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WALL OF FAME

The Wyatt Dowling/Wawanesa Walls of Fame, located at the Transcona Centennial Square, has been established as a means to posthumously honour those individuals who have been instrumental in the development, and economic success, education, recreation, spiritualism, political life, and volunteerism of Transcona. The Walls of Fame are a permanent tribute to the great individuals who partnered in Transcona’s success.

Inductees will receive name recognition on the Wyatt Dowling/Wawanesa Community Walls of Fame located at the Transcona Centennial Square at 135 Regent Avenue West. As well as names, photos and descriptions of their contributions on the Transcona BIZ and the Transcona Museum websites. 

To learn more about the Wyatt Dowling/Wawanesa Walls of Fame, please visit the Transcona BIZ website.  To view a year's inductees just click on the link below.

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2013 Inductees

2022 Inductees

2023 Inductees

2024 Inductees

2013 Inductees

Melvin Justus Given McMullen (Len Vintus), 1903-1999

A colour photo of Melvin Justus Given McMullen (Len Vintus).

Credit: Transcona Museum Archives

Category of Political Leader

 

Mel McMullen also know by his stage name “Len Vintus” was born on June 19, 1903 in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. In 1914 he arrived in Winnipeg with his parents Catherine (nee Bennett) and William A. McMullen.

 

He came to Transcona in 1931 when he was hired as Manager of the North American Lumber in Transcona. After which he then became very involved in the community. He served as President of the Board of Trade in Transcona, Chairman for the Historical Booklet Committee for Transcona’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations. He was elected as School Trustee in Transcona, a position he held for 6 years and later was elected as a Town Councillor, serving five terms in office. In 1950 Mel acted as a main organizer for Transcona’s 1950 Flood Relief effort. He chaired the Historical Booklet Committee for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. 

 

In 1997 he was awarded the Paul Harris Award from the Transcona Rotary Club for his long involvement in the Transcona community.

Mel was also active in other communities and groups; he co-founded the International Brotherhood of Magicians in 1922 which has become the largest magician organization in the world. He had been enthusiastic about magic from a young age. He performed with his partner “Jerry” on stage many times. He was the Manitoba Manager of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In 1958 Mel was appointed the Provincial Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce. He was hired as the Manager for the Manitoba Travel and Convention Association to promote Manitoba. He was well known as Mr. Manitoba due to his unfailing enthusiasm for the province, its heritage and resources.

Margaret Underhill

A black-and-white photo of Margaret Underhill.

Credit: "From Slate to Computer: in the Transcona –Springfield Area 1873-1983"

Category of Education

Miss Margaret Underhill was educated at Central School in Transcona before becoming a teacher herself. She taught in many different rural Manitoba schools, such as Swan River and Starbuck before returning to Transcona in 1927 and continued to educate youth for 36 years.

In 1956 she was appointed teaching Principal of Westview School. In 1957 she was transferred to the new Radisson Elementary school as the first female principal. In 1965, a year after she retired, she was honored as the namesake of the newly built Margaret Underhill Elementary now known as École Margaret Underhill.

A Bronze plaque in the school reads:

"NAMED IN HONOUR OF THE FIRST LADY PRINCIPAL TO BE APPOINTED IN TRANSCONA SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 39 AND DEDICATED TO HER AND OTHER LONG SERVICE LADY TEACHERS WHO GAVE A TOTAL OF 741 YEARS GUIDING AND TEACHING THE CHILDREN OF TRANSCONA."

Mary Sophie Andree (nee Chudzik), 1926-2012

A black-and-white photo of Mary Sophie Andree (nee Chudzik).

Credit: Transcona Museum Archives

Category of Education

 

Mary Andree was a school trustee in Transcona from 1962 to 2006. She served as chair of the Transcona-Springfield School Division on more than one occasion, and was elected to the successor River East Transcona School Division in 2002. In 2005; she supported the unsuccessful attempt to rename Wayoata Elementary School after Terry Fox.

Mary was very involved in St. Joseph the Worker, volunteered with many community groups, was a former storeowner and was recognized as the Woman of the Year in Canada and Chatelaine Manitoba Mother of the Year. Some of her additional accomplishments were Chairman of the Board (school board), Vice Chairman, Chairman Negotiations, Chairman of Child Guidance Clinic Advisory Council, recipient of the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award. She was a Girl Guide leader for 18 years and she earned the Long Service Award from the Girl Guide Association of Canada, for having served as a Brownie Leader / Brown Owl. She received Commemorative Medal for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. She volunteered in many community clubs. Mary Andree is the namesake of Mary Andree Way which is located in Transcona West.

Joesph Bere Blostein, 1888-1981

A black-and-white photo of Joseph Bere Blostein.

Credit: Transcona Museum Archives

Category of Business / Professional

 

Throughout virtually the whole of Transcona’s history, Joe Blostein’s name was synonymous with quality craftsmanship, superior service and unparalleled selection. Joe Blostein owned and operated Blostein’s Department store which later became Jo Blostein & Son Department store. Joe was a Master tailor after a six-year apprentice at a naval base in Russia. He came to Transcona in 1914 from Konstradt, Leningrad.

He was the first to offer hand-made to measure clothing in Transcona. During the Depression Era, the 1930s it's said he gave new shoes to children whose fathers had been laid-off from work. For many years he also conducted a ‘Suit Club’ intended for men employed at the local CN Shops. A small amount was paid toward the ‘Suit Club’ each pay period and, ultimately, the individual would be eligible for a new hand-made suit. A common Transcona slogan was “If you can’t find it anywhere, go to Blostein’s” and “If Blostein’s doesn’t have it, quit looking.”

As a Transcona resident and businessman, Joe Blostein witnessed the contributions of Transcona’s sons and daughters during the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean conflict. His Remembrance Week window displays were well known and won many awards and accolades including the Riedle Trophy.


He is the namesake of Blostein Bay.

Dr. Murdoch MacKay, 188(4-5?)-1962

A black-and-white photo of Dr. Murdoch MacKay.

Credit: Transcona 75th Anniversary Book

Category of Business / Professional

 

Dr. Murdoch MacKay was a well-known physician in Transcona, born in Cape Berton, Nova Scotia in 188(4-5?). He graduated from Manitoba Medical School in 1916 and married Ruby M. Gowland the following year. In 1916 (1917 by attestation papers) Dr. MacKay enlisted in the Canadian Medical Army Corp and was a Medical Officer overseas. He served in England and France and experienced the loss of so many young lives. After returning from the war, in December 1919, he purchased the medical practice of D. V. S. Winkler in Transcona. During the Depression he allowed the municipality of Springfield-Oakbank to pay him in wood. Dr. Murdoch MacKay later became the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party. In 1927 he was elected to the Provincial Legislature as a Liberal.

 

During WWII he had to give medical exams to future soldiers. This was a very difficult task for the doctor, as he knew first hand the horrors of war. 

Dr. MacKay’s wife noted, “Sometimes he wouldn’t sleep all night when he knew some of the beautiful babies he had brought into the world were asking him to decide whether or not they could go to war.” The doctor always welcomed home returning soldiers and was often known to celebrate with them by having a drink and toasting to their return from a hidden bottle in his office.

Dr. MacKay was an active member of Memorial United Church, the Transcona Legion, the Knights Pythias, Transcona Lodge 123, the Shriners, and the Transcona Curling Club. He was also president of the Transcona Board of Trade. He continued his medical practice until illness forced his retirement in December 1953.


He is the namesake of Murdoch MacKay Collegiate Institute.

Albert Edward (Ed) Golding

A black-and-white photo of Albert Edward (Ed) Golding.

Credit: Transcona Museum Archives

Category of Sports / Recreation

 

Born in Brandon, Manitoba Ed came to Transcona in the early 1930s. He worked at the CN Shops, the East End CC, and lastly the City of Winnipeg as manager of Roland Michener Arena.

Ed Golding has been credited as the motivating force behind the formation of the East End Community Club. From the first clubhouse of a railway boxcar, Ed believed that the club would provide a diversion and healthy recreation for the children and young folks. It is said that he ripped the siding off of his own home to better insulate the railway car first used as the club. He served as the president of the East End Community for 20 years. His motto was “ If it is good for the kids, then the East End will back it”. He was praised by fellow community members for being a great leader and supplying a limitless fund of spirit, determination, enthusiasm, courage, and vision. It was said that “Ed had a heart of gold when it came to the kids… He had his heart and soul in the community club."

Ed passed away in 1978. In the fall of 1994, Ed Golding Memorial Arena was designated. He is also the namesake of Ed Golding Bay.

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2022 Inductees

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Jean Delorme, 1940-2013

A colour photo of Jean Delorme.

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Volunteerism

 

Jean Delorme was a strong supporter of the Transcona community in which she grew up in.  She was an active volunteer in the community  for over 30 years and was involved in the Hi Neighbour Festival for over 20 years, including organizing the Miss Transcona Pageant.

 

Jean acted as a judge, sponsor, and make-up artist for the Miss Transcona Pageant before taking over to run the pageant for 20 years. During her time with the pageant, she was able  to grow the number of contestants participating, organizing events in the community to include local businesses, and making the pageant a  2-week event.

 

In 2012, she helped plan the celebrations surrounding Transcona’s 100th Anniversary, including organizing a reunion of the past Miss Transcona Pageant Winners.

In 2009, Jean spearheaded the return and restoration of the Hi Neighbour Sam mascot to its current location in the center median on Regent Avenue in Transcona.  Hi Neighbour Sam continues to welcome visitors to Transcona every day.

 

Jean served on many community committees and board of directors over the years, from Treasurer of the Transcona BIZ, to the Transcona Historical Museum Board and the Playground Renewal Association.  She was a member of the Transcona Legion.

 

Jean received many awards and accomplishments including the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award (2012), Mayor’s BIZ Award (2006), Manitoba Council on Aging Recognition Award (2010) and Hi Neighbour Sam Gold Pendant (1983) for her work with the Hi Neighbour Festival.

Alex Taylor,  1899 – 1961

A black-and-white photo of Alex Taylor.

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Community Development

Alex Taylor came to Transcona from Ireland in 1923 with his wife Mary and their son, Alex Jr. He began his early working years in the local C.N.R Boiler Shop before he moved on to the Public Works Department for the Town of Transcona.

 

In 1930 he transferred to the police force, and became Chief of Police in 1944, retiring in 1953.  From 1954 until 1961, he was Justice of the Peace in Transcona.

 

His role in the community included Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Weed Inspector, Health Officer, Building Inspector, License Inspector and Welfare Officer.  This led to Alex being fondly referred to as just “The Chief”.

Over the years, Alex became known for being available to the community at all times of the day and night.  Alex was often the first point of contact for anyone that was new to the Transcona area when they were looking for housing or other needs. He was also known for using his own personal finances to help someone down on their luck.  

Alex worked with neighbourhood groups to reduce juvenile delinquency and was instrumental in the creation of the East End Community Club.  This initiative helped lower the cases of mischief in the area.  Alex Taylor’s legacy includes his devotion to the community, and his kindly ways towards those in trouble. 

Michael Zawaly,  1914 – 1995

A black-and-white photo of Michael Zawaly.

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Sports / Recreation

 

Michael (Mike) Zawaly, registered as the 33rd birth in Transcona, was born in his family home in 1914 right here in Transcona.  Even from a young age, he showed true promise in sports with a focus on baseball, specifically developing a skill for pitching.  

 

Mike joined the Greater Winnipeg Senior Baseball league as the pitcher for the Transcona team.  Known as the “The Big Brown Bomber” (Transcona News), Mike helped the team winning many games including the championships in 1938 and 1939.   Mike went on to play with the Winnipeg Maroons in the Northern Baseball League.  During the Great Depression and the Second World War, baseball was a great sense of entertainment and pride for the Transcona Community.   

In the 1940’s Mike established an electrical contracting company that provided many Transcona homes with electricity for the first time.  In the 1950’s, he became Transcona’s Electrical Inspector ensuring the continued growth of the business sector in Transcona.  Mike also worked for the Canadian National Railway and was elected as the Chairmen of Local 142 of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Transport and General Workers for many years.  

 

Mike served as a member of the Transcona Residents Advisory Group that provided councillors with grassroots insight into issues that impacted the Transcona Community. In December 1975, Mike was presented with a City of Winnipeg’s Appreciation Award for services rendered and selfless dedication by voluntarily contributing to improving the community.  

2023 Inductees

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William Alexander Blaikie, 1951-2022

William Blakie Photo FOR WEBSITE.png

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Political Life

 

William (Bill) Alexander Blaikie was born and raised in Transcona, where he continued to live and raise his family in the community.

 

Bill served as a member of Parliament from 1979 to 2008, representing Elmwood-Transcona and its former ridings in the House of Commons. Following his retirement from federal politics, he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 2009 until 2011, during which time he served as Minister of Conservation.

 

Bill was a tireless advocate throughout his political life for the people of Transcona. He worked with all levels of government to bring resources and improvements to the community - many initiatives that continue to have an impact on the community today. He played a role in the creation of the Transcona bio-reserve, as well as advocating for the preservation of the local 2747 locomotive on Plessis Avenue. He was actively involved in the early initiatives to save the Scout Hall and maintained a relationship with the Transcona scouting community.

 

Bill helped advocate for the conversion of Maple Leaf Community Club to be the Transcona Seniors Centre, improve healthcare for the community at large, maintain and enhance work opportunities particularly at the CNR yards, even going so far one time to fight to ensure that a “food desert” did not occur in the West End of Transcona by organizing a rally to save a grocery store at Regent Park Shopping Centre. Bill was also involved in the Legion apartment building on Victoria Avenue, again with the goal of caring and providing for seniors in our community.

 

He also worked with thousands of constituents of Transcona over the years to try and resolve problems they were having, big or small. He was also successful in advocating for veterans, working with local Hong Kong veterans and Dieppe veterans for the recognition they so richly deserved.

 

Bill has received many awards and acknowledgments during his life, most notably he was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2020 for his lifelong contributions to parliamentary service and for his steadfast commitment to progressive change and social activism.

George Lawrence,  1922 – 2011

George Lawrence Photo FOR WEBSITE.jpg

Credit: Photo submitted by friends.

Category of Volunteerism

Born at Airdrie, Scotland in 1922, George’s younger years were spent at Rothesay. In 1939, he enlisted with the British Army and served in Europe, Middle East, and Britain. He was married in 1948 and three years later George emigrated to Transcona. His wife, Betty and their two infant daughters, joined him in 1952.


George had learned to play the bagpipes as a boy in Scotland and it would become his vocation in life to teach countless other young
people how to play them. He played for many years with the 402 Air Force Squadron Pipes and Drums. His signature contribution was,
however to the life of the Scottish community in Transcona, in his role as Pipe Major and instructor for the Transcona and District Pipe Band, a band for youth 18 years of age and under.


In 1967, George began as the Pipe Major and instructor for the junior band in what would become known as “The City of Transcona Pipe Band” in 1968, following approval from the Transcona City Council. Under his leadership the band and its players won many awards, in Canada and Scotland, until he left in 1973.


In 1984, George was still teaching students in his home when he decided to re-start the Transcona Pipe Band. This time, the new Band would now be called Transcona and District Pipe Band as it would encompass a larger area and they would wear the Ancient Gunn tartan. Besides teaching bag pipes, George was instrumental instilling dedication to “dress and deportment” and “loyalty” and “respect” in his students. George felt this mattered just as much
as learning to play the bag pipes. His love of teaching was strong, and he continued until May 2011.


George received many awards and honours for his military service, his community service promoting Scottish Culture, and dedication to volunteerism including the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation Medal (1992) and Queens Diamond Jubilee Award (2012).

Paul Martin,  1920 – 2016

Paul Martin Photo FOR WEBSITE.png

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Political Life

 

Paul Martin was a tireless champion of the East Winnipeg neighbourhood where he was born and raised. He raised his family, lived, and worked in Transcona and dedicated his life to his neighbours and community.

 

Paul served in Canada’s military and was a veteran of the Second World War. He would go on to spend more than 40 years guest speaking at schools leading up to Remembrance Day. He took great pride in helping people remember those who made sacrifices so that Canadians could enjoy the life they have now.

 

Over the years, Paul took on the challenge of helping his neighbours build a vibrant Transcona. He served as a school trustee, councillor and finally mayor of Transcona. He also played a significant role in 1967 founding the Transcona Historical Museum, including serving as president of the museum board alongside a group of interested citizens from the community that he gathered to oversee its operations.

 

Paul served as a Deacon at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, as well as the chaplain at the Transcona Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 7. He was also an executive member for the Legion for 20 years.

 

Paul was dedicated to his community and many local community groups including as a volunteer chairperson for the public library, a volunteer at Park Manor Nursing Home as well as for the Winnipeg Police Services as a crime counselor. A little-known fact, Paul also helped develop the popular Crocus Hill toboggan slide using soil removed during the Transcona Street paving program that is still enjoyed today by families living in the area.

 

Paul received many awards for his volunteer efforts including from the Rotary International and the Royal Canadian Legion. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (2006) as well as he was honoured for his help in liberating Europe, with France awarding him with the “Legion of Honour”, the country’s highest foreign medal (2015). Paul also has a street named after him and a 92- unit affordable housing unit for seniors and families called Sir Paul Martin Estates in Transcona. He won the title of the “Greatest Transconian” from the Transcona Historical Museum (2005).

John Jacob Neufeld,  1942 – 2022

John Photo FOR WEBSITE.png

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Volunteerism

 

John grew up in Grunthal, Manitoba, and four years into his marriage to Doris, he moved to Transcona to raise his family. From a young age, he developed a strong sense of community, hard work, love of music, team sports and charity. He embraced his new Transcona community by volunteering.

 

John was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus baseball league, which he operated for over 30 years. He played an integral role in the acceptance of female athletes in the league during that time. John's guiding principles were sportsmanship, patience, and creating a welcoming environment. For a $20 bill, a child could play ball, get a jersey and a cap, receive a medal, and have a hotdog. Competition was secondary. Fellowship and sportsmanship were the priorities.

 

John ran the baseball program for so long that some of the children he registered, coached and umpired would return to the league years later as coaches themselves, with their children equally benefitting from John's guidance and patience. John's volunteering did not stop with baseball. He coached soccer, hockey and led cub scouts too. He was a dedicated volunteer at the Oxford Heights Community Club, where he helped flood the rink and warmed little toes.

 

As a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament, where his woodwork still adorns the church, he served pancakes and taught catechism. In the winter, Roland Michener Arena buzzed during hockey tournaments that he helped organize. He was also busy with the Knights of Columbus Christmas Hamper Program, which brought toys and Christmas goodies to families in need. John's work within the community endeared him to many and created lasting friendships.

 

John received the Knights of Columbus’ Knight of the Year honour in 1984-85 and the City of Winnipeg honoured him by naming a street after him in 2011, however, if he could, he would tell you that his biggest reward was seeing a smile on a child's face while on the field or the ice.

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2024 Inductees

Hélène Blais, 1917 – 2012

Helene Blais FOR WEBSITE.jpg

Credit: Photo submitted by the family.

Category of Education

 

Hélène Blais was instrumental in the music education of many, many children in Transcona from 1939 until 1983. She started teaching in her family house at 315 Victoria Ave East and in 1955, she opened and operated her own music studio, Hélène Blais Music Studios at 306 Day.

In 1967, as part of the Transcona Centennial celebrations, she was assigned the role of coordinating a Music Festival for Transcona Schools. This was an important step in taking music programs beyond the elementary classroom and to encourage the establishment of high school programs still thriving today. 

She taught junior and senior rhythm bands, taking first place at the Winnipeg Kiwanis Music Festivals.  She was the church organist at Notre Dame de L’Assumption Parish on Leola Street, and later in life, enjoyed entertaining other residents at her “Senior Citizens’ Complex”. 

Ms. Blais finished her career in Transcona, teaching at a private studio at 112 Regent Avenue East from 1977-1983.  She established the Hélène Blais Music Scholarship with Conservatory Canada, so that she could continue to share the gift of music after her passing. That scholarship still exists.

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