would no longer be needed when rural libraries were established, the best course of action was to donate their library to the Provincial government. They also established and supported programs that educated young people about agriculture and ag business.
Subsidiary companies that dealt with course grains, livestock, packing and fertilizer were established by MPE to streamline and stabilize business for its members.
1961 marked the high water mark for the number of local associations within Manitoba Pool Elevators with 225 local associations. After this date the associations began to amalgamate and consolidate. Improvements in rural roads and rail systems and increases in the size of farms and mechanization of farm labour meant that fewer elevators were needed to service all members and regions. These changes led to an organizational restructuring of Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1968. Membership became direct, and the main unit of organization became the central office. The central office administrated the Pool through districts, which were further subdivided into sub-districts. The locals which were formally the main organizational unit came under the immediate direction of the sub-district they were located in. Local association could opt out of this system if they wished, but by 1975 all but 29 associations had become part of the new structure.
In 1998 Manitoba Pool Elevators merged with the Alberta Wheat Pool to form Agricore Co-operative, Ltd. In 2001 this organization merged with the United Grain Growers to become Agricore United, and in 2007 AU was taken over by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool; the new company is currently known as Viterra.
The bulk of this fonds was accessioned in 1975, when the forerunner to the McKee Archives at Brandon University, the Rural Resource Center, was founded. The original mandate of the Rural Resource Center was to house the records of the Manitoba Pool Elevators. Previous to this, most of the fonds was stored at MPE's head office in Winnipeg. Many accruals to this collection have since taken place, with some of the larger ones being received in 1997, 2001, and 2002.
Scope and Content
Fonds contains records dealing with every aspect of the Manitoba Pool Elevators organization, from the events leading to its formation in the 1920's, to its amalgamation as part of Agricore beginning in the late 1990's.
Fonds includes records of the local co-operative elevator associations established in the period 1925 - 1968 under the Co-operative Associations Act including: organizational papers; minutes of executive boards; minutes of shareholders annual meetings; financial statements; correspondence; membership lists; and miscellaneous documents.
Also to be found are: documents related to the Royal Commission re the Manitoba Pool Elevators Limited ca. 1931; miscellaneous reports and submissions documents (1925 -1952); central office papers consisting of annual reports, circulars to local co-operative elevator associations and documents related to various other activities of the Manitoba Pool Elevators organization. Fonds also contains documents pertaining to the Manitoba Co-operative Poultry Marketing Association Limited and its successor, the Manitoba Dairy and Poultry Co-operative Limited, and related agencies.
Other items in the fonds (dating from the 1890's to 2001) include: books acquired for the Manitoba Pool Elevator Library, including a complete run of both the Scoop Shovel (MPE's first newspaper)and the Manitoba Cooperator; photographs; slides; audiotapes; and reel-to-reel videos.
Finally, the fonds contains a small number of miscellaneous items such as banners, and company issued briefcases.
This fonds is organized into four series, (A) Local Association records, (B) Central Office Records, (C) Subsidiary Companies and Co-operatives, (D) Commissions, Committees and Inquiries
Description by Mike White (2002), revised and enlarged by Jillian Sutherland (2009-2010).
History/Bio taken from F.W. Hamilton, "Service at Cost: A History of the Manitoba Pool Elevators 1925-1975" (Saskatoon: Modern Press) and from records within the fonds.
Preparation of this description made possible in part by a generous grant from the Brandon University Student's Union Work Study Program 2009.
Janet Louisa May More was born on the family homestead south of Hartney, Manitoba in 1896. She attended Chain Lakes School and Hartney High School prior to completing Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees at the University of Manitoba. Following her graduation, More taught in various Manitoba schools for fifty years. In addition, she was a member of the Manitoba Education Association, the Manitoba Library Association, the Turtle Mountain Teachers' Association (of which she was the first President), and the Manitoba Teachers' Society, which nominated her for a Life Mmembership. Janet Louisa May More retired in 1967, and resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba until her death.
Additional biographical information for Janet Louisa May More can be found in her profile as a "Memorable Manitoban" on the Manitoba Historical Society website (http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/more_jlm.shtml).
Materials passed into the hands of Gerald Brown who donated them to the McKee Archives.
Scope and Content
Collection contains curriculum materials related to the study and teaching of Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, Mathematics, English and French language studies in Manitoba dating mostly from the 1940s. Collection also contains Christmas concert and dramatic materials; notes from the Manitoba Fine Arts Committee (April 1939); and notes concerning the Manitoba Camera Club, the Manitoba Drama League, Manitoba Society of Artists, Manitoba Adult Education Association, Winnipeg Sketch Club and the Manitoba Handicraft Guild.
Reg Forbes was born September 16, 1924. He and his wife Clara have two children, Bob and Faye. Forbes served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Navigator during World War II. From 1945-1949, he attended the University of Manitoba where he received his B.Sc.A. While working as Village Councillor and as Secretary-Treasurer for the Pilot Mound Hospital, Forbes initiated the "Save the Soil Campaign," a soil conservation programme that became province-wide, between 1952-1962.
From 1956-1975, Forbes was the Principal of the Agricultrual Extension Centre in Brandon, where he reorganized the Adult Education Centre into the Agricultural Extension Centre. During this period, Forbes was a founding member of the West-Man Regional Development Corporation and a founder of the Manitoba Committee on Rural Leadership. He was also instrumental in the amalgamation of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and the Provincial Exhibition and in the resulting construction of the Keystone Centre.
From 1975-1977 Forbes was a Commissioner for the Grain Handling and Transportation Commission (Hall Commission/GHTC). Following his work with the Commission, Forbes was employed as the General Manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba (1977-1979), the Director of the Grain Handling & Transportation Section of the Manitoba Department of Agriculture (1979-1983), the Industrial Commissioner for the Brandon Industrial Commission (1983-1986), and as the Westarc Group Inc. Project Director for delivery under contract of Canadian Rural Transition Programme in Manitoba.
Forbes also held a number of voluntary and elected positions, such as Long-term Director and President of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. In 1970-1971, he was the President of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and from 1978-1981, Forbes was the first chairman of the Agricultural Advisory Committee of the Canadian Broadcasting Corportation. He was also a member of the Canada West Foundation Board, the Brandon University Board of Governers (1974-1976), and the Federal-Provincial Transportation and Industrial Development Advisory Committee (TIDAC). Forbes is also a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. In 1977, he received the Jubilee Medal and in 1987, he was given the Distinguished Agrologist Award by the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists.
Reg Forbes donated his working collection of briefs, correspondence and other documents relating to his work as a commissioner of the Grain Handling and Transportation Committee (GHTC) to the McKee Archives c. 1985.
Scope and Content
The majority of the collection consists of records created and received by the Royal Commission on Grain Handling and Transportation (GHTC). Included are documents detailing numerious hearings from all four Western provinces. In addition to the GHTC hearings, there are also a number of documents given to the GHTC as reference material. These include information on the Snavely Commision, documents for the province of Alberta, various reports, the Prairie Regional Studies in Economic Geography (No. 1-27) and General Information. The collection also includes two maps given to the GHTC.
The Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Parade Day was held on Thursday, July 19, 1962, at 9:30 a.m. The local newspaper reported that approximately 24,000 people were in attendance to see parade marshall Rod Ashburner leading 175 entries consisting of 90 floats, 75 horses, and 10 bands. There were 19 parade categories eligible for $12,000 in prize money and included: junior and senior cowboys and cowgirls; fancy and Shetland ponies; sulky class open; comic, commercial, industrial and organizational floats; decorated cars; special ranch class; 4-H Clubs; and a non-competitive class.
The parade route started at Second St. and Allowance Ave., from Second St. to Ash Ave., north on Ash to First St. SE., from First St. S.E. to Fourth Ave., south to Second St. to South Railway St., south on South Railway St. to Third St., with a finish at McLeod Trail. A route map was published in the Medicine Hat News the day before the parade.
Aerial photographs of the parade were taken by Medicine Hat News photographer Howard Heid (1930-2005) from the private helicopter of John Bourn. Bourn was a pilot from Woodville, Wisconsin, who chartered his four-seater helicopter for sight-seers at exhibitions and stampedes across the county.
(Sources: Pat Currie, "Let 'Er Go!," Medicine Hat News, 19 July 1962,1; Harald Gunderson, "'Eye in the Sky' Best Parade View," Medicine Hat News, 19 July 1962,1; "Parade Starts at 9:30 Sharp," 18 July 1962)
Scope and Content
Photograph shows an aerial view of possibly 8th Street NW and Tweed Avenue NW. A Safeway grocery store, park and residential area are visible. Many of hte homes appear to have gardens.
This photograph shows the neighbourhood before rezoning and commercial development.
Frank Robb was Assistant Secretary Treasurer for School District of Brandon No. 129 and Curator of the B.J. Hales Natural History Museum exhibition for Brandon's 75th Anniversary (1957). Robb left Brandon ca. 1969 and relocated to Minaki, Ontario.
Frank Robb sent the slides to Fred McGuiness ca. 1986. McGuiness gave them to Eileen McFadden at the McKee Archives in April 1986.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of 155 slides taken by Frank Robb, an inventory for the slides prepared by Robb and a letter from Robb to Fred McGuiness regarding the slides and memories of Brandon ca. 1950s.