Discovering Manitoba

Surprising facts about Central Plains

Here’s something to think about as you drive down Number One.

  • Peter Tarr, of Bagot, and originally from Ontario, owned the first John Deere tractor in Western Canada. It was a model D with spoke fly-wheel and a wooden platform. Mr. Tarr’s tractor was purchased in the early 1920s, from a dealer in Mac- Gregor, and came on a flat car on the CNR to Rossendale.
  • Clark Gable was a regular visitor to the Delta Marsh, beginning in 1938. The silver screen star was an avid sportsman and duck hunter.
  • The first written record of a European crossing the Cypress River was in Alexander Henry’s diary of August 11, 1806.
  • Manitoba’s border was just 8 miles west of Gladstone in 1877.
  • • The community of Headingley was founded in 1853 when the Archdiocese of Rupertsland acquired two river lots from the Hudson’s Bay Company for the purposes of erecting a church and a school. In 1854 the first Holy Trinity Anglican Church was built and it was named after the church in Headingley, Leeds, England, which sponsored the construction. The early pioneers were primarily from the British Isles.
  • Portage la Prairie has the distinction of being the only location in North America where two major rail lines share the same crossing, at 14th St. West.
  • Three Manitoba Premiers came from High Bluff. John Norquay, first elected in 1878; Douglas Lloyd Campbell, first elected as premier in 1948; and Walter C. Weir, who was elected in 1967. Douglas Campbell, a member for Lakeside, served his constituents for 47 years, the longest term in the Commonwealth. He is best known for bringing electricity to Manitoba.
  • Macgregor, MB, was established in 1881 at the point where the railway ran out of steel.
  • The original aboriginal name for the village of Oakville was “Kawende”, meaning “no good”.
  • The history of St. Eustache began at Baie St. Paul, when Father George-Antoine Belcourt established a mission there in 1834, at the corner of Highway 26 and Route 248. However, due to numerous floodings, the prosperous village of Baie St. Paul was moved in 1888 from the north side of the Assiniboine River to its present site between Highway 26 and the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • Built in 1902, the former Westbourne Post Office once served all of northwestern Manitoba. It is now part of the collection at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum.
  • Manitoba’s first industrial site was located in St. Francois Xavier, where the iconic Red River Ox Cart was produced en masse.
  • Every Canadian military pilot passes through Southport at least once as they learn to fly.
  • Southport is the first and last remaining site of three flying training centres established in the Portage la Prairie region under the Commonwealth Air Training Program.
  • Treherne won the National Communities in Bloom competition for 2006.

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