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Jim Uhlman – Pilot

Making Aviation History

First Arctic Coast flight made by Lac du Bonnet man

Provided By Marc Zienkiewicz (Spring 2009 – Experience Lac du Bonnet)

Lac du Bonnet certainly has a colourful history when it comes to aviation, being the site of the first airmail delivery flight in Canada, not to mention many other things. But not many know that one of Lac du Bonnet’s very own residents helmed the first Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flight to the Arctic coast.

According to air force documents provided by area historian Gord Emberley, the late Jim Uhlman of Lac du Bonnet made the flight in 1930 at the request of Canada’s Civil Government Air Operations (CGAO), a civil service division of the RCAF. “This has never before been printed,” Emberley said. “It really is a fascinating piece of Lac du Bonnet history, in light of 2009 being the 100th anniversary of aviation.” Indeed, this year does represent a century of Canadian aviation.

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Paul Piel Dow – Inventor

Paul Piel Dow was born and educated in Gibson, New Brunswick. He became a highly skilled telegrapher though he had no formal training in the electrical or radio field.

In 1928-29, while working with the late James A Richardson of Winnipeg, he pioneered the use of short-wave radio for intercity communication to provide up-to-date grain and stock market reports. At the same time Dow pioneered and organized the first cross-Canada commercial radio communications network, first integratingthe broadcasting facilities of short-wave radio stations CJRW of Fleming, Saskatchewan, with CJRX of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He further established a powerful commercial radio station in south Winnipeg where, by connected telephone land lines, American programs were relayed to CJRX for world-wide redistribution.

Dow also pioneered the installation of his radios in the aircraft of Wings Ltd., a commercial airline in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba.

During the early 1940’s Dow manufactured telegraph speed keys in his Winnipeg home and by 1945 had invented and patented the “Dow Universal” (rotary model) key and co-axial relay. This relay came to be used in radio and electronic equipment and was distributed worldwide.

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Sgt. R. H. Nicholson – R.C.M.P.

IN MEMORY OF SGT. R. H. NICHOLSON (RCMP)R.C.M.P. Annual Report, 1928 (excerpt) “On December 31, 1928, Sgt. R. H. Nicholson, in charge of the Lac du Bonnet detachment, was shot and mortally wounded while raiding an illicit still, thereby adding one more to the list of members of the Force who have fallen in the discharge of duty.

In the company of the Manitoba Provincial Police, he visited the farm of the suspect and came upon a still in the bush, about a mile and a half from the house. The two approached it from different sides, Sgt. Nicholson arriving first and found the still in full operation. A rifle was nearby, standing against a tree and both the suspect and Nicholson seem to have rushed for it simultaneously.

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JOHN DUNCAN McARTHUR July 25, 1854 – January 10, 1927

Entrepreneur: John Duncan McArthur was born on the family farm in Lancaster, Glengarry County, Canada West,(Ontario after 1867), where he grew up, was educated and married Mary McIntosh. At age 25 he came west and around 1880 was cutting logs in, what is today, the Riding Mountain National Park for his sawmill near Birtle, Manitoba, on the Birdtail River. He worked repairing the rail line of the Pembina branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and gained further experience working on other railways in western Canada. By 1889 he received his own contract to build the Red River Valley Railway from Emerson to Winnipeg.

On February 24, 1898, The Lac du Bonnet Mining, Developing and Manufacturing Co. was incorporated and had commenced harvesting the local resources. In 1901 McArthur purchased the company and its holdings of 810 hectares (2,000 acres) of land and a brick manufacturing plant. He built a sawmill just north of what is now the Town of Lac du Bonnet and, in the following year, opened a logging camp near Old Pinawa.

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WALTER WARDROP SR. April 12, 1854 – 1942

Entrepreneur: Walter Wardrop Sr. was born on August 27, 1854 in Paris, Ontario, the son of John Wardrop, a Cotton (hand loom) weaver and wife Janet Barr. His mother died when he was three weeks old and he was raised by his grandmother, Mary Wardrop, in Port Elgin, Ontario. On March 3rd, 1877, he married Sarah Jane McCleod. Walter came west to Manitoba between 1882 – 83 and later was followed by his wife and their children. First employed by the Dan Mann Tie Company of Whitemouth, he later joined the D.A. Ross Company staff as a “Bush Foreman”. This involved “stream driving”, when the cut logs were floated down the Winnipeg River in the spring log drive to the sawmill. As a show of confidence to other company workers, Walter was the first to volunteer to be vaccinated by Dr. Charlotte Ross (the first woman doctor in Manitoba) with the newly developed Small Pox Vaccine.

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ALEX McINTOSH September 04, 1889 – February 18, 1982

Entrepreneur: Alex McIntosh was born on a farm in Lancaster Township, Glengarry County, Ontario, the son of Scottish immigrants who had arrived in Canada in 1832. He was raised on the family farm and at 18 years of age came to western Canada on the “Harvest Excursion” of 1907-08 and, for that winter, worked in Transcona, Manitoba. For the next four years McIntosh worked in the Caribou District of British Columbia for a lumber and navigation company and for three more years for the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway where his uncle, J.D.McArthur, had contracts to build the railways. He then joined the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP), was stationed in the Peace River country and, during WWI, served overseas with the RNWMP. On his return to Canada he homesteaded at Rio Grand in the Grand Prairie region of Alberta .

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Dr. W. J. Wood – Doctor

Few people became ill in those days; they simply didn’t dare to. With no resident doctor, dentist or nurse anyone who took sick had to wait at least an hour for Dr. W. J. Wood from Lac du Bonnet.

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