top of page

50 in 50: #31-35

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Welcome to the July edition of our 50 in 50 blog series, where we highlight 5 different artifacts from the Transcona Museum's collections every month. There will be a total of 50 artifacts discussed by the time we reach our last post in October 2018. This series is done in commemoration of our 50th Opening Anniversary of the Transcona Museum. This month we are highlighting artifacts that are "permanently" on display. Some items are on permanent display due to space issues, lack of storage or regulations.


Pump Organ

Organ at Transcona Museum

According to our records, this pump organ was used at St. Francis Roman Catholic Church once located on Dugald Road. The organ was apparently used in the church from 1933-1993 when it closed. The final mass was held on June 28th, 1993 and was lead by Father L. Baert. The first organist at the church was Mrs. Thomas Lonergan, sister to Father Roland and Bernand Belanger. The last organist was Mrs. Marguerrte Deserranno (nee Johnson).

The organ was manufactured by the W. Doherty Piano and Organ Co. Ltd., or the W. Doherty Piano Co., or Doherty Pianos LTD ( the company changed names over the years, as we don't have a firm manufacture date on the organ, so we are going to list them all) in Clinton, Ontario. The company was started by William Doherty and later run by Sherlock and Manning, who were former employees of Doherty.

The organ is kept on permanent display because we do not have suitable storage space for the organ and we don't have an elevator, so any attempts to move the organ could result in damage.



Above: Slide show of plough on display over the years at the Transcona Museum.

This plough was made by a blacksmith for a Ukrainian farmer in Transcona to reproduce the type of plough used in Ukraine. Remarkably, the plough was reconstructed from memory. One wheel is larger than the other. The large wheel would go in the furrow that was just completed - which was deeper than the untilled soil - keeping the furrows straight and evenly spaced. This plough was used for 20 years to cultivate a 45-acre farm in North Transcona. It was one of the first artifacts donated to the Transcona Museum by the Balaban Family.

The plough is kept on permanent display because we do not have suitable storage space for the plough and we don't have an elevator so any attempts to move the plough could result in damage.


RCMP Uniform, Full Dress

RCMP uniform at Transcona Museum
Detail of badges on sleeve of RCMP uniform

This uniform was worn by Ken Cherwinski who was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). He grew up in Transcona and was very proud of his hometown. When he retired, he donated his uniform to the Transcona Historical Museum. The uniform consists of 14 parts: Boots, Breeches, Cross-Stay for the belt, Sam Browne, Gloves, Hat, Label, Lanyard, Spurs, Tunic, Collar Badges, Shoulder Badges, and Shoulder Flash. The shoulder flashes indicate that Mr. Cherwinski earned the rank of a Corporal. He served at least 10 years (due to the two-star badges) and earned the sharpshooter badges: both the Cross Pistol Crown badge and the Cross Rifle Badge. The sharpshooter badges are earned based on scores during firearm tests.

The RCMP uniform is required to be on permanent display as a condition of the donation set by the RCMP.

#34-TH69.106 & TH70.104

HMCS Transcona Ships Wheel & Replica Bell (Bonus)

HMCS Wheel and Replica bell at Transcona Museum

The large ship's wheel is from the HMCS Transcona. It is on display along with a replica bell from the same ship. The ship was designed as a minesweeper during World War II but was instead assigned to escort duties. She joined the Western Escort Force and provided protection to convoys sailing between Halifax and New York, Halifax and Boston, and Halifax and the Western Ocean Meeting Point off Newfoundland. She would also be involved with shorter escorts around Halifax.

During her more than two years of sailing the HMCS Transcona had only one definite encounter with the enemy. On Christmas Eve 1944 the Transcona along with the Kirkland Lake and the Clayoquot was carrying out an anti-submarine sweep outside Halifax before the departure of a convoy. They were about to begin escorting the convoy when a torpedo struck the Clayoquot. The Transcona headed toward the Clayoquot to take off survivors when they were told of the submarine being spotted. They left floats for the Clayoquot and went in search of the sub. Many ships took part in a large search for the sub however it was never located. Even though the HMCS Transcona had only one encounter with the enemy it will never be known how often her presence next to a convoy prevented it from being attacked.

After the war, the ship was turned over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police where she was renamed the RCMPS French. She would serve with the police force from 1945 until 1960.

In the late 1960s, there was a campaign to have the bell from the HMCS Transcona returned to the city of Transcona and placed in Transcona’s new museum as well. However, the RCMP who had possession of the bell did not want to give it away, as they had the bells from all of their maritime patrol ships. Transcona’s City Council encouraged the community to write letters to all levels of government, including the Prime Minister asking for the bell’s return. Even with the letter campaign, the RCMP refused to give Transcona the bell; instead, the ship’s wheel and a replica of the bell were given to the city. The original bell was held in the collection of the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan and later transferred to the Naval Museums of Manitoba.

The ship's wheel is kept on permanent display because we do not have suitable storage space for the wheel. The replica bell is kept on display as long as the wheel is on display.


Assistant Foreman's Desk

Assistant Foreman's Desk

This desk, custom-built at the shops, was used by the assistant foreman in the Motive Power Department at the Transcona CN Shops. At the desk the assistant foreman would process work orders, record details of tasks performed and note staff attendance. It functioned as the assistant foreman's office and is designed to be used while standing rather than sitting. It has nails on the side, on which the assistant hung clipboards, work smocks and keys while at work in the daytime. There are also 1961 snow reports written on the left side. The desk is on display in the front gallery, as well it holds some of our promotional information.

The desk is kept on permanent display because we do not have suitable storage space for the desk.

At times it can be challenging trying to work all of these objects into the display themes year after year.

Come back in August for objects #36-40.



Hayes, Florence. "Doherty Pianos Ltd." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed July 19, 2018.

Transcona Museum Exhibition Inventory

Transcona Museum Collection


bottom of page