BU welcomes Doors Open Brandon tours

Brandon University campus

Brandon University will open its doors again this weekend for the annual Doors Open Brandon tours.

The university’s historic Clark Hall will be open for visitors from 1–5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, with BU staff on site to show of areas in interest, including the former chapel (now a meeting room) and the Bell tower that overlooks the city.

Visitors are also welcome to tour the campus grounds and will be provided with a walking tour booklet that provides some context around the varied architectural styles and history of the many buildings and areas that make up campus.

Items of note include the new Healing Together sculpture honouring Reconciliation, unmissable at the corner of 20th Street and Louise Avenue, as well as the Turtle Fire ceremonial firepit, in the greenspace area between Clark Hall and the Knowles-Douglas Student Union building.

Visitors should also take a moment to visit the Bee U beehives, which are safely visible behind glass from a viewing lounge near the Ancillary Services offices in McMaster Hall. Access is easy from the 18th Street plaza behind the bus stop (signs for Rural Development) or through the KDC lounge area. The Bee U viewing area is at the top of the main front McMaster staircase.

On Saturday, the John E. Robbins library at BU will also be open to the public. The library’s Curve Gallery currently features a historic display celebrating 100 years of psychiatric nursing education in Manitoba. Also in the library on Saturday, the afternoon will feature the screening of four short films about the history of Brandon, created by Tom Mitchell, BU’s archivist emeritus. Details about the films are below.

While the university is generally always open to the public during normal business hours, Doors Open is a special weekend opportunity for Brandon residents to peek inside buildings and places where they might not normally go.

For a full review of Doors Open Brandon locations and other information, visit http://heritagebrandon.ca/doors-open.

Saturday screenings

Before Brandon – The Grand Rapids of the Assiniboine

  • Tom Mitchell collection, SJ McKee Archives, Brandon University
  • 42 minutes

The film is an account of a vital geographical site in the history of the eastern prairies that has been lost to contemporary historical memory.

School Wars – Denominational Schools in 1880s Brandon and the Politics of National Identity

  • Tom Mitchell collection, SJ McKee Archives, Brandon University
  • 45 minutes

The film portrays the crucial role the political and religious climate of late 19th century Brandon played in the removal of funding for Catholic and Protestant denominational schools, and the establishment of a tax-supported, non-sectarian “national” public school system in Manitoba that triggered the historic Manitoba Schools Question.

Wheat City 1900s – Making Modern Brandon

  • Tom Mitchell collection, SJ McKee Archives, Brandon University
  • 68 minutes

The film portrays the impact on Brandon of Edwardian era economic expansion triggered by renewed western settlement, technological innovation in communication and transportation, and what historians have termed the second industrial revolution. 

Wheat City 1930s – A Prairie Town in the Era of the Great Depression

  • Tom Mitchell collection, SJ McKee Archives, Brandon University
  • 48 minutes

The film portrays the experience of Brandonites and their institutional leaders in an era of local, national and international crisis wrought by the circumstances of the Great Depression.


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