Category: Winnipeg Mayors

Thomas Mayne Daly

Thomas Mayne Daly

Brandon’s First Mayor

by George Siamandas

Thomas Mayne Daly, Brandon’s first mayor and Canada’s first juvenile court judge. Daly was born on Aug 16 1852. He was born in Stratford August 16 1852 to Thomas Mayne Daly Sr who was Stratford’s mayor and federal MP for Perth. One of two sons, Daly was educated in Toronto becoming a lawyer in 1876. Daly moved to Brandon in 1881 at a time it was a pioneering community of 100. He became Brandon’s first lawyer later becoming a realtor, notary public and commissioner.

The first passenger train arrived in Brandon on Oct 11, 1881, and the city was incorporated May 30, 1882. Initially Brandon promoted itself as the Pearl of the Prairies, but subsequently became better known as the Wheat City. By 1882 the railway transformed Brandon, swelling the population to 3,000 people. Daly who had previous municipal experience in Stratford became mayor in 1882. Daly introduced a $150,000 borrowing bylaw that enabled Brandon to carry out a major public works including sidewalks, fire hall police station, a stream powered fire engine, a cemetery and aid to Brandon Hospital. He became a QC in 1890.

Daly entered federal politics in 1887 winning the Selkirk riding serving for the next 10 years. A strong supporter of western settlement, he established an experimental farm, several public buildings including the Brandon Post Office, and increased support to the immigration dept. In 1892 he became Canada’s first Minister for the interior, Immigration and Indian Affairs and thus the first Manitoba MP to sit on the federal cabinet. Daly was a strong advocate of immigration and trade and in 1893 initiated the North West Immigration Act. Daly moved to BC for a few years but returned to Manitoba in 1902 to reside in Winnipeg and practise law.


In 1904 he became police magistrate. And by 1911 he wrote the standard text “Canadian Criminal Behaviour.” Daly helped develop new attitudes towards young offenders, were young people received special treatment. He worked with various youth welfare organizations including Children’s Aid Society, Winnipeg General Hospital, the YMCA, the Salvation Army and local educational organizations.

In 1908 the federal govt passed the Juvenile Delinquents Act which had force till the 1984 Young Offenders Act. The 1908 act said no juvenile could be found guilty of a crime. Youth was “only a misdirected and misguided child needing encouragement, help and assistance.” In 1909 Daly became Canada’s first juvenile court judge. On the bench, he set an example of fairness and compassion. But his career was cut short.

Daly died suddenly of a kidney haemorrhage in 1911 at age 59. He received a civic funeral. Flags flew at half mast in Winnipeg and Brandon.

Major Charles Arkoll Boulton

Major Charles Arkoll Boulton
The Man Who Resisted Riel

by George Siamandas

He was born Sept 17, 1841 in Coburg Ontario. His father was a Lieut Col, and Charles followed his father’s footsteps into the military. He served at Malta, Gibraltar for the British. In 1869, at age 27, he came west as part of the Canadian Survey Party. The purpose of the Survey was to turn localities into townships for immediate settlement. Boulton’s association with Charles Schultz and the Survey Party put him in the immediate suspicion of the Metis who correctly feared the loss of their lands.

Boulton’s job became that of assembling and training a group of volunteers to help quell the resistance. He was working in the Portage District which had become the refuge of people trying to avoid the troubles at Red River. Boulton was there to help convince a Sioux Chief to remain loyal to the Queen.

A party of “liberators” decided to march to red River to earn the release of the prisoners being held by Riel. Boulton had tried to restrain “hot heads” like Thomas Scott and Charles Mair and had urged them not to go and in fact they discovered enroute that Riel planned to release them anyway. On Feb 17, 1870 Riel’s men captured the Portage Party and Riel decided to establish his authority by making an example of their leader Boulton by executing him the next day.

Boulton was arrested and put in leg chains at Fort Garry. He was questioned by Riel and Riel agreed to Boulton’s request to see Archdeacon McLean. McLean convinced Riel to give a 12 hour postponement. Riel used Boulton as a bargaining card for concessions from Donald A Smith. Previous to this the federal govt had ignored Riel’s demands to be taken seriously. Smith agreed to Riel’s request to have the English elect 12 delegates to meet Riel’s delegates at a general convention.

Riel’s men became reluctant to guard Boulton. His first guard went mad, while the second died on the job. Boulton later told the story that Riel had awakened him in the night glaring a lantern into his face. Riel asked Boulton to join his govt and be the leader of the English. To this Boulton asked for the release of all the prisoners. Boulton heard no more about it. Clergy and English settlers appealed for mercy and Boulton’s sentence was delayed another week and by March he was released. Riel held onto Thomas Scott who he subsequently executed. Boulton returned to Ontario and went into the lumber industry, married and began a family. When the lumber venture failed he decided to return to Manitoba.

In 1880 he returned as a settler in the Boulton Municipality and set up a log house. Boulton purchased land along the proposed railway route and moved closer to the settled area. The area became Russel and Boulton served as the area’s first reeve and operated a newspaper the Russel Chronicle. He also became active in many organizations and tried provincial and federal politics.

With the 1885 Rebellion Boulton went west with a group of farmer volunteers from the Birtle Russel district which became known as Boulton’s Scouts. His Scouts were active in the Battles of Fish Creek and Batoche. In 1886 Boulton hired a typist from Winnipeg who took down his thoughts which became a book: “Reminiscences of the North West Rebellions.”

Boulton had been a farmer, a military man, surveyor, businessman, politician, author and office holder. He began to seek federal patronage which was a long time coming. Finally in 1889 he was appointed a senator. Boulton was active in promoting railways, free trade and western settlement.

Historians suggest that Boulton lost his nerve when he was reluctant to go after Riel along with the Portage group. He was also disappointed at how little recognition he received for his efforts in Manitoba and from the federal govt. His financial achievements were also very modest and he struggled to maintain his large family of seven children. He died in 1899 after a brief cold at age 58.