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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

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The Real Property Act of 1889 replaced the Act of 1885, and Title No. 1 issued under the 1889 Act to The Scottish Ontario and Manitoba Land Company (Limited) on the 2nd of August 1889 and covered the South-East Quarter of Section 5 in Township 14 and Range 8, West of the Principal Meridian in Manitoba. This quarter section of land is currently being farmed by Samuel Kennedy of Westbourne.

With the advent of improved transportation and communication, the various Land Registry Districts were consolidated and in 1906 a vault-like office was built on 3rd Street N.E. to serve the Land Titles District of Portage la Prairie. The office is still in use today. The District Registrar at that time was W. J. Cooper and there were as many as 15 permanent employees. In 1969 there are only four: Orest W. Pressey, District Registrar; Webster Burton, John Reynolds and Joy Askin, all Land Titles Clerks.

In the early part of the century all deeds, titles and other documents were written by hand. In the year 1953 the first duplicate certificate of title was typewritten, but the original certificate of title was still written by hand. In September of 1961 the Original certificates of title were typed for the first time. This was just another stage in the evolution of automation, which over the years reduced the number of employees from a high of 15 to the present 4.

Although procedures have changed over the years, the objects of the land titles system have remained the same since 1885. They are, "to simplify title to land, to give certainty thereto, to facilitate the proof thereof and to expedite dealing therewith."

It is regrettable that we do not have the names of all the people who spent many years of their lives working in this depart­ ment. However, one of them, Roy McKay, who was Registrar for 31 years (1933-1964) is stilI a resident of Portage.


In pioneer days there were many kinds of bells. There were the little country schoolhouse bells that teachers shook to summon pupils to classes; there were the town-school bells that were attached to a rope which hung in the hallways of schools and were made to ring by pulling on the rope; there were cowbells which helped farmers find their herd at milking time; there were sleighbells which tinkled along stretches of country roads in the winter time; and there was (and is) the Portage city bell that has survived them all in the passage of time.