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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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Simpsons-Sears building. It was built in 1951, and while the price o» of the stock is more than ten times what it was in the days of Patrick . Carey and John O'Reilly there is no sign of the hinges on the door going rusty I
A few more men who contributed to community services in the growth of the settlement of Portage la Prairie were: Frank Otten, who built and operated a harness shop in the west end; Farres Evans, who established a "sale stable" business; A. J. and A. L. Ashdown who ran a hardware store, (Alfred Babb and a Mr. Kirkland were connected with this business later); William Bell was a mechanic, and Roger Bell assisted in building the first log church in Portage; and W. L. Lyall who came to Portage in 1880 and was a merchant tailor for nearly 40 years.
The year 1880 is most historically important because of the fact that on the 18th of November of that year Portage la Prairie became
AN INCORPORATED TOWN.
It wasn't until January of 1881 that the first council of the town was formed. Thomas Collins was elected as its first mayor, and the councillors were: Wm. M. Smith, Wm. Fulton, Robert Watson, John Conner, J. P. Young and S. McIlvanie.
THE STEAM HORSE REPLACES THE STEAM BOAT AND OX CART
The Canadian Pacific was the pioneer railway in the west and upon its completion depended the expansion of the Dominion. This company contracted with the government early in 1881 to complete the line to the Pacific coast in ten years. Engineers immediately started exploring the more difficult and less known section from the Ottawa River to and around Lake Superior. The contract and grading from St. Boniface to East Selkirk and the track laying and ballasting from St. Boniface to Ra t Portage, as Kenora was then called, was secured by Jos. Whitehead, who did a great deal of construction work east of the capital. While this work was proceeding other employees of the company commenced laying the tracks from Winnipeg west. Before the end of the year 160 miles of the railway were completed west of Winnipeg.
In June, 1881, Portage la Prairie was the western terminus of the railway. The main line west was situated somewhat north of the present line and the fifty-five and a half miles run from Winnipeg