Celebrating 100 years with three River Ridge residents
by Nick Curry
This past July, I was honoured to be among those gathered for birthday celebrations at River Ridge retirement residence. This occasion was different, though, as we were celebrating three residents turning100 in the same month – Nell Chipka, Patrick Ramsey and Ruby Joyce. The staff and these residents’ families had prepared a Mad Hatter-themed party with snacks and very creative decorations, and many wonderful and colorful hats could be seen in the crowd.
Something like this is so rarely seen these days that it drew the media to cover the event and interview each of the centennials. After singing Happy Birthday and serving some cake, I had the opportunity to sit down with each of them. We spoke about what life was like for them growing up in a different era, and about all the changes and progress that we as a province and country have made over the many years of their lives.
This conversation left me wondering what life was like100 years ago. What were the events that had shaped the life of each of these birthday celebrants? A century ago, Canadians fought and served in the First World War –a troubled time, but one that shaped how Manitoba and Canada was viewed on the world stage. Here in Manitoba, women had just been granted the right to vote in provincial elections, a right that is sacred to all Canadians.
Eleven years after the war came the Great Depression, when Manitoba families were hit hard by collapsing wheat prices and struggled to maintain their farms. During this period, a bushel of No. 1 Northern wheat went for as little as 29 cents, a 400-year low. The families of this era learned to work together and to give what they could spare, so they could grow as a community and as a province.
The events of the past 100 years have seen Manitobans build a reputation as friendly, resilient, hard-working people. These are people whom I have the great privilege to represent in the 41st Manitoba legislative assembly. Many of us look to what the future will hold for the next 100years and how people will think about us. I hope we will live up to the legacy we’ve received from our centenarians. Nic Curry is the MLA from Kildonan.