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New sign honours the legacy of Manitoba’s Dufferin Gang, ahead of Remembrance Day

Click to play video: 'New sign honours the legacy of Manitoba’s Dufferin Gang, ahead of Remembrance Day'
New sign honours the legacy of Manitoba’s Dufferin Gang, ahead of Remembrance Day
WATCH: A new sign was put up in Selkirk in honour of nearly three dozen men and women from the Manitoba community who fought in the Second World War – Nov 10, 2023

Driving down Dufferin Avenue in Selkirk, Man., Lorraine Karandiuk often passes by the mural of her father and nearly three dozen other men and women who enlisted to fight in the Second World War.

It’s a mural that was set up in honour of the Dufferin Gang, a name given to the group of people from that one single street who joined the fight. Directly opposite sits a newly unveiled interpretive sign that commemorates the legacy of the group. It was unveiled on Friday, a day before Remembrance Day.

In a press release issued on Nov. 10, the City of Selkirk said the sign will the tell the story of the men and women who volunteered.

Karandiuk said she remembers her father, John V. Sinclair, as being a happy-go-lucky man, who raised her along with her 10 siblings.

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“When he came back from the war, he spent almost three years in the hospital in recovery …  he was still using canes when he (and my mom) got married,” Karandiuk said. “He worked at the Manitoba Rolling Mill, basically his whole life. He was down at Booth Fisheries for a while prior to going to the Rolling Mill. He lived his whole life in Selkirk and did really well with all of his children.”

Lorraine Karandiuk says her father, John V. Sinclair, was a happy-go-lucky man who spent three years in the hospital recovering after the Second World War. Randall Paull / Global News

She added that her father didn’t talk much about his experiences of war, choosing instead to keep a lot of it to himself. But he did talk about other people he knew from his time on the front lines and the places he went to in Europe.

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He was very proud of all his buddies, Karandiuk said, and remained in touch with some of them even after the war.

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“A few of them didn’t come back. But the majority of them did come back … I would say at least 90 per cent of them, they all stayed in touch with each other.”

Glen Laye is the son of one of the members of the Dufferin Gang. In Friday’s press release, he said that his father, Jack Laye, never talked about how the group was one of the largest from a single street to enlist in the war.

A newly unveiled sign honouring the Dufferin Gang was unveiled on Nov. 10, 2023. It sits on Dufferin Avenue, in Selkirk, Man., opposite a mural depicting the 31 men and women from the street who joined to fight in the Second World War. Randall Paull / Global News

Laye joined two other individuals hoping to erect a monument, an initiative that began in 2010 and which led to the repainting of the mural on Dufferin Avenue.

“I always said if they were looking down on us, they’d be saying, ‘What the hell is the fuss about,'” Laye said.

Selkirk mayor Larry Johannson said the story of the Dufferin Gang would carry throughout generations, courtesy of the new interpretive sign.

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“There will be residents and there will be non-residents that will come by this corner, and they’ll see the mural. They’ll stop to look at the historic street here and they’re going to read the signboard and they’re going to have that with them for the rest of their lives,” Johannson said. “It’s something that’s going to go on. Generation to generation.”

Speaking to Global News, he added the men and women were ordinary people who left everything behind not knowing what the outcome was going to be.

“They had the foresight. They wanted to keep Canada the best country in the world. They wanted to keep Manitoba the best province in the world,” Johannson said. “And I think in the back of their minds and in mine too, (keeping) Selkirk as the best place to live. I commend them for having the courage to go and fight in the war.”

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