Sunday, June 21

Saturday Afternoon, 21 June 1919 - Bloody Saturday Begins

Sequence of events from Confrontation at Winnipeg.
Click on images for source information. Please click on images for source.

10:30 am: A delegation from the pro-strike Veterans meet with Mayor Gray and Federal Labour Minister Gideon Robinson at the Royal Alexandra Hotel on Main Street to try to reach a compromise about today's planned march.

The Veterans want to march from City Hall to the Royal Alex where they hope Robertson will address them and then on to the Citizens' Committee headquarters.

The Mayor advises that such a march is against his proclamation of a few days before and that force could be used to break it up. The delegation would only agree to call off the march if the strike was ended by 2 pm and that the streetcars scheduled to run today are taken off-track.

No resolution is reached.

1:45 pm: Police Chief Newton contacts Mayor Gray at the hotel to say that a large crowd is gathering.

The mayor advises Newton to inform RNWMP Commissioner Perry to have his 'specials' and Perry's mounties on the streets.

2:30 pm: At Main and William a large crowd is gathered waiting to form the march.

A streetcar travels from the north toward the crowd. Angered by the gesture, as streetcar service was shut down due to the strike, they surround it but the car makes it though.

Moments later, another streetcar traveling north is not so lucky. It is pulled from the wires and trashed. Unable to overturn it, the streetcar is set on fire.

Meanwhile, the NWMP were set up near Portage and Main and start off on their first, slow, pass through the crowd. Some insults are hurled and a missile or two thrown but it is uneventful.

On the return pass from James Street back toward Portage, one officer's horse trips on the bumper of the trashed streetcar. The officer is dragged and a member of the crowd begins to attack him. At this point officers draw their weapons.

2:35 pm: Mayor Gray, looking on from the balcony at City Hall, reads the riot act and gives the crowd 30 minutes to depart. As he turns to go back inside, the sound of the first shot is heard - it is believed that an RNWMP officer fired a warning volley in the air.

At that point, chaos breaks out. Some in the crowd are frightened and stampede for safety. Some fights break out between strikers and policemen, missiles are hurled at those on horseback and more shots are fired.

2:45 pm: The Mayor leaves for Fort Osborne Barracks to ask Ketchen to send in the militia consisting of cavalry and motorized machine gun units.

Slowly, but surely, the troops would clear the streets. A combination of military, special constables and RNWMP would stay on guard until midnight.

That day there were a number of people shot and injured and scores arrested, the full extent of which would not be known until late in the day.

Sequence of events from Confrontation at Winnipeg.
Click on images for source information.


  1. I nearly choked on my coffee while reading about the events of 2:35 p.m. ("As he turns to go back in the sound of the first shit is heard...") Whoops!

  2. Heh, thanks. I usually don't get around to blogging until very late at night so the odd typo slips by !

  3. Hi! Thank you for posting this up. It helped me a bunch in understanding hte concept of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike in such simple terms. Very easy to follow and love the pictures.

  4. lol woooww i stilll dont get how they started and ended lol

  5. thanks so much i really needed this

  6. Thank you for creating this article on Bloody Saturday. It's helping me work on my news report for school. Great job on the writing. It's not long and boring, has lots of pictures, and your ending is excellent, as if it was written by a written that day and said by a news castor that day.

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  8. I like to read some historical events from the different sources of information! has summary and themes of a streetcar named desire!