D.T Reid Blacksmith Shop
by Karen Hanan - May, 2013

 

The Blacksmith Shop, originally constructed in 1909, was located in the community of Bird’s Hill. In 1986, much of the original structure was salvaged and relocated to Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum site. The blacksmith shop was reconstructed and it now appears as it had in days gone by. Within the D. T. Reid Blacksmith shop currently features a forge and an anvil, as well as shoemaking tools, farrier equipment, wood worker’s tools, wagons and buggies, and so much more. Occasionally, a smithy may be found within the shop, giving a demonstration by performing a variety of blacksmith work.

David Taylor Reid, who was apprenticed in Northern England from the age of 12 to 19, immigrated to Canada from his native Scotland in 1901. In 1909, Reid built the blacksmith shop in Bird’s Hill. As a blacksmith, Reid attended to the needs of his community by making horse shoes, wagon wheels, sleigh runners, and mostly anything else made of iron. Furthermore, Reid was also well known for being able to fix just about everything that was not in working order. The Scottish blacksmith was well established by the time the Slavic people began to settle in the area. Subsequently, by 1912, the blacksmith shop also served as a garage where Reid worked on tools, chopped wood, shoed horses, and even hauled ice. The D. T. Reid Blacksmith Shop was more than just a place of business however. The blacksmith shop was also a place to stop in for a visit; it was a part of the social life of the community. The Reid family lived in an 11 x 24 foot one room home on their lot at 2021 Burton Avenue, two blocks from the shop.

The blacksmith shop of that era was integral to the community, and Reid was prosperous. Even throughout the Great Depression in the 1930’s, Reid continued to be prosperous in his business. He worked there until his death in 1961, and his son Thomas stayed on there until 1966. Thankfully, in 1986, the old blacksmith shop was acquired by the Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum. Today, the D. T. Reid Blacksmith Shop is one of many restored pioneer buildings on the grounds of the museum. The Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum endeavors to preserve this significant aspect of the Canadian history, while it is also a memorial to those people who had settled in the Cook’s Creek area.

David Taylor Reid

Blacksmiths were once an integral part of a town. The city of Winnipeg had dozens prior to World War I, and continued to have about 27 throughout the 1920’s. The blacksmith shop of David T. Reid was originally located in the village of Bird’s Hill, just 10 miles from Winnipeg.

In 1909, after being a blacksmith apprentice and having married his boss’s daughter, David Reid bought his very own blacksmith shop. He borrowed $40 from J. D. McArthur to purchase lumber to build the smithy, and borrowed an anvil from the postmaster, Mr. Chudleigh.

The blacksmith shop was incredibly successful. The shop was close enough to Winnipeg to benefit from the business the city’s expansion was providing, yet the shop also benefited from its rural clients. David Reid was known to be able to fix anything, and when the business of shodding horses was no longer booming, he began fixing automobiles as well. The phrase “good enough” was not tolerated; David Reid believed that “right is right, but wrong is no man’s right.”

The blacksmith shop was constantly at work. The sound of the pounding on the anvil could be heard constantly, however, on Sundays and late at night, the anvil would be wrapped in wet sacks to muffle the sound. David Reid’s successful business was because of his incredible work ethic and the Bird’s Hill area was fortunate to have such a dedicated blacksmith.

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