Murray Sinclair Park

301 Queen Ave

Murray Sinclair Park was one of a pair of playgrounds built by the Kinsmen Club of Selkirk in the mid-1950s. It was part of a national Kinsmen program to provide improved play opportunities for the new wave of children born immediately after the war.

Kinsmen South Playground on Main Street at Dorchester Avenue was the first to open in the summer of 1952. 

The following spring, construction got underway at Kinsmen North Playground on Main Street at Queen Avenue (present-day Murray Sinclair Park). The city-owned land was vacant and being held as a possible site for a new school, though in 1958 the school board informed the city that it no longer needed the site.

The playground was ready for use in July 1953. It included swings, a teeter totter, sand boxes and benches. The perimeter was enclosed with a wire fence.

For more than 50 years the playground did not have a name. The Kinsmen association disappeared in the 1970s, so residents just called it ‘the playground on Queen Avenue’. That ended in 2017 when it was named after Senator Murray Sinclair.

Sinclair was born in Selkirk and graduated from Selkirk Collegiate Institute in 1968. He received a law degree from the University of Manitoba in 1979 and built a distinguished law career for himself, including serving as the first Indigenous judge in Manitoba from 1988 to 2009 and chair of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2009 to 2015. In 2016, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate.

The City of Selkirk celebrated Sinclair’s achievements at a banquet held in his honour on June 20, 2017. It was announced that the park near where he once lived (the former Kinsmen South Playground) would be named for him. In his speech, Mayor Larry Johannson said, “Beyond just the recognition of Senator Sinclair’s leadership, Murray Sinclair Park will serve as a constant reminder to young people who play there that they too can grow up in our community and accomplish great things.”.

Christian Cassidy