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March 2021:

March 26, 2021

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives photograph — Submitted by Mark Reid, Editor-in-Chief, Canada’s History magazine and, Director, Content & Communications, Canada’s History Society

“I am especially fond of a photo that was included in our special 100th anniversary issue of The Beaver, published with the help of the Archives of Manitoba in October 2020. The image shows a group of Inuit children playing on large supply sacks at Frobisher Bay, in what's now Nunavut, in 1960. The photograph originally appeared in a 1962 issue of The Beaver on children in the north. I love the joy on display in the photo, with smiling children enjoying some playtime.

“I selected this image because it speaks to the importance of family and of community in the North, and is a vibrant reminder that Indigenous communities do not just exist "in the past" but remain vital and resilient today as they reclaim and strengthen cultural traditions and ways of life.”

Kids playing on packed Hudson's Bay Company canoes
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Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files, photograph by Rosemary Gilliat, HBCA 1987/363/E-210/18.

Note: This photograph is held at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives as part of the Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files but copyright is held by Library and Archives Canada where it is part of the Rosemary Gilliat Eaton fonds.

Kids playing on packed Hudson's Bay Company canoes, Iqaluit, Nunavut, 1960.
© Library and Archives Canada. Reproduced with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Rosemary Gilliat Eaton fonds/e010868858
Credit: Rosemary Gilliat Eaton

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March 19, 2021

Why Be A Farmer? A film produced by Manitoba Department of Agriculture — Submitted by Roger Mills, Dairy Business Consultant

“I have enjoyed the film nights from the Archives of Manitoba, but particularly the 3 films on “Why be a farmer?” The third film, featuring Don Falk, really appealed to me, as at that same time, 1977, I was dairy farming in Britain.

“Our family immigrated to Canada in 1994 and took over a small dairy near Steinbach MB. We soon found that we could actually make a better living from 40 cows in Canada than 60 cows in England with very few regulations in place here… at that time. There had been disruption to the UK marketing system, lots of environmental challenges leading to draconian regulations and could not extract a vote of confidence about the ag industry from my local MP.

“The problems that Don related to in 1977, with regard to high priced land, volatile pricing in seasons of uncertain supply and demand due to uncertain weather, all still remain in agriculture today. These are exacerbated in 2021 by global trade issues, even higher priced land, machinery and machinery parts with declining margins for producers. Add to this the highest debt load agriculture has ever seen.

“The trend continues for grain producers to acquire more acres, over which to spread their overhead costs. The increased acres have necessitated farmers to operate large (more expensive) pieces of equipment. So the spiral continues. Inflation on land prices has helped the Balance Sheet to look healthy, but the old adage of ‘Asset rich and cash poor’ is still very applicable. Chemical and fertilizer use are still a huge expense, but methods of application are so precise with modern machinery and GPS, that total volumes are minimized.

“Dairy, egg and chicken sectors all operate their own supply managed systems, which matches production to demand and has the positive effect of more stable prices. However, here too, global trade issues have had a major effect, especially on the dairy industry, as successive governments have traded the in-demand Canadian dairy business for other commodities.

“As Don stated in the film, it was particularly hard for a young farmer to take over the farm or enter any sector of ag. Nowadays, with high priced land and quota in the supply managed sectors, it is probably even more difficult. This also applies to exiting the industry. There is so much value (and debt) in the farms today that it takes a team of banker, accountant, lawyer and a facilitator to help the farmer in any succession plan.

“I don’t think it is too difficult to recognize that farmers have to be more efficient than ever in this current economic climate to exist, let alone prosper. Farming is a business and also very much a way of life. It still has its rewards but the risks are huge. Farmers have a responsibility to produce food to feed an ever-growing worldwide population, but they cannot operate below the cost of production. Successive global governments implemented a ‘cheap food policy’ back in the 1950s and that is largely still in effect today, with some commodity grain prices barely at similar values to 5, 10 and 15 years ago.”

Want to know more? Search Keystone for more information. You can watch Why Be A Farmer? on Streaming from the Archives and you can watch our past online film nights at You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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March 12, 2021

"Drawn by the Feathers or Ac ko mok ki a Black foot chief 7th Feby 1801" in Peter Fidler journals of exploration and survey, 1792-1806 — Submission by Ted Binnema, Historian

“Ak ko mok ki (Old Swan) drew a map for the Hudson's Bay Company trader, Peter Fidler, in February 1801 that depicted a vast area of western North America, from the North Saskatchewan River on the north, to the Bighorn Mountains on the south, between the Rocky Mountains and roughly the border between today's Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“This is the oldest surviving document, of which I am aware, actually created by an Indigenous person of the North American plains. In offering tantalizing access to the mind of a Siksika chief from more than two hundred years ago, it is informative, yet mysterious. What is more remarkable, is that it is part of a collection of Indigenous maps gathered by Peter Fidler in the late 1790s and early 1800s. In my opinion, it is a priceless document.”

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March 5, 2021

The Road to Recovery, a film produced for the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba — Submitted by Tamara Schaab-Johnson, Medical Radiologic Technologist and member of the Manitoba Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (MAMRT)

“This film was about the screening for, and the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) in the 1950’s. As a Medical Radiologic Technologist (RTR), and a member of the Manitoba Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (MAMRT), this film was intriguing to me because it featured the first instances of mobile radiography in Manitoba and the importance of X-rays in diagnosing TB. Several similarities are evident in the way the TB crisis was handled in the 1950’s to the way the COVID-19 pandemic is handled today.

“Similar to COVID-19, TB is a contagious respiratory system disease. In the 1950’s, people were afraid of TB and how it was easily spread, and could be deadly. The mobile X-Ray clinics were used as a tool to diagnose TB early and to prevent people from spreading it to their loved ones and to the community. The goal was to stamp out TB. This is reminiscent of the COVID-19 pandemic our society currently faces, with testing sites having popped up all over the province. Many COVID-19 patients receive chest X-rays to determine the extent of the disease.

“The treatment for TB in the 1950’s included isolation, chemotherapy and prolonged bed rest. This, too, is reminiscent of how COVID-19 patients are treated; isolation to prevent infection of others is required. Even in the 1950’s, contact tracing was done to test the family members and friends of people who tested positive for TB. Then, as it is now, the mental health of isolated and bed ridden patients was a real concern. Now, we have the internet, tv and other electronics to help keep us connected to loved ones and the world. In the 1950’s the options were books, newspapers, arts and crafts.

“The MAMRT celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2019 so this means that X-rays have been used in Manitoba to help diagnose disease since 1929. It was interesting to see what the X-ray equipment looked like in the film and how it was used. The technology has changed significantly since then with the creation of CT and MRI scanners, mammography units and fluoroscopic equipment that can be used in operating rooms and angiographic suites.

“The importance of diagnostic imaging has grown exponentially over the decades and doctors depend on it to help diagnose their patients. Without diagnostic imaging many conditions would not be properly diagnosed and treated. COVID-19 is a prime example. Many COVID-19 patients receive chest x-rays to help doctors confirm a diagnosis and to determine the extent of the disease, and the best treatment option.

“I hope that in the coming months, there will be improved immunization and treatment options for COVID- 19 and that it too will be better managed around the world.”

Want to know more? Search Keystone for more information.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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