Indie saying no indie

Depression Brandon, 1930

Rosser Avenue 1930 Heritage Brandon

Looking west down Rosser Avenue, 1930. photo: Heritage Brandon

The arrival of the thirties brought a curious coincidence of the trivial, the cultural, and the awful.

By midsummer of 1930 at least a dozen of Brandon’s vacant lots suddenly sported crowd-gathering attractions.

Miniature golf had burst upon the local scene. Known variously as ‘Tom Thumb Golf;’ ‘Pee-Wee Golf;’ and ‘Dilly-Dally Golf.’

A cultural attainment was the arrival of talking pictures.

On February 3, 1930, Mayor Harry Cater officiated at the opening of a refurbished Strand Theatre.

Radio service to the Wheat City had begun two years earlier, on December 12, 1928, when the signal of CKX was broadcast to those homes which had acquired one of the early receiving sets.

The initial program was a musical concert with local sopranos, baritones, and organists.

But overshadowing these diversions was the awful spectre of the Great Depression.


Brandon was located just far enough east to escape the worst of the ‘dust bowl’ which affected the southern farm belt from Melita to the Rockies.

Certainly there were grasshoppers in the city, and periodic dust storms, although area farmers almost always had something to harvest.

The immediate impact of the Depression was in the growing number of unemployed.

Reports from surrounding communities stated that the first influence of hard times became manifest when farmers released their hired men.

They began drifting into Brandon, where council organized make-work projects, many of them on improvements to sewer and water lines.

When one of these projects was completed, and the work force of seventy-five was dismissed, they were instrumental in forming an Unemployed Association.

City hall staff was instructed to conduct a registration of all single unemployed males who could establish a residency of six months or more.

The Ramsey Building on Pacific Avenue was opened to provide sleeping space.

Those who needed this accommodation were guaranteed two meals a day to be paid for by municipal vouchers at city restaurants.

By November of 1930, the grip of the Depression was tightening.

Besides those single males, council was responsible for full maintenance of eighty-one families.

While they were studying the financial consequences of these problems, they learned that a reduction of church support threatened the future of Brandon College.

There were also a mounting number of unpaid hospital bills that threatened the future of that vital institution.

Self-Help Measures
By the end of the year Brandon ratepayers were responding to this accumulation of bad news in what has become a traditional fashion – by rolling up their collective sleeves.

Supporters of Brandon College, led by their indefatigable president, Dr. J. R. C. Evans, launched repeated assaults on the business communities of Brandon and Winnipeg in an effort to find replacement dollars for those previously provided by the Baptist Church.

The staff of Brandon General Hospital provided the leadership which would enable them to maintain the community’s only health services, organizing raffles and whist drives.

There was no facet of social life which did not offer assistance to those in need.

The newly opened Oak Theatre, for example, offered Saturday-morning childrens’ entertainment all winter long.

The price of admission was one nickel and three potatoes, the latter for the benefit of the Citizens’ Welfare League.

As welfare costs rose, and as the aggregate of unpaid taxes mounted, every departmental budget in the civic service inevitably suffered some cutbacks.

For a six-week period late in the year the streetcars remained in the barn, with councillors not prepared to continue paying the regular deficits.

When service was resumed, the drivers were guaranteed only half-time employment.

– excerpt from The Wheat City A Pictorial History of Brandon by Fred McGuinness



Journey back to the time that streetcars ran the rails in the Wheat City.

Film maker Shaun Cameron ventures to retell the story of a long forgotten civic rail system in Brandon.

Proudly produced by MTS Television Stories from Home and S.G Cameron Media Inc.

Shaun Cameron
Director/ Producer


Pink Plant The Green Spot

We have House Plants and Tropicals!

We carry a wide variety of house plants to add life to any room and lush tropicals that bring an exotic touch to your home, yard or patio.
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Marlene LeFlar Lasting Image custom framing

Marlene Leflar, co-owner, Lasting image

Today, we offer these framing tips courtesy of Larson-Juhl.

Custom framing is an integral part of decorating a home or business.

In fact, when you buy quality custom framing, it is like purchasing furniture for your walls.

When selecting art and framing, your number one goal should be to find something you love.

Do not settle for art simply because it matches your colour scheme.

If the colours do coordinate, that’s OK, but it really shouldn’t match too well because you want it to stand out so it becomes a special accent in the room.


Riders Lasting Image custom framing

Give it a Fresh New Look!

This original painting looks so good with a new frame.

We stacked two different frames together to give this painting a dimensional look.

Love it!