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Archival Collections: Food History in Canada Collections


The University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections has acquired a number of manuscript collections related to the study of this discipline. The collections and books represented on these pages were chosen for the value of their information about food history in Canada, particularly Manitoba. Some collections have direct and immediately apparent relevance while others are connected more peripherally to the history of food.

Archival Collections

  • Faculty of Agriculture fonds
    • The textual records include correspondence, budgets, minutes, annual reports, research proposals and results, course syllabi, papers, exams, and publicity and press releases for the School of Agriculture, the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and the Faculty's component department. This collection also includes records from the Manitoba Agricultural College before it became part of the University of Manitoba in 1924. The files of the Canadian International Development Association's work in Kenya and Zambia are also included. The photograph collection consists of over 2000 photographs, over 400 slides, and 16 packets of negatives that illustrate a number of activities involving the Manitoba Agricultural College and its predecessor, the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. The tape collection consists of four audio reels that detail the following topics: Manitoba Agricultural College History – Extension; the birth of 4H in Canada; the first Home Economics Programs; the organization of Women's Institutes in Manitoba; Dr. L.H. Shebeski; "The Challenge of Agriculture"; Dr. Baldur Stefanson on "The Rapeseed Story"; an example of an Agricultural Diploma oral examination; and Glen Dyck Morden onthe "Farm Business Planning Project."
  • Agricore United fonds
    • On July 30, 2001, Agricore announced that the boards of both United Grain Growers and Agricore Cooperative had unanimously agreed to a merger that would create a new company, Agricore United, which would be modeled after UGG's share structure. On November 1, 2001, the merger took place and Agricore, the last of the prairie cooperatives, ceased to exist. Since the merger, Agricore United became the largest agribusiness in western Canada dealing in grains, oilseeds, special crops, marketing, agri-products, agri-food processing, and feed manufacturing.
  • Co-operative Vegetable Oils Ltd. fonds
    • Co-operative Vegetable Oils Ltd. (CVO) was established in Altona, Manitoba in 1943. CVO was established largely because Second World War Canadian imports of edible vegetable oils (from Russia and Argentina) were noticeably reduced, creating a need for domestic production. To support the domestic industry, the federal government offered incentives such as price subsidies, transportation subsidies and facilities for processing the crop in Hamilton, Ontario. Although the 1943 crop was shipped to Hamilton, the high costs of long distance transportation of sunflowers - the principle oilseed crop - proved discouraging. Consequently, with a view to the future when these subsidies would be lifted, CVO chose a local processing plant. CVO’s list of achievements include: the development of Safflo oil as its first consumer product in 1949; the first oilseed crushing plant in Canada; the first company to process commercially sunflowers in North America; the first North American company to process pure sunflower-based cooking oil; and, a strong role in the development of canola as an "oilseed".
  • Elizabeth Feniak fonds
    • Elizabeth Feniak began teaching at the University of Manitoba in the Foods & Nutrition Department in 1951. She served as Head of the Department of Foods & Nutrition, Associate Dean of the School of Home Economics & Dean of the Faculty before her retirement in 1983. That same year she became chair of Canadian Home Economics Foundation, a position that she held until 2003.
  • Faculty of Human Ecology fonds
    • The present Faculty of Human Ecology traces its beginnings to a diploma in Household Sciences in 1910 at the Manitoba Agricultural College. The Diploma program became a degree in Home Economics in 1915.  In 1943, the Division of Home Economics became the School of Home Economics, but remained within the Faculty of Agriculture. In 1950, the School of Home Economics moved back into its original building following renovations, ending 26 years of residence in temporary buildings. The Departments of Food and Nutrition and Clothing and Textiles were created in 1967.
  • Keystone Agricultural Producers fonds*
    • Keystone Agricultural Producers is a democratically controlled farm lobby organization which represents and promotes the interests of agriculture and agricultural producers in Manitoba. It is a grassroots organization wholly run and funded by its members, with all policy set by producers throughout Manitoba. KAP has standing policies on a variety of issues including Safety Net Programs, Western Grain Marketing, Land and Resource Use, Taxation, Environment and Sustainability, Livestock Manure Management Strategy, Farm Labour, Health and Safety, Affiliations, Farm Inputs and Finance, Transportation, Government Services, Property Rights and Wildlife Resources and Trade. Policy is set by delegates and directors elected from individual and group members. Close to twenty committees, comprised of members and the President (ex officio), research a number of issues and report back to the executive and the General Council. Both the elected executive and management are responsible for implementing policy in the best interests of the members. Its mission is to be Manitoba's most effective, democratic policy voice, while promoting the social, physical and cultural well being of all agricultural producers.
  • Ogilvie Four Mills fonds
    • Ogilvie Four Mills was a flour milling company that operated in Canada since the 19th century that later consolidated with Five Roses Flour and bought control of Catelli stock in 1960.  Between 1966 and 1996, Ogilvie Mills sold, purchased, and amalgamated with companies such as General Bakeries Ltd., Beatrice Foods Inc., Delmar Chemicals, Laura Secord Candy Shops Ltd., Catelli-Habitant Inc., Gourmet Baker Inc., among many others. In 1968, John Labbatt Ltd. bought out the 96% outstanding shares and Ogilvie became a subsidiary of Labbatt. In 1993-1994, Archer Daniels-Midland Co. of Decatur, Illinois purchased Ogilvie Mills from John Labbatt Ltd. At the time, the annual sales had reached $275 million.
  • Manitoba Cattle Producers Association*
    • The Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (MCPA) was established by government legislation in 1978. It replaced the Manitoba Beef Growers Association which had operated for seven years as a unified voice for beef producers. At the time of its conception, the MCPA represented 15,000 beef and dairy cattle producers who marketed cattle in Manitoba. The association was formed to direct a new program of educational advertising and promotion, to conduct research into improvement of cattle production efficiency, and to provide market information to its members.
  • Manitoba Dairy & Poultry Co-operative Ltd.
    • The Manitoba Co-operative Dairies Ltd. (Manco) was incorporated in 1920 with its purchase of the Manitoba Creamery Company. In 1927, The Manitoba Co-operative Dairies merged with the Manitoba Poultry Marketing Association to form the Manitoba Dairy & Poultry Co-operative Ltd. Manco continued to acquire Manitoba creameries throughout the 1920s and 1930s and by 1940 had became one of Manitoba's largest producers of dairy products and distributors of poultry and eggs. In the 1950s, the Co-operative expanded their operations to include several cheese plants. By 1976, Manco's sales were almost $28,000,000 with net earnings of over $6,000,000. In 1982, the Co-op's name was changed back to Manitoba Co-operative Dairies and changed again in 1986 to Co-operative Dairies Ltd. In 1996, Manco became a subsidiary of Dairyworld Foods (Dairyland). 
  • Margaret Pugh fonds
    • Margaret Pugh attended the Manitoba Agricultural College through the late-1930s and received a degree in Home Economics in 1938. With these credentials, Margaret worked as a dietetic intern at hospitals in Toronto and Montreal. Her last tenure as an intern took place in Winnipeg at the Deer Lodge Veterans' Hospital. She began her career there as a member of the dietary staff. Eventually she worked her way up the scales of management and enjoyed the position of Assistant Dietary Supervisor. She reached the pinnacle of her career when she achieved the office of Director of Dietary Services. She remained at her post until her retirement in 1978. The collection includes textual records of Margaret's career at Deer Lodge Hospital. These records provide some insight into the administrative activities of the dietary department at the veteran's institution. In addition, Margaret's collection of cookbooks and recipes provide a comprehensive insight into gendered domestic consumption and advertising in the post-war period.
  • United Grain Growers Ltd. fonds
    • The precursor to the United Grain Growers was formed in 1901 in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, by a group of farmers who came together to discuss common problems related to grain farming. The "Grain Growers" concept spread quickly to Alberta and Manitoba and, in 1917, the movement amalgamated its commercial interests in the three Prairie Provinces to form United Grain Growers Ltd. The infrastructure of the company included grain elevators, terminals, and a farm supply network. UGG bought or built an extensive series of country elevators across the west from 1912 to the 1960s. Grain terminal facilities were also constructed and included facilities at Thunder Bay, New Westminster, and Vancouver. Through their elevator system, the UGG sold supplies such as coal, twine, chemicals, and fertilizer to their farm customers.
  • Winnipeg Tribune fonds
    • Newspaper clippings and photographs titled Flour (1946-1978), Food, Food and Food Prices (1941-1980), Food Poisoning (1964-1980)