For a biology professor in Winnipeg, an interest in history has become almost equivalent to a full-time passion.
Gordon Goldsborough (PhD) is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Manitoba, and president of the Manitoba Historical Society.
Away from the university he’s usually on the road to obscure places in the western province to record vestiges or ‘ghosts’ of the past. Either that or he’s in the archives somewhere trying to discover more about a once important or popular place, a place now abandoned and often in ruins or with mere vestiges left of what once was there.Listen
Manitoba like most Canadian provinces is huge, in this case bigger than all of France. As settlers moved in and development began, buildings and institutions sprang up across the province. But times and needs and culture change and places are left to the elements.
Goldsborough’s goal is to record such places with photos and GPS both as a permanent record of what was, and as a way for like minded historians and history buffs to locate them for themselves.
His work has been recorded in two books already with a third on the way.
He doesn’t merely record images of the place and the remnants but in his books delves into the history of the place, what it was, why it was where it is, and its fate.
He says many communities sprang up along rail lines, once the main, if not the only means of travel for any distance in the huge province. As road building took over it became easier to move about and many of the feeder rail lines become unprofitabale and were shut down and communities slowly died out.
Some places only existed until the resource ran out, or the major construction project completed or abandoned, while in other cases, there might be a sadder story of a failed enterprise or farm.
But with so many places to choose from, he said the places chosen for his books are the ones with more interesting stories about them.
His hobby has led to him becoming a popular public speaker with dozens of presentations every year and a weekly appearance on the public broadcaster CBC weekend morning show.
- Winnipeg Free Press: D. Speirs: Mar 6/20: Mapmaker for memories
- CBC: Oct 23/16: New book uncovers places left behind in Manitoba’s past
- McNally-Robinson Publishing: (books)Abandoned Manitoba; More Abandoned Manitoba
- RCI: Jan 19/14: Disappearing praire grain elevators
- Western Producer: J. Bachusky: Feb 7, 19: Bold vator mission comes to a close