|Beginning in 1885, one
by one, the communities south of Brandon got their rail service,
and by 1910 almost every farmer was within eight kilometres of an
was transformed. What had essentially been almost a subsistence
became viable agribusiness.
At the same time it ushered in a new era in terms of lifestyle. Trips
back east were easier. Shopping excursions to Brandon and Winnipeg were
The introduction of the car brought another revolution in
transportation freedom. With the development of a system of roads, the
trip to Brandon became even easier.
What had once been a four or five day journey was now a day trip.
There was still that river to cross, but bridges began to replace the
ferrys that had served the pioneer traveller.
The crossing at Riverside – directly between Boissevain and Brandon,
was on the most well used route. By1882 both Sheppard’s Ferry and
Heaslip’s Ferry were operating near where the Highway 10 Bridge was
later built. Over the next century a succession of bridges and roadway
upgrades made the journey faster.
This is the site of the first bridge in the Riverside area.
Here we see the two "modern"
crossings at Riverside. In
the centre is the bridge built in 1929. The
third crossing, to the left, was built in the early 70's.
|Sheppard's Ferry, and later, the
first bridge, was just a short distance
downstream from today’s crossings.
That bridge was damaged when Tom Nesbitt’s steam tractor broke through
while crossing in 1928. As the tractor started to break through, Tom
was able to jump off and watch from the abutment as his tractor sank
into the stream – where it stayed. Some old-timers remember the site as
good swimming hole in the 1930 and 40’s and the tractor was still
A new concrete arch bridge was completed in 1929 a bit upstream,in a
spot that was no doubt a more advantageous spot for "modern" road
construction.That crossing became
a popular recreation spot with a dance hall, ball diamonds, a store and
gas station. Highway #10 crossed that bridge and proceed straight
the hill running parallel to the current Highway, now a mile to
the west. The highway was later re-located to its current
at the same time it was paved and otherwise modernized.
The current bridge was built in the early 1970’s, leaving the old
bridge and the access to it in place.
This map from 1921 shows the
route. With the coming of the rail line in 1906, Heaslip and Bunclody
became villages with stations,
and soon after that the road through those communities became the main
highway south to Boissevain.
The original bridge was
near the end of the visible part of the river in this shot.
The view from a bit
The bridge site from downstream
The bridge was near the site
of Sheppard's Ferry the crossing place often mentioned in pioneer
The gentler riverbanks just downstream from the bridge site
would be a likely spot.
A close shot of the west side of
the bridge abutment.
The view from the old road bed
up the south side of the river.
This old photo was likely taken from the same spot as the previous one
Another view of the bridge in 1927.
In 1928 this steam tractor broke through the bridge. I found no sign of
it in 2018 and it was likely salvaged at some
Another view from the west.
Looking up the old trail.
The slope on the south side of the
river is a bit steep. Travellers often mentioned difficulty getting up
at the Souris River crossing.
Very few traces remain to
confirm that this trail up the valley was once a road.
View of the top.
The last stretch.
A summary of the sites. The old
road is quite visible, as are two other trails, one or both could have
been used from the ferry that
served previous to the contsruction of the bridge.
"Old" Highway 10 used to run a mile east of the current highway.