The Governor General and his family lived on an estate in Ireland called Clandeboye. When Lord and Lady Dufferin visited Selkirk in 1877, as Queen Victoria’s representative, it was a momentous event!
Naming a street after the noble visitors’ home showed the loyalty of the townspeople. It also might have created an address that drew potential buyers to the frontier community.
The Town’s Birthplace
The river’s edge at the foot of Clandeboye Avenue is the actual spot that James Colcleugh said he stepped from a York boat in April of 1875. He led a crew installing the first telegraph line from Canada to Manitoba. He crossed the river to identify the place that would become “Selkirk”.
Until that moment, Selkirk had been a suggested location on a railway-route map (map 1872). It had been chosen as the “crossing” of the Red River by the transcontinental railway. Its geographical advantages made the location the logical choice. It had high riverbanks above potential flooding as well as a deep-water connection to Lake Winnipeg. Before the spring of 1875, no town existed, only a scattered series of small farms perched along the riverbank.
When Colcleugh sent the first telegram, he proved that a place called “Selkirk” now existed.
Colcleugh was the “father” of Selkirk. He literally put Selkirk on the map! He also brought other investors, settlers, merchants, and businesses to Selkirk. It was he, more than any other early settler, who saw the potential of Selkirk to become the principal town in the West. (See Colcleugh Avenue)
The British Connection
Clandeboye is a street that demonstrates the “British” loyalty that the townspeople felt. Most people recognized this was a dedication to the Governor-General – the popular and remarkable Lord Dufferin.
Members of the powerful Orange Lodge may have seen Clandeboye Avenue as a monument to the “victim” of Louis Riel’s “Rebellion” of 1869-70. Thomas Scott was born in Clandeboye, Ireland!