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Pathways to Winnipeg History Winnipeg in Focus

City Clerk's

More than the Sum of its Parts

With the incorporation of Metro in 1960, the City of Winnipeg as
we know it today began to take shape.

In the decade following World War II, Winnipeg and its neighbouring municipalities experienced rapid population and industrial growth. In fact, by the mid-1950’s, the Greater Winnipeg AreaThe term "Greater Winnipeg Area" came into common use early on in the development of the region. It refers to the City of Winnipeg and adjacent municipalities, particularly for the purpose of sharing services.

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was showing symptoms of the "metropolitan problem"During the 1950's, the term "metropolitan problem" was used to refer to a situation then common in many rapidly urbanizing areas: the need to coordinate planning among several local governments as they spread out to accommodate population growth and industrial development.

Typically, a metropolitan area consisted of a central city surrounded by a number of smaller communities. During the 1950’s in particular, the spaces between these communities and the central city began to fill up with residential, commercial and industrial development and cause conflict between local government bodies. Despite these difficulties, growth caused the smaller municipalities to become more closely linked with the central city - and vise versa – as people traveled throughout the region for work and recreation."

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then evident in cities worldwide.

Winnipeg and its neighbours needed a way to sort out conflicting municipal practices, tax structures and attitudes to growth and change in order to move forward.

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Junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, in Winnipeg: The Capital City of Manitoba - Fourth Largest in CANADA, circa 1964 (A1151)

In 1955, the Province of Manitoba created the Greater Winnipeg Investigating CommissionThe Greater Winnipeg Investigating Commission was created to study and recommend solutions to problems of governance and jurisdiction in the Greater Winnipeg Area. Established by Order-in-Council on September 6, 1955, it was made up of five commissioners selected from a list of names submitted by affected municipalities. The Chair and Deputy Chair were chosen by the commissioners:

J. L. Bodie, East Kildonan, Chair
George Sharpe, Winnipeg, Deputy Chair
J. G. VanBelleghem, St. Boniface
Thomas Findlay, St. James
C. N. Dushner, West Kildonan

The Commission presented its findings to the provincial government in 1959. In 1960, the provincial government introduced a bill to establish the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg. Although substantially different from the Commission’s vision for metropolitan government in Greater Winnipeg, the bill passed and the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg came into existence in 1960.

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to study and report on inter-municipal issues in the Greater Winnipeg Area.

After four years of research and consultation, the Commission recommended that a strong central government be formed, with responsibility for regional streets, water, bridges, parks and the supply of power. The Metropolitan Corporation of Greater WinnipegThe Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg (Metro) was created in 1960 under Bill 62 of the Province of Manitoba, An Act to Establish the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg. Metro had jurisdiction over the City of Winnipeg and adjacent municipalities, as well as the Additional Zone. Metro had an appointed chairman and ten councillors elected by citizens in ten electoral divisions, each of which included a part of Winnipeg and parts of one or more adjoining municipalities. The first Metro Council was elected on Wednesday, October26, 1960. R. H. C. Bonnycastle, the first Chairman of Metro Council, was appointed by the Provincial Government.

Until it was replaced by Unicity in 1971, Metro met with ongoing resistance from area municipalities, was blamed for increased taxation, and was accused of being remote to citizens.

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(Metro) was incorporated in 1960.

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First Metropolitan CouncilMetropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg,
First Metropolitan Council, Elected October 26, 1960
and Installed in Office November 1, 1960

Chairman of Council – Richard H. Bonnycastle
Councillor – Albert Edward Bennett
Vice-Chairman, Councillor – Jack Blumberg
Councillor – R. Darwin Chase
Councillor – Saul M. Cherniack
Councillor – James Arthur Coulter
Councillor – Albert Henry Fisher
Councillor – Robert E. Moffat
Councillor – Lawrence E. Ostrander
Councillor – Jack Willis
Councillor – Bernard R. Wolfe

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, 1960 (R03S30C)

By 1970, Metro had jurisdiction over twelve area municipalities and a surrounding Additional ZoneThe Additional Zone extended out beyond Metro boundaries to an average distance of about five miles. The Additional Zone included all or part of four rural municipalities. In matters of planning, zoning, building controls and property assessment for tax purposes, Metro authority was extended to include the Additional Zone. This arrangement was intended to prevent uncontrolled urban sprawl.

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of 492.86 square miles. To facilitate planning in the Greater Winnipeg Area, Metro required a comprehensive set of maps for the entire region. Various versions of city maps and plans were produced over the years, both by Metro and by private companies. Among the first was Complan Ltd.’sCOMPLAN atlases had three component parts and were revised on a continuous basis to show changes to street names, zoning and the registration of new plans in the region:

Area Sheets: show each municipality in its entirety. Indexing codes on Area Sheets lead to map sheets for specific areas within the municipality.

Metropolitan Sheets: show street layout and zoning information in outlying areas.

Complan Sheets: show developed areas.

Complan’s Area Sheets for each municipality are featured in this exhibit – as at 1960 or 1961 – the first years in which Metro had authority over the Greater Winnipeg Metropolitan Area. The complete Complan Atlas for 1960-1961 is available at the City of Winnipeg Archives.

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atlas, also known as Metroplan.

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Metroplan, Greater Winnipeg. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Rural Municipality of Charleswood

The Rural Municipality of Charleswood was incorporated in 1913 when the community on the south side of the Assiniboine River chose to separate from the Municipality of Assiniboia, which then straddled the river.

Shortly after the election of 1913, the first CouncilReeve - George Chapman
Councillor - Samuel Betsworth
Councillor - William C. Bell
Councillor - Charles Kelly
Councillor - Ben Wylie

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of the new municipality met, with George Chapman as its first ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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.

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R. M. of Charleswood. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Rural Municipality of Fort Garry

The Rural Municipality of Fort Garry was incorporated in 1912 when the community on the west side of the Red River chose to separate from the Rural Municipality of St. Vital, which then straddled the river.

Following the election in 1912, the first CouncilReeve - R.A.C. Manning
Councillor - Edmond Champagne
Councillor - J.P. Dumas
Councillor - Pierre Dumas
Councillor - Joseph E. Grandmont
Councillor - Michel Olivier Leclair (Some records spell it Leclerc)
Councillor - Hunter Young

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of the new municipality met, with R. A. C. Manning as ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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.

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R. M. of Fort Garry. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Rural Municipality of North Kildonan

The Rural Municipality of North KildonanThe name "Kildonan" dates from 1817, when the Earl of Selkirk created the Parish of Kildonan while visiting the colony he had established in 1812. The name refers to the Strath of Kildonan on the Sutherland estate in Scotland. Many of the original Selkirk settlers came from this area.

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was incorporated in 1924 when rural residents of the Rural Municipality of East Kildonan chose to break away from their urban counterparts over concerns for development of the area.

The first CouncilReeve - H.C. Whellams
Councillor - J.H. Coulter
Councillor - L. De Jong
Councillor - J. De Graaf
Councillor - A.M. McKay

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meeting for the new municipality was convened in 1925, with H. C. Whellams as ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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.

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R. M. of North Kildonan. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Rural Municipality of Old Kildonan

The Rural Municipality of Old KildonanThe name "Kildonan" dates from 1817, when the Earl of Selkirk created the Parish of Kildonan while visiting the colony he had established in 1812. The name refers to the Strath of Kildonan on the Sutherland estate in Scotland. Many of the original Selkirk settlers came from this area.

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was incorporated in 1921 following subdivision of the Rural Municipality of West Kildonan. The Rural Municipality of West Kildonan had been incorporated in 1914 following subdivision of the original Rural Municipality of Kildonan which had jurisdiction over land on both the east and west sides of the Red River.

The first CouncilReeve - Charles A. Tanner
Councillor - Henry C. Avery (Elected in July)
Councillor - David Burnside
Councillor - James Lewis Cartwright
Councillor - William J. Hanna (Elected in July)
Councillor - John Henry
Councillor - Robert W. Toschak

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for the newly-formed municipality met in 1921, with Charles A. Tanner as its first ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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.

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R. M. of Old Kildonan. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Town of Tuxedo

The Town of Tuxedo was incorporated in 1913, two years after it was subdivided out of the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia. The area had been identified for development as a suburb for wealthy homeowners by Frederick William Heubach, a real estate promoter and founder of the The Tuxedo Park Company Limited Heubach was born in Ottawa in 1859 and arrived in Winnipeg in 1879. He worked as an accountant with the Hudson’s Bay Company, as the manager of the Winnipeg Industrial Development Exhibition Association, and in real estate in partnership with W. J. Christie, an established real estate broker. He then formed his own company – the Tuxedo Park Company Limited.

Between 1903 and 1905, Huebach acquired 3,000 acres of land for residential development. In 1905, he hired Rickson A. Outhet, a landscape architect from Montreal, to plan the development. The Outhet plan of 1905 was never realized. In 1910, Heubach commissioned a new firm to plan the Tuxedo development. With minor changes only, the Olmsted Bros. plan of 1910 was to guide the development of Tuxedo over the next several decades.

In 1913, the Tuxedo Park Company Limited incorporated the Town of Tuxedo and F. W. Heubach became its first Mayor. He died in 1914.

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(incorporated 1905).

The original Town Plan for Tuxedo was designed by landscape architect Rickson A. Outhet Rickson A. Outhet was a landscape architect working out of Montreal. He had trained with the Olmsted firm.

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of Montreal. It was later revised by the Olmsted Brothers, sons of landscape architect Frederick Law OlmstedFrederick Law Olmsted was a prominent landscape architect who rose to fame following his work on Central Park in New York City, circa 1858.

Olmsted was born in Hartford, Connecticut on April 25, 1822 and died on August 28, 1903. The firm he started in 1883 continued after his death as the Olmsted Brothers, under the guidance of his sons John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

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.

The first CouncilMayor - Frederick Wm. Heuback
Councillor - Arthur E. Choate
Councillor - Frederick Thomas Griffin
Councillor - George Henry Kelly
Councillor - Alfred Erskine Hoskin

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for the Town of Tuxedo met in 1913 with Frederick William Heubach as Mayor.

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Town of Tuxedo. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of East Kildonan

The City of East KildonanThe name "Kildonan" dates from 1817, when the Earl of Selkirk created the Parish of Kildonan while visiting the colony he had established in 1812. The name refers to the Strath of Kildonan on the Sutherland estate in Scotland. Many of the original Selkirk settlers came from this area.

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was incorporated in 1957. Its immediate predecessor was the Rural Municipality of East Kildonan, which had been incorporated in 1914 as a result of subdivision of the original Rural Municipality of Kildonan (incorporated 1881). In 1924, the northerly agricultural portion of the Rural Municipality of East Kildonan seceded to become the Rural Municipality of North Kildonan, while the southern urban portion grew into the City of East Kildonan.

The first CouncilRural Municipality of East Kildonan, First Council (1914)
Reeve – D. Munroe
Councillor – A. Beasant
Councillor – E. P. Brooks
Councillor – A. M. McKay
Councillor – H. C. Whellams

City of East Kildonan, First Council (1957)
Mayor – George Nordland Suttie
Alderman – Thomas Armstrong
Alderman – S. C. McLeod
Alderman – Anthony J. Reid
Alderman – E. Rudolph
Alderman – William Thomas Snowden

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meeting for the Rural Municipality of East Kildonan was convened in 1914, with D. Munroe as ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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. The first Council for the City of East Kildonan met on July 2,1957, with George Nordland Suttie as Mayor.

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City of East Kildonan. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of West Kildonan

The City of West KildonanThe name "Kildonan" dates from 1817, when the Earl of Selkirk created the Parish of Kildonan while visiting the colony he had established in 1812. The name refers to the Strath of Kildonan on the Sutherland estate in Scotland. Many of the original Selkirk settlers came from this area.

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was incorporated in 1961. Its immediate predecessors were the Rural Municipality of West Kildonan, incorporated in 1914 after subdivision of the original Rural Municipality of Kildonan, followed by the Town of West Kildonan, incorporated in 1921.

The first Council Rural Municipality of West Kildonan First Council (1914)
Reeve – Edmund Partridge
Councillor – E. P. Brooks
Councillor – Isaac Colish
Councillor – J. H. Gunn
Councillor – Donald Munroe
Councillor – Thomas Sly
Councillor – W. C. Smith
Councillor – Robert W. Toschak
Councillor – H. C. Whellams

City of West Kildonan First Council (1961)
Mayor – C. N. Kushner
Alderman – E. C. Beeston
Alderman – D. L. Hartley
Alderman – D. McKay
Alderman – S. A. Miller
Alderman – C. Scarfe

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for the Rural Municipality of West Kildonan met in 1914 with Edmund Partridge a ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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. The first Council for the City of West Kildonan met on April 25, 1961, with C. N. Cushner as Mayor.

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City of West Kildonan. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of St. Vital

The City of St. Vital was incorporated in 1962. Its predecessor was the Rural Municipality of St. Vital which had been subdivided from the Rural Municipality of St. Boniface. The name “St. Vital” was first used in 1860 when Bishop Taché dedicated a small school to his coadjutor, Bishop Vital Grandin.

The first Council Rural Municipality of St. Vital First Council (1909)
Reeve - Pierre Dumas
Councillor - Bordeleau
Councillor - Victor Mager
Councillor - F.A. Muller
Councillor - Joseph Riel

City of St. Vital First Council (1962)
Mayor - H. Collins
Alderman – Louis H. Ducharme
Alderman - J.A. Hardy
Alderman - S.M. McMurry
Alderman - F.L. Pierce
Alderman - A.A. Winslow
Alderman - Zealand

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for the Rural Municipality of St. Vital met in 1909, with Pierre Dumas as ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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.The first Council for the City of St. Vital met on June 18, 1962, with H. Collins as Mayor.

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City of St. Vital. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of Transcona

The Town of Transcona was founded in 1912 to provide municipal services to workers attracted by employment opportunities with the Canadian Pacific Railway (1907) and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (1908). The name "Transcona" was derived from the names "National Transcontinental Railway" and "Lord Strathcona"Donald Alexander Smith, Lord Strathcona, was born in Forres, Scotland in 1820 and died in 1914. Smith arrived in Canada in 1838 and began his long career with the Hudson's Bay Company. In addition to Hudson's Bay Company positions, he managed a varied career in business and politics and was deeply involved in development of the rail system in Canada.

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.

The first Council Town of Transcona, First Council (1912)
Mayor - Colin J.E. Maxwell
Councillor - Brodeur
Councillor - G.P. Campbell
Councillor - C.G. Fieldhouse
Councillor - J.W. Gunn
Councillor - Hall
Councillor - Peter Watt

City of Transcona, First Council (1961)
Mayor - T.F. Copeland
Councillor - H. Fuller
Councillor - N. Slotek
Councillor - C.J. Perry
Councillor - W. Dzyndra

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for the Town of Transcona met in 1912, with Colin J. E. Maxwell as Mayor. The first Council for the City of Transcona met on June 19, 1961, wih T. F. Copeland as Mayor.

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City of Transcona. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of St. Boniface

The largest Francophone settlement in Western Canada, the Rural Municipality of St. BonifaceBetween 1810 and 1820, North West Company fur traders and their Metis families, most of them French-speaking, settled the eastern banks of the Red River. The North West Company was a Montreal-based fur trading business that operated between 1779 and 1821. For a time, the North West Company was in bitter competition with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the Canadian west. Following a number of serious skirmishes, the two companies merged in 1821 and the North West Company ceased to exist.

In 1818, Lord Selkirk made a grant of land to the Catholic Church for a mission and school for the French Catholic community. Reverend Norbert Provencher arrived that same year to establish the first Catholic mission church in the west and named the settlement for the medieval evangelist, St. Boniface.

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was incorporated in 1880, became a Town in 1883, and a City in 1908.

The first Council Rural Municipality of St. Boniface First Council (1880)
Préfet (Reeve) – Roger Marion (May 3-July 27, 1880, then Councillor)
Préfet (Reeve) – Joseph Joyal (July 27-December 31, 1880)
Councillor - Daniel Carrière, Councillor - Adjutor Gavreau, Councillor - Francois Gingras, Councillor - Edmond Nadeau, Councillor - George Roy

Town of St. Boniface First Council (1883)
Mayor - T.A. Bernier
Councillor - F.X. Bessette, Councillor - J. Ernest Cyr, Councillor - Arthur Lévéque, Councillor - Miles McDermott, Councillor - Philip Thomas, Councillor - Joseph Turenne

City of St. Boniface First Council (1908)
Mayor - J. Alfred F. Bleau
Alderman - Louis J. Collin, Alderman - J. Arthur Cusson, Alderman - Antoine Gauvin, Alderman - Dr. John P. Howden, Alderman - S.M. Jean, Alderman - Joseph A. Marion, Alderman - Telesphore Pelletier

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for the Rural Municipality of St. Boniface met in 1880. Roger Marion and Joseph Joyal both served as Préfet (ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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) that year. The first Council for the Town of St. Boniface met in 1883 with T. A. Bernier as Mayor. The first Council for the City of St. Boniface met in 1908, with J. Alfred Bleau as Mayor.

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City of St. Boniface. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

City of St. James

The City of St. JamesThe name "St. James" originated in 1853 when the Church of England received a grant of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company and formed the Parish of St. James.

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grew out of the Rural Municipality of St. James, which had been partitioned out of the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia and incorporated in 1921 – in effect separating the urban and rural parts of the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia, with St. James representing the urban portion.

The Rural Municipality of St. James became the City of St. James in 1956. In 1967, the Town of Brooklands The Village of Brooklands, incorporated in 1921, was comprised of land separated from the Rural Municipality of Rosser. On October 4, 1961, the Village became the Town of Brooklands, then merged with the City of St. James in 1967.

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merged with the City of St. James, which in turn joined with the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia in 1969 to form the City of St. James-Assiniboia.

The first Council Rural Municipality of St. James, First Council (1921)
Reeve – J. W. Godkin
Councillor – J. W. Godkin, Councillor – C. W. A. Boultbee, Councillor – W. H. Champion, Councillor – C. S. Ezart, Councillor – James Potter, Councillor – J. Geo. Smith, Councillor – Thomas Stockdale

City of St. James, First Council (1956)
Mayor – T. B. Findlay
Councillor – W. M. Carlyle, Councillor – D. M. Graham, Councillor – J. W. Johnson, Councillor – C. D. Lee, Councillor – S. Morgan, Councillor – D. M. Stanes, Councillor – G. B. Wallace, Councillor – R. F. Wightman

City of St. James-Assiniboia, First Council (1969)
Mayor – A. W. Hanks
Alderman – W. Bannister, Alderman – J. T. Bourke, Alderman – S. R. Chapman, Alderman – J. I. Forsyth, Alderman – D. M. Graham, Alderman – W. A. Hallonquist, Alderman – W. J. Kay, Alderman – J. F. Johnston, Alderman – D. P. MacDonald, Alderman – A. H. Mackling, Alderman – C. J. Mager, Alderman – G. C. Minaker, Alderman – P. Moss, Alderman – R. F. Wightman

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for the Rural Municipality of St. James met in 1921, with J. W. Godkin as ReeveReeve: The elected head of a municipal council.

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. The first Council for the City of St. James met on April 17, 1956, with T. D. Findlay as Mayor.

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City of St. James. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Rural Municipality of Assiniboia

The Rural Municipality of Assiniboia was one of the three original municipalities that surrounded the City of Winnipeg. It was incorporated in 1880 when the Province of Manitoba divided its entire area into municipalities. In 1969, the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia joined with the City of St. James to form the City of St. James-Assiniboia.

The first Council Rural Municipality of Assiniboia First Council (1880)
Warden – William Tait
Councillor – John Bourke, Councillor – Antoine Hogue, Councillor – Duncan McDougall, Councillor – R. A. McKenzie, Councillor – J. Taylor

City of St. James-Assiniboia First Council (1969)
Mayor - A.W. Hanks
Alderman – W. Bannister, Alderman – J. T. Bourke, Alderman – S. R. Chapman, Alderman – J. I. Forsyth, Alderman – D. M. Graham, Alderman – W. A. Hallonquist, Alderman – W. J. Kay, Alderman – J. F. Johnston, Alderman – D. P. MacDonald, Alderman – A. H. Mackling, Alderman – C. J. Mager, Alderman – G. C. Minaker, Alderman – P. Moss, Alderman – R. F. Wightman

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for the Rural Municipality of Assiniboia met in 1880, with William Tait as Warden. The first Council for the new City of St. James-Assiniboia met on January 7, 1969, with A. W. Hanks as Mayor.

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City of St. James-Assiniboia. Complan Atlas, 1960-1961

Metro Years

While Metro achieved improvements in many service areas, civic politicians and citizens alike were dissatisfied with the structure of government in metropolitan Winnipeg. Key concerns were the fragmentation of authority and financial capacity and a lack of citizen involvement that resulted from two tiers of government.

Despite its political problems, Metro was considered an administrative success by two provincially-appointed inquiries conducted during the 1960’s. In particular, the Metro experience softened negative attitudes towards amalgamation within and around Winnipeg and led to the creation of the Unified City of WinnipegIn January of 1972, metropolitan government in Winnipeg was replaced by a new form of civic government defined in The City of Winnipeg Act (Bill 36 of the Province of Manitoba received Royal Assent on July 27, 1971). The Act incorporated the City of Winnipeg and 12 area municipalities, as well as the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg, into the new Unified City of Winnipeg or Unicity. In 1972, the new local government structure for Winnipeg consisted of a Council and Committees and a Board of Commissioners. Council consisted of fifty councilors, one for each of 50 wards, and a Mayor elected by a vote of the City at large. The inaugural meeting of the new Council took place on January 4, 1972.

The Act was distinctive in that it provided for the centralization of policy and decision-making authority for Winnipeg and surrounding municipalities, but allowed for decentralization of the political process and grassroots participation in civic politics through Community Committees – which were made up of elected representatives from combinations of wards within the boundaries of former municipalities.

Since 1972, significant changes have been made to The City of Winnipeg Act and the structure of local government in Winnipeg. In 2003, the Act was repealed and replaced with The City of Winnipeg Charter.

For information on the present structure of civic government, please see Committees of Council.

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(Unicity) in 1971.

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Map of Voting Districts for Metro, 1960. Greater Winnipeg Industrial Topics. Vol. 30, No. 5. September 1970. pp. 3 (A1207)

Last update: May 22, 2014
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