WINNIPEG — When you think of mountains, Manitoba really isn’t the first place that comes to mind.
But our city has a rich history when it comes to mountaineering – as the founding location of the Alpine Club of Canada back in 1906.
It may not make sense geographically but it does historically.
“There was a fellow named Andrew Wheeler who was in Calgary at the time and he was a land surveyor,” said Peter Muir, past president of the ACC.
“So you know what he was doing surveying Western Canada and was trying to start an Alpine Club in Canada to “Canadianize” the Rockies because they were developed by Americans and the British for the most part.”
But that was no easy task.
It was eventually suggested that Canada join the American Alpine Club.
Mr. Wheeler tried to garner support and sent out letters across Canada.
But one local reporter took exception.
“She got in touch with the CPR and they brought a whole bunch of people from Western Canada to Winnipeg to the old Birks building,” notes Muir. “They had a big meeting in 1906, and they formed the Alpine Club of Canada and Mr. Wheeler became the president and was president for ten years.”
Now there are chapters in every province.
And the plaque still remains in downtown Winnipeg commemorating the formation of the club.
A group that began, right here on the prairies.