Author and historian, Gordon Goldsborough has launched his new book, 'More Abandoned Manitoba ~ Rivers, Rails and Ruins'.
Goldsborough is the Head Researcher for the Manitoba Historical Society.
He spoke to a full house at Boissevain's Sawmill Restaurant Monday evening, entertaining the crowd through story-telling about his many experiences to glean information on the various abandoned buildings across the province for this new read.
Goldborough says he shares the book by visiting the various communities for a number of reasons. "Many of the stories in this book resonate with people all over Manitoba. I've purposefully tried to cover most of the province with this book."
"So no matter where you live, there will be something in here for you; something that you recognize, something that your family is involved with, perhaps.
Sharing stories of how we got to where we are now, and to appreciate those that went before us and their experiences, is what he's hoping to inspire with the writing of his second 'Abandoned Manitoba'.
Goldsborough shared the history of the oldest elevator in, not only Manitoba but also in Canada, located just southwest of the Town of Melita back in 1897.
Killarney has a chapter in this second book with history on the three huge warehouses that are right beside the railway tracks. Goldsborough says he was here when they were built as he worked for the company that processed flax straw to make fibre for a high grade of paper. The warehouses stored the excess flax straw bales waiting for processing. The story of the change in Agriculture, and the growing of flax in this area is told in the book.
The story that didn't make it into this second book, but perhaps will hold a chapter in the 3rd edition of the book series, is that of the century-old Demonstration House.
Killarney's 1915 Demonstration Farm was one of the most elaborate in the province.
The restoration of the Demonstration House for the Killarney Arts Centre is a great example of bringing new life into a potentially abandoned building.
"What is says is that 'abandonment' is not a life-sentence. In other words you could envision a new life for a lot of these places and they could be re-purposed for something else."
"I think the people in Killarney are to be commended for first having the vision to see the potential; to take that building and to turn it into something useful as opposed to being a building that is just old and decrepit, falling down and is seen as an eye-sore."
"It's wonderful! It's really a good example that I hope others places around Manitoba will follow suit."
Goldsborough has been with the University of Manitoba for 22 years as Biology Professor and has been volunteering with the Historical Society of Manitoba for close to 20 years.
He has traveled thousands of miles across Manitoba and has seen the potential for many more stories. "I encourage people to share, because many of us have knowledge of many places that are around the province, places that have an important story to tell."
The grain elevators are the perfect example of this, says Goldsborough, as at one time there were over 700 grain elevators in Manitoba. Now there are less than 150.
"If you don't tell that story to anyone then it will probably just disappear with you some day. Share it for future generations to record about those things that are now long-gone.
"By sharing the stories we preserve that knowledge."