This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 290 or Next - Page 292


Portage points with pride to an industry that is unique in Canada and in many parts of the world - a glass factory which produces unusually beautiful, colorful pieces in 29 different shapes and styles.

This industry was the brain-child of George K. Hill, a second generation pharmacist and former hotel owner in Portage la Prairie, who through the years has contributed much to improving and beautifying the city.

While on vacation, in 1965, he became intrigued with Mexican glassware and its profusion of color, so much that he brought a few pieces home with him to display in the Mayfair Giftshop located in the basement of his hotel. To merely share the beauty with Portagers was probably his purpose at that time. However, demands for this beautiful glassware were so great that he decided to have something similar, or better, manufactured right in Portage la Prairie.

He sent his nephew, Daryl Giffin, to Mexico for two months to study the art form. Daryl returned from the course accompanied by the leading painter from the best glassware company in that country. Together they perfected the art and set up production procedure.

The finest double diamond glass from west Germany has to go into a molding oven, and grinding and painting (with spectacular dyes and special paint) are only a couple of the steps involved in the manufacturing process.

An appealing feature, about the fine glass products made here, is that no two pieces are alike. "You just don't find newlyweds returning these to the gift shops for exchanges," says Mr. Hill.

In Canada, N. C. Cameron and Sons of Toronto, Ontario, have exclusive distribution rights. The U.S. market has distributors in places from Boston to San Francisco and Canadians will find it in quality gift shops from coast to coast. General Manager, Kelly Giffin, reports letters coming from as far as London, England and Scotland asking for the product or even patent rights!

Today "Mayfair Glassware," as it is called, employs thirty people and is planning to expand even more.

We say again "we point with pride" to this Portage product.

And we salute the man who had the courage to venture into this daring field of manufacturing.