The Streetcars of Winnipeg - Our Forgotten Heritage
Out of Sight - Out of Mind
About this Item
With all our modern conveniences, the days of horse-drawn carts and streetcars seem a world away. Yet, those who lived and shaped those distant days are still with us and willing to tell their tales. Only sixty years ago, Brian K. Darragh was still driving a streetcar: the very last in service. Now he recounts his experiences in The Streetcars of Winnipeg - Our Forgotten Heritage. Darragh uses a holistic approach to history, using the streetcar as the baseline for the progress of technology that reshaped Winnipeg and eventually left the streetcars – and their drivers – behind.
Full of fascinating photos, The Streetcars of Winnipeg - Our Forgotten Heritage, published through FriesenPress, recounts nearly 73 years of Winnipeg's history through the streetcar service. This focused perspective recreates a history of Canada's third-largest city at the turn of the century, through the Great Depression, and into the modern era. Winnipeg's history is rich and complex, but in the rush of progress, the foundations that enabled it to prosper have largely been forgotten. With the last of the streetcar drivers now into their nineties, Darragh offers the last first-hand account of the impact of the streetcar on over 150,000 citizens.
About the Author:
My parents immigrated from Northern Ireland to Winnipeg in the summer of 1927. I was born in November 1928. I was an only child. It was the start of the depression years and jobs were scarce. As a 4 year old I remember riding the streetcar downtown with my mother. If I behaved while she shopped at Eaton’s she would take me to the Woolworths store and buy me a 10 cent toy! By 1933 my father couldn’t obtain any kind of work in the city, so we moved to a vacant farm about 100 miles west of Winnipeg in the district of Keyes. My parents, city slickers, knew absolutely nothing about farming but we survived. I attended a one room school. One teacher taught all the subjects from grade one to 10. There were never more than 20 to 25 kids in the whole school. We had no radio for 3 years, no car for 7 years, no electricity for 16 , no telephone for 10 and never did have running water or plumbing. In 1954, I left the farm at the age of 25. I became employed by Winnipeg Transit for the next 38 years. The girl I had been dating also moved to Winnipeg and we were married in 1955. We have 2 married daughters, 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. I retired August 1st 1992 after 38 years driving streetcars, trolley buses, and diesel buses, was the last streetcar employee to retire. From badge 825 to badge 1.
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