Jonathan Hughes ARNETT (1879-1953)

Jonathon was born at Kerwood, Ontario on 17 January 1879, son of Lewis Arnett (1839-1891) and Angelina Hughes (1850-1944). The family moved to Winnipeg and he was educated at Carlton School,

On 05 October 1904, he married Laura Vivian Belvedere Todd (1878-1984) and they had five children: Jonathan Hughes Arnett (1907-1987), Vivian Belvedere Arnett (1909-2008, wife of Henry Boyce Neville Frith), Emerson Lloyd Arnett (1911-1975), Evelyn Mary Arnett (1913-2000, wife of Alan Chapman Ledger), and Laurel Angelina Arnett (1920-2013, wife of Alfred Leslie Singleton).

The family moved to Brandon where he attended public school and the Brandon Collegiate. He became a teacher and was one of the pioneer teachers in rural Manitoba. Some of the schools where he taught are Chater School, Fort Whyte School, Hilton School, Wawanesa School, Treherne School. He served as Principal at the Brickburn School, Gilbert Plains School, Headingley School, Justice School, Kemnay School, Minnedosa School and Westbourne School.

In 1903, he moved to Souris and went into the lumber business in partnership with his brother Thomas Lewis Arnett (1873-1952). He became a director and shareholder in the Arnett Manufacturing Company, and also dabbled in Souris real estate.

Teacher, Composer, Musician, Poet, Songwriter

He was a Free Press correspondent for many years. He was a member of the Seven Oaks Masonic lodge, West Kildonan and past master of Bobby Burns Masonic lodge, Gilbert Plains. He was a musician, singer, songwriter and composer and was a leader of the jamboree at Riding Mountain National Park for 15 years.

In 1922, his song “Manitoba” was included in a 16-page pamphlet issued by the department of Education on “Empire Day”. In 1925, he won a contest to compose Winnipeg’s official song with “All Trails Lead to Winnipeg” receiving two prized of $25 each for the best Winnipeg song and for the most suitable musical setting. Here is a link to a video of Grant Simpson singing the song “All Trails Lead to Winnipeg”There is a contagious rag-time swing about its simple measures. The chorus is:

All trails lead to Winnipeg,

Where the prairie roadways join,

All Rails lead to Winnipeg,

By the Red and Assiniboine;

Winter, summer, she’s a hummer,

When the One Hard Wheat rolls in,

All trails lead to Winnipeg,

Where the East and West begin.

Other songs by Jonathan are “Back Up the Fight”, “Canadians, Arise”, “God Bless the King of Canada”, “Hands Across the Border”, “Manitoba” (song extensively in Manitoba schools), “Our Own Saskatchewan”, “The Joy of Living”, “The Salvation Army Song”, “Wasagaming” (the theme song for Riding Mountain National park), “Wawanesa”, “We’re Not Going to Have Adolph Hitler A’Telling Us What We Must Do”, and “You are Calling Me”

He died at Brandon on 25 August 1953 and was buried in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery.


  • Birth, marriage and death Registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
  • “Made Noble Name”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune”, Winnipeg, 23 May 1924, page 5.
  • “Wins Mayor’s Prize for “Winnipeg” Song, Free Press Evening Bulletin, Winnipeg, 23 Mar 1925, page 7.
  • “The World of Music”, Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, 04 Apr 1925, page 26.
  • “Assiniboine Book of Verse – Poems are Set to Music by Jonathan Hughes Arnett”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, Winnipeg, 21 Jul 1934, page 10.
  • “Wasagaming Plans Open Air Concerts”, Winnipeg Free Press”, Winnipeg, 08 Jul 1940, page 2.
  • “Sing Songs Aid Good Fellowship”, The Winnipeg Tribune, Winnipeg, 07 Sep 1940, page 28.
  • “Veteran Teacher, JH Arnett Dies“, Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, 27 Aug 1953, page 10.
  • Obituary [Laura Vivian Belvadere “Belva” (nee Todd) Arnett], The Chilliwack Progress, Chilliwack, BC, 27 Jun 1984, page 11.
  • “Flag – Raising Ceremony to Feature Old Song”, The Hamiota Echo, Hamiota, 11 May 1966, page 4.
  • Obituary [Emerson Lloyd Arnett], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 Aug 1975, page 31.
  • Obituary [Jonathan Hughes Arnett], Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, 26 Dec 1987, page 59.
  • Obituary [Evelyn Mary Ledger], The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC, 20 Oct 2000, page 95.
  • Memorial [Vivian Belvadere (Arnett) Frith], FindaGrave, Memorial #190112061.


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