Button - Manitoba Penitentiary

 This is the pre-standardization tunic button worn by staff at Manitoba Penitentiary in Stony Mountain, Manitoba.  Prior to c.1896, it appears that the federal penitentiaries in Canada utilized individual tunic buttons and insignia.  As seen in this section, we have similar examples of buttons from Kingston Penitentiary and British Columbia Penitentiary.  We presume that similar buttons were used at Dorchester Penitentiary (a.k.a the “Maritime Penitentiary”) and St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary, however examples have not yet been located.  This particular button matches the associated Manitoba Penitentiary helmet plate shown in our Badges section.  An ornamental 2-piece belt buckle is also known. Although this example has been flattened, it still shows great detail.  The central device is a version of the provincial shield of Manitoba with a rampant Bison in the lower field and the script initials “M.P.” in the top field.  This is encircled by a wreath and the title “MANITOBA PENITENTIARY”. The back-mark reads “SPECIAL QUALITY”.  This example appears to have a dark bronze tone.
Item Button – Manitoba Penitentiary
Dimensions 2.5cm
Material Dark brass or bronze
Period Made c. 1876 – c. 1896
Period of Use c. 1876 – c. 1996
Maker Unknown