Conway Street

Fred Morris

Fred Morris
From the desk of a gadfly

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of St. James (starting just west of St. James Street to Sturgeon Road) breaking away from Assiniboia to form their own municipality, I am doing street profiles. This column features Conway Street.

In the 1915 Henderson Directory, John McKague was listed as the first Conway Street resident. In the 1951 Henderson Directory, Rene and Alice Brochie were the first Conway Street residents listed north of Ness. By the mid 1950's, the Hastings and Lady Conway Apartments with Portage Avenue addresses had been built on the corner of Portage and Conway. On July 29, 1993, a CF 116 Freedom Fighter Airplane was dedicated at the corner of Ness and Conway.

Let us look at Some of the people who spent part of their lives as residents of Conway Street.

E.C. Messervey was the managing director of Silver Heights Farms near Portage and Conway. In 1921, the farm was Canada's number one producer of potatoes. In 1922, the Deer Lodge Golf Club opened right next to the Assiniboine Golf Club. Part of the Deer Lodge Golf Club was located on the Messervey land. Between 1922 and 1937, the Deer Lodge Golf Club provided affordable golf. Also, the Club hosted dances and picnics. As I prepared this story, I was puzzled by the difficulty in finding information about Mr. Messervey.

During the early 1960's George and Rae Minaker were residents of the Lady Conway Apartment Block. After becoming a politician, George represented St. James as an elected official at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Lois Fjeldsted (nee Gauld) grew up on Conway. After moving to Brandon, Lois served as the Chair of the Brandon School Board.

Felix Turner was a charter member and president of the Puffin Ski Club. Lindsay Gauld (Lois Fjeldsted's twin) is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Lindsay is recognized for his achievement in three sports: cycling, cross country skiing, and speed skating. Helen Gauld (Lindsay and Lois's mom) was honoured with Life Memberships in the Silver Heights Community Club and Manitoba Speed Skating Club. In 1964/65, Bruce Grant of Conway Street and Bob Spencer of Albany Street coached the Deer Lodge Bantam B Hockey team to the Manitoba Championship. On January 22, 1966, Bob and Bruce's team defeated an All-Star team from the other St. James community clubs in the first hockey game played at the St. James Civic Centre. Bruce's widow Audrey attended the January 22, 2016, 50th anniversary game.

James Stokes who died in 1961 was the proprietor of the Lyndale Pharmacy at 303 St. Mary's Road. On October 13, 1998, Richard and Louise Wojcik opened a funeral home at 2157 Portage Avenue. A couple of Assiniboine Chamber of Commerce Chairs Tom. Killberry and Del Halliday lived part of their lives on Conway Street.

William Shinn was the founder of the Shinn Conservatory of Music on Furby Street. In 1940, William received an honourary fellowship from the London College of Music. Mary Stokes was another talented musician. Mary once served as the Church Organist of Christ Church in Selkirk.

Many Conway Street residents had long working careers. Corinne Murphy taught school for 35 years at Machray, Wolseley and Isaac Brock schools. Tom King worked for 40 years at Dominion Motors. Archie Ross was employed for 38 years at Winnipeg Hydro. Stuar Gault worked for 45 years at the Bank of Montreal.

I found references in the newspaper archives to the children of Conway Street. On the 1955 Labour Day Weekend, Margaret Yates aged four is pictured helping her father with the yard work, Another September 1955 Free Press archive is a picture of Garnet, Sybil Jacobson and their two young children, Peter and Anne. They were the first family of Winnipeg's RCAF. In 1958, Lois Gauld won a bicycle for collecting the most rags in the Patriotic Salvage Corps Drive.

As I worked on this story during the recent holiday season, I kept remembering one holiday memory. After losing my father to cancer, Jim and Honey Smith made a Christmas Eve visit to our Mandeville Street Home. Jim was dressed as Santa Claus. The visit brought us some much-needed holiday cheer.