Take a Brandon Ghost Walking Tour
Brandon Sun, June
12, 2010 - David McConkey
Take a stroll along our city streets and become acquainted with some ghosts – spirits and memories of Brandon’s past.
Here is a three-kilometre walking tour of Brandon real-life dramas. (An extra Louise Avenue loop is an additional three kilometres.)
- Start at the corner of 10th Street and Rosser Avenue.
Firefighter Fred Brown lost his life battling the fire. He is the only Brandon firefighter ever to have been killed in the line of duty.
- Walk south on 10th to 333 10th Street.
Blake, one of thousands of orphaned British “home children,” had been sent to work in Manitoba when she was 10.
Blake was hanged on December 27, 1899.
- Walk south to Louise Avenue. If choosing the extra Louise Avenue loop, walk east 1.5 kilometres, into the park and almost to Franklin Street.
- Walk west on Louise Avenue to 11th and south to the 400-Block of 11th Street.
- Walk south to Victoria and east to 10th Street and Victoria Avenue.
More than 700 men were imprisoned. One man is known to have been shot and killed while trying to escape.
Stories from former prisoners, however, have been passed down the generations. These stories tell of seven men dying here – they were either killed or committed suicide.
Where the bodies are buried is not recorded officially, but there are rumours . . .
- Walk east on Victoria Avenue to Ninth Street and north to Brandon City Hall grounds.
- Walk north on Ninth Street to Princess Avenue, east to Seventh Street, north to Rosser Avenue, and west around the corner to the 700-Block of Rosser Avenue.
On January 17, 1916, the building, occupied by the clothing company Doig, Rankin & Robertson, was destroyed in a horrific fire.
Four clerks jumped to safety from the second floor.
Moments before the elevator crashed into the basement, five other staff were saved with the help of the elevator boy and the head dressmaker.
Four employees died: one man and three female dressmakers.
The former Eaton’s store at this location now houses the library and art gallery. There are staff reports of a ghost haunting the premises . . .
- Walk west on Rosser Avenue to Ninth Street and north to Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue.
A freight train here crashed into another train that had been clearing snow. Fourteen men died at the scene. Another five died later in hospital.
The Brandon snow train wreck is Canada’s ninth-worst train disaster.
- Walk west on Pacific Avenue to 10th Street and south to the starting point.
“Gossip” will take place Saturday evening, June 26, at 7:00 and 7:15; and Sunday afternoon, June 27, at 3:00 and 3:15. Reserve your $15 ticket from Kelly Lumbard, 724-2682. (Participation is limited.) Sponsored by Brockie Donovan Funeral Home, proceeds will be donated to Westman Hospice.
Our fascinating local history invites us to notice our city with fresh eyes, to visit a museum, or to listen to a reminiscing old-timer.
And to read books like:
Brandon: A City 1881-1961 (free download),
Every Stone a Story: Manitoba's Buried History, and
Walk Towards the Gallows: The Tragedy of Hilda Blake, Hanged 1899.
Join me in visiting more ghosts in the future.
* * * *See also:
Discovering Historic Downtown Brandon
Driving Tour of Brandon Finds Historic Places
Walking Tour of East End Brandon History
Historic Downtown Brandon Walking Tour
Manitoba History – A Citizen Appreciation
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- Obituary Guide
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Some Reviewed Books:
The War on Drugs:
A Failed Experiment
The Atheist Muslim:
A Journey from Religion to Reason
Stranger Than We Can Imagine:
An Alternative History of the 20th Century
Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now
Islam and the Future of Tolerance:
The Greatest Show on Earth:
The Evidence for Evolution