Westminster Church Minuet Dance Group

The Westminster Church Minuet Dance Group performed in various festivals and concerts in the City of Winnipeg around the year 1916.

These elegant young ladies comprised the Westminster Church Minuet Dance Group, which performed under the auspices of Westminster Church in various festivals and concerts in the City of Winnipeg around the year 1916. Some look dour, some angelic, but all appear determined to fulfill the demands of their art. It would appear that each designed and sewed her own costume, since the styles are quite varied. A couple of costumes permitted whet must have been, for the time, a quite daring display of bare lower limbs. But the common colour of white, worn by all but the instructress, surely demonstrated their virginal purity.

“The nymph seated on the far left was Jean Campbell MacDonald, my mother,” says Macdonald Burbidge. Jean was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, one of eight children and a daughter of a railway engineer, who supervised the building of bridges across the West and finally deposited the family in Winnipeg. Macdonald’s father, Septmus Burbidge came out from Wiltshire at the age of eighteen on a five-year contract with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and was dispatched to the most isolated post in Northern Ontario. In 1915 he was sent to Fort William to get the mail, discovered there was a war on, and joined up to serve his king. Since he had not fulfilled his contract for the full five years, the HBC refused to pay him for the three years he had worked for them, thereby provoking him to a lifelong antipathy to that corporation. He ended the war in the Royal Flying Corps, as an observer-gunner, flying high above the mud in the trenches. He was involved in two crashes, but survived handily to return to Canada, where he married my mother and settled down in Pointe du Bois, a hamlet near Winnipeg. They are survived by two daughters, Patricia Amundsen of Summerland, British Columbia, Jan Robinson of Calgary, Alberta, and by one son, Macdonald Burbidge.

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