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Moments in Birtle History

These include recollections of people, places and events that have made Birtle a special place to live:

Early Pictures of Birtle before 1900

Arthur Lawrence ran a photography studio in Birtle from 1903 until he died in 1947, after a long and successful career of promoting the area through his photographs.

Charles Flower (1863–1927) was a “Remittance Man” who came to the Birtle area around 1889 and soon became accepted by the community, serving two terms as Mayor.

Birtle's Role in the North-West Rebellion

Riverside Park, Beach and Golf Course

Water Gala. In 1931, a new dam raised the water level in the Birdtail River and created a small lake. The area around the lake developed as the Birtle Riverside Park. Swimming clubs and swimming competitions soon followed.

Floods and Cyclones. Flooding on the Birdtail River was, and continues to be a common occurrence.

Demonstration Farm. In 1917, the Manitoba government purchased land for a Demonstration Farm, which was used to teach agricultural techniques and effective farming practices while promoting crop varieties suited to this region of the province.

Birtle Residential Schools

Birtle Bands.
Music was an integral part of Birtle community for at least 50 years providing entertainment for important occasions and social gatherings.

Jubilee Celebrations 1927. On July 1st, 1927, Birtle held a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

Mill Fire. In 1926, a devastating fire completely destroyed the local flour mill and killed its owner.

Fighting Fires in Birtle and Area. Fires over the decades have significantly altered the town.

The Railway and Leacock's Ravine. The railway company built their new line on the north side of the valley. A road up the steep north hill to the new station was needed.

Birtle Rail line Complete; Sir John A. Visits Birtle. Canada's Prime MInister visited Birtle in August of 1886.

Sir Wilfred Laurier opened the new Town Hall in 1910.

On July 1910, Sir Wilfred Laurier, along several dignitaries including George Graham, Minister of Railways and T.C. Norris, Leader of the Manitoba Liberals, attended the opening of the new Birtle Town Hall.


The Birtle Observer newspaper covered the event.

First Airplane arrives in Birtle, June 23, 1920

The caption reads "Vote for Norris and Progressive Government". Photo by Lawrence

The Manitoba general election of 1920 was held on June 29th. Six days before the election, on June 23, one of Premier Norris’ candidates’ campaign planes landed in Birtle, as they did in other communities across Manitoba, to garner support for his government.The two Birtle candidates were: George Malcolm for the Liberal party and Samuel Larcombe for the United Farmers of Manitoba. George Malcolm won the seat with 995 votes while Samuel Larcombe received 861 votes.

George Malcolm was a member of the Manitoba Grain Growers Exchange, he also served as a local school trustee and was secretary-treasurer of the Birtle Agricultural Society. He was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature as a Liberal at a by-election for Birtle on November 27, 1909, and was re-elected in 1911, 1914, 1915 and 1920. He entered the Norris cabinet as Minister of Agriculture in 1920–1922. In 1922, it was rumoured that he was to become Premier in a farmer’s government. Instead, he did not contest the 1922 election and never again served in public life.

He died at Brandon on August 18, 1930, and was buried in Blenheim cemetery southwest of Birtle.