Winnipeg was Canada's first important city in the west and was the supply point for other prairie cities like Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, and even far-off Vancouver. It exploded from a village of 2700 people in 1877 to a fully modern metropolis of 100,000 in just thirty years and by then had a university, newspapers, publishing firms, a major theatre, and a vibrant mass of immigrants who flooded in to open up the West. Growing Winnipeg was served with paddle-wheelers on the Red River, Red River ox carts, a Canadian-owned railway to St Paul, Minnesota, and finally the CPR linking Montreal with the west coast. A Winnipeg Album is a pictorial impression of Winnipeg's colourful, dramatic, and relatively brief history, compiled and with commentary by John David Hamilton and Bonnie Dickie. Over one hundred stunning black-and-white photographs record the early days of the city and trace some of the dramatic events that made Winnipeg 'Canada's Chicago'.
John David Hamilton is an award-winning journalist, author, and broadcaster who now lives near Lake Simcoe, north of Toronto. His grandfather was a pioneer cattle dealer who first visited Winnipeg at the start of the railroad boom in 1881. His father was a homesteader on the virgin prairie. He himself was conceived on a bush cattle ranch in Manitoba and spent his early years in remote settlements with his mother who was a frontier school teacher. He started on the Winnipeg Free Press and later was a foreign correspondent in New York, documentary maker for the CBC, and author of the comprehensive social and political history of the Northwest Territories, Arctic Revolution, also published by Dundurn Press. Bonnie Dickie, a native of Alberta, has lived in Winnipeg for twelve years. Prior to her arrival in the windy city she worked in Australia and the Northwest Territories as a teacher and CBC radio announcer. She is an award-winning film and video director whose films have taken her to China, Spain, and most recently Africa. She has won a Gemini Award for her documentary on China and is currently working on a project for the National Film Board of Canada.