I've lived in Winnipeg all my life, and like all of us, I've come across a few of Foote's photos in random places around the city such as the Forks, Union Station, and the Hotel Fort Garry.
I became involved in 2008 in the restoration of Streetcar 356, and also in the history of Winnipeg's streetcars. I knew about Foote's famous 1919 streetcar strike photo and started wondering how many other pictures might be available at the Manitoba Archives and the history of the man himself.
I made a trip to the archives in early 2010 for streetcar research and I made sure to spend some time going through the Foote collection. However, once I started going through his photos, I realized I needed a couple of days to go through them all. The ones on display in public places were clearly just a very small sample of the quality and quantity of his work. I was amazed and intrigued.
This photograph leaped out at me, with the gleaming streetlights shining on the streetcar railtracks and no cars or people around. This was when Memorial Boulevard was called "the mall," and the Winnipeg Art Gallery was in the distant future. Streetcar wires are visible above the tracks, the Bay with its window awnings retracted on the left, there's a small island in the middle, and a house is on the far right.
I'm sure the streetcar rails are still under the pavement waiting to be uncovered again.
Foote must have planned this and waited for the perfect night to get this photo, and I would love to know what time this was actually taken, maybe 2 or 3am?
- Steven Stothers
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Steven Stothers is a sales director for a local software company. He is a life-long Winnipegger with a passion for the history of the city. Steven is co-chair of the restoration of Streetcar 356 project with Heritage Winnipeg, a photographer, and self-published a book in 2005, Somewhere in France, the Letters of John Cannon Stothers.