Some news from Nov. 4, 2001...

History Continues with the New Deleau General Store
    Published: Sunday, 22 August 2021 05:50
    Written by Betty Sawatzky/Barry Lamb   

If you’re driving down Highway 21 west of Souris, you might want to see a bit of history come to life!

The new Deleau General Store opened one week ago, this being the community’s 4th General Store constructed on that very spot since the original was built back in 1892.

The  new 1500 sq ft store greets travelers with fuel, hardware, plumbing supplies, basic groceries, camping supplies – and of course, the coffee is always on!

Owner, Scott Phillips, says the first week of operation has been great, with strong support from the community and highway travelers.

“We’ve got it modelled as your one-stop-shop covering everything from soup to nuts!” says Phillips. “Saturday was our first day and every day since it’s been just going!  The local community has been great, and we’ve had workers coming in from all over.  It’s been an excellent response and we just can’t thank people enough for supporting us! 

The in-house coffee shop has been a success as well, with lunch time specials bringing visitors back to the days of home-cooked meals, and don’t forget the home baking!

The village of Deleau was named after Belgium-born Sebastian Deleau who donated land to accommodate the building of the train station in 1892.  Numerous buildings when up that year, including residences, businesses and the first general store. According to the Manitoba Heritage Society, this is the 4th General Store built at this historic location.  Phillips is thrilled to be able to provide the daily necessities that were once offered to his community over the past 129 years.

“We’re here pretty early in the morning making sure the coffee is on for the boys," shares Phillips, "and then to make sure the cooler is filled with cold drinks for the next day!”

“We don’t want anyone going past on their way to the city when they can get everything they want right here!” adds Phillips.

Grain elevator replica unveiled before demolition
By: Kimberley Kielley
Posted: 3:00 AM CDT Wednesday, Sep. 22, 2021

A grain elevator facing an ominous fate was recently memorialized in Elva.

A replica of the Lake of the Woods grain elevator — believed to be the oldest standard-plan elevator in Canada — was unveiled in the community Saturday. The original elevator is destined for demolition this fall.

The re-creation is a true likeness of the original facility, according to Elva resident Donna Anderson, who presented the replica to the town in a ceremony. Having a mini version of the elevator that has served the community since the late 1800s was a welcome addition to the town centre.

"The people of Elva are absolutely thrilled to have the replica," she said.

There were roughly 700 grain elevators in Manitoba in the 1950s. Today, there are fewer than 200 left standing, according to the Manitoba Historical Society’s website.

The replica was a project that former Elva resident Mary Wang started, Anderson said. She conducted the research and secured the designer — David Huish of Gainsborough, Sask. — to create the elevator’s miniature twin.

The elevator was constructed in 1897 by the Lake of the Woods Milling Company, according to the MHS.

The elevator is located on the Canadian Pacific Railway Estevan Subdivision, in the RM of Two Borders. There have been few improvements to the building since the 1890s. It was partially rebuilt with a new foundation and a new scale installed. It was managed by Ogilvie Milling Company after that business merged with Lake of the Woods Company in 1954.

It was purchased by Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1959. By the late 1960s, the elevator was too small compared to the elevators built at that time. In 1968, it closed and was sold to a private farmer.

Purportedly the oldest standing grain elevator in Canada at present, its longevity is proof of the quality craftsmanship that occurred at the time of construction, as it has continued to survive harsh Prairie winters. It outlasted the grain elevator in Fleming, Sask., which was razed in 2010.

Both were purchased by the Commission in 1910. Two years later, the new elevator was leased to the Grain Growers Grain Company and bought outright in 1926. For reasons unknown, the elevator retained the original company name painted on its side.

The Lake of the Woods elevator has not been declared a heritage site, according to Anderson.

"I couldn’t tell you why it wasn’t picked up by the historical society.

"The poor thing has really been let go," she said. "I understand it takes dollars to preserve it. It’s hardly worth saving now. It’s been let go far too long.

"I’m sorry to see it go."


Killarney couple building dreams with repurposed lumber
Little shack on the Prairie


Winnipeg Free Press - Sept 18, 2021

GOTTA love it when a fantasy comes together. I speak of none other than Reg Sawatzky’s very own little house on the Prairie. According to Reg, he’s had the dream digs in his head for a long time, and it is now becoming a reality.
Reg and his wife, Jill, who live in my hometown of Killarney, have a large concrete pad in their yard with a small shed on it, and for some time he had been picturing building a summer porch of sorts there, something with a vintage feel, a comfy place to sit and play — and to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

This enchanting shed, located in Killarney, was built and decorated with repurposed lumber and materials sourced from the local dump.

So he got to work. Now Reg, like me, is a person who loves to preserve our local history, either through restoration or repurposing, and that’s exactly what he’s doing with this project.
Since a great old barn built in 1880 by David Hysop about five kilometres east of Killarney blew down 15 years ago, Reg has had his eye on the lumber from the remains and received permission from the current owner, who told Reg, “Take what you want; I’m sure not crawling under there.”
It turned out this was the perfect spot to source the lumber needed for his build, which Reg got by crawling under the collapsing barn, wrapping a chain around the timbers he wanted, and one at a time he pulled them out with his little old tractor.
He also entertained my ears with a very interesting anecdote about where that lumber originally came from. The wood is Douglas fir, which more than 140 years ago Hysop had to order two years in advance of his barn build. It was then delivered by rail, and the timbers had to be covered so they’d cure properly. If used before being cured, they’d shrink, causing the oak dowels holding them together to break, resulting in a wobbly, unstable barn. So those long-since cured timbers are what Reg built his post-and-beam summer escape from. Talk about recycling. My hero!
Now what to adorn the exterior with? More history! Friends south of town directed Reg to a few piles of old lumber they’d saved to build windbreaks for their cattle, but said they’d used what they needed.
What Reg found in those piles of perfection was a whole bunch of lumber with a distinct log-cabin appeal. It was actually the rounded parts of discarded cedar Hydro poles that had been cut off to make building timbers. The square pieces were used and the round cutoffs were thrown in the pile.
So home they went, causing Reg’s old Chevy truck to groan a bit under the weight.
Then a friend said, “You’ll need a door for your castle,” so he gave Reg a beautiful old antique door that had been cut down a bit — leaving it a bit lopsided. “Well, it’s not perfect,” says Reg, “but then neither am I.” So he used the door exactly as he got it.
The big windows came from an 1890s church being disassembled by the local Flywheel Club to which Reg belongs.
And the roofing? Probably no surprise by now to learn Reg rescued it from the dump. Heavy, slightly rounded metal sheets left over from a bin build, but never used, so off to the dump they went. That’s a great dump to shop in. I once rescued a quarter sawn oak pump organ from there that I brought to Winnipeg, advertised, and gave to a couple (free) who restored it.
So now with the exterior pretty much finished Reg will be adding the log look to the interior, and maybe even at some point firing up the old wood stove he has in there that was used to heat horse-drawn wagons and sleds in winter.
Whenever around Reg and Jill it’s always nice to witness them transform what’s old into new again. Carry on, kids!
Comments and column ideas welcome.

This structure may be new, but repurposed materials give it a distinct Wild West vibe.

Don’t worry, Reg Sawatsky’s musket rifle is an antique and he’s had his morning coffee, but don’t turn your back on pooch Lincoln: he means business.

Floating fun in Manitoba
The Stockton Ferry will get you there in style

By: Gord Mackintosh
Posted: 3:00 AM CDT Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021

Light shimmers off the water at the Stockton Ferry on the Assiniboine River. Tim Smith / The Brandon Sun files

Margie and I took the ferry. To nowhere. To just take it.

150 ferries once operated in Manitoba. Some still run up north, but only one survives in southern Manitoba. It’s free. No line-ups. Take that, B.C.

Since 1887, the Stockton Ferry crosses the Assiniboine River 12 kilometres west of Glenboro, weekdays, 7 to 11 a.m., and 3 to 7 p.m. We phoned ahead.

Joining us was our Jack Russell Terrier, Pirate, who was thrilled — a bouncing, yelping kind of thrilled.

As Margie waited to start the journey with our unruly passenger, she called, "Hurry up!"

In the yard I’d spotted Pirate’s latest treasure. I yelled back, "I got a poop over here!"

Photo by Gord Mackintosh / Winnipeg Free Press
Ferry operator Herby Hutlet at the cable controls.

Driving away, I wondered what those neighbours heard.

Pirate leaps from the front to the back, then onto Margie’s lap, then back. He darts about and whines for a pee, poop, or he sees a dog, or a Timbit. Or the turn-signal clicks. Or we slow. Or drive onto gravel.

We took Highway 2 with communities boasting a giant hydrant, smoking pipe, and camel. Plus, miniature grain elevators, bottle buildings, and a windmill. Lesser-known features also allure, even the recurring sweet wafts of clover.

We like St. Claude. At its Manitoba Dairy Museum before COVID I asked, "What’s your weirdest item?" Two helpful gentlemen coaching a student, Clarisse, showed a bread-making bowl, a potato masher, and hot-pot clasp. For each, they tested me, "You know what this is?"

When I humbly got home I read St. Claude’s brochures. The fellas didn’t mention the museum’s two-headed calf.

I returned.

Clarisse remembered me and my ignorance of the vintage kitchen. In a barn’s corner among dairy doodads and 72 kinds of barbed wire, there it, or they, stood. She remarked, "Two-headed calves don’t live long." Apparently two heads aren’t always better than one.

Now I hear there’s a two-bodied pig.

Near Treherne’s Birch Motel promising Unscrambled Satellite — because scrambled sucks — we diverted Pirate with treats allowing us to dine on seasoned crinkle cut fries and my favourite cherry shake at L&J’s Drive Inn. Its longtime owners are Rick and Kelly Lounsbury. It should be R&K’s. A scandal!

Treherne’s L&J’s Drive Inn owners Kelly and Rick Lounsbury.

At the Stockton sign we turned north. Well-kept Stockton has downsized to several homes and one of Manitoba’s quietest Main Streets.

The gravel road to the ferry lies before the sign, Home of the Stockton Royals. Approaching the river — with Pirate everywhere at once — a fellow bounded to greet us. Retired from farming and conservation work, the instantly likeable Robert Hutlet captains this enduring ferry. He goes by Herby.

Going on seven years, Herby drives about six kilometres to wait outside for passengers. Days can be long, given that boring invention called bridges. He enjoys companions, like wild turkey, deer, an entertaining family of otters.

The odd ferry schedule accommodates locals. With often a dozen daily trips, there can be over thirty. Herby transports a woman for work. Farmers, some with land on each side, move hay and machinery early and late in the day. Passengers also include some curious tourists. "Bring ‘em on," he said.

We drove onto the flat barge-like vessel. No use asking directions to the ferry’s café or nearest restroom, but there’s space for a combine.

Herby revved an engine on one side that turns an orange cable around a giant spool. This pulls the ferry. Shallow water be damned, the ferry provides lifejackets, lifebuoys, even a lifeboat, albeit no motor. But smooth sailing.

The ferry beaches at another gravel road. Away from sizeable towns and highways, the Stockton Ferry goes from, um, one side to, um, the other.

Surely Canada’s shortest, the ride took four minutes. High water could mean five. Pirate looked confused.

Herby asked our destination. I said, "This is it. Now, back to Winnipeg."

Margie and Pirate enjoyed the chance to stretch their legs.

The backroads head toward Brandon so he suggested a return ferry ride – two trips for the free price of one!

Roundtrip, we drove four hours for an eight-minute excursion. In retrospect, this was so utterly, crazily …superb.

St. Claude’s refurbished and unique welcome sign shows the supreme strength of the locals.

We adored our ferry ride. Offerings like this and Tobans like Herby help comprise an endearing province. I’m grateful the Glenboro-South Cypress municipality supports this timeless gem.

Homeward, Herbie’s cousin at the Glenboro Bake Shop reported she’d sold the renown cinnamon buns but apple-fritter muffins with raisins, caramel, and pixie dust are marvelous for later when sliced, warmed, with ice cream.

We detoured aimlessly into the lovely Tiger Hills. Seeing no Bengal tigers, I stepped out, taking photos.

Back on Highway 2, a fly buzzed. Pirate leapt after it – oblivious to me driving, yes officers, near the speed limit.

Margie had to get that intruder. She spied it on the gear shift. Whack! She smashed it –the gear shift, not the fly. The vehicle suddenly died. The gear had lurched into neutral.

Download the PDF

Ancient hoes found in southwestern Manitoba could reveal more about Indigenous farmers, archeologist says

Site near Melita, Man., unearths strongest evidence yet of gardeners before colonization, says Mary Malainey
CBC News

Turtle Mountain trapper starring in new documentary
» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson

Even though the 2020 Gimli Film Festival will be taking place entirely online, Julie Watt is still excited that her latest work is being showcased in the event’s short film competition.
The Boissevain-based filmmaker recently told the Sun that "Precious Load: Tales of a Turtle Mountain Trapper" recounts the story of Phillip Racine, a fourth-generation trapper who is the great-grandson of one of the first Métis settlers in the Lake Metigoshe area.
While this short documentary was always designed to celebrate Racine’s unique lifestyle and family history, Watt also discovered a personal connection between the two of them that helped her find this film’s beating heart.
"The first time I met Phillip Racine, I remembered a story from my own childhood, when three of my friends had gotten lost in Turtle Mountain and were rescued by a trapper," the director said on July 6. "I asked him if he had ever heard of these girls being rescued and if he had known the person who had found them, and he said ‘that was me.’"
With that knowledge in mind, production of "Precious Load" officially began in January 2019, when Watt and her crew followed the trapper around the Turtle Mountain region and documented his day-to-day routine on the Racine family trap line.
Outside of shooting some b-roll and interview segments featuring Racine, Watt also decided to recreate that fateful day more than 20 years ago when the trapper came to her friends’ rescue in -40 C weather.
This segment featured some of the trapper’s extended family as the rescuer and rescuees, including Racine’s nephew, Barrett, as a younger version of himself.

Boissevain-based filmmaker Julie Watt is excited to showcase her new short, "Precious Load: Tales of a Turtle Mountain Trapper" at the 2020 Gimli Film Festival, which is taking place throughout July 21-26.
"Standing beside (Phillip) and watching it be re-enacted was pretty surreal," Watt said. "He was just so impressed and so happy, because that moment was one of the most important things that ever happened to him."
While Racine admits he hasn’t seen the film yet in its entirety, he said Watt was a joy to work with, and her dedication to capturing the intricacies of the trapper lifestyle was truly inspiring.
"If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have done it," he said on July 8. "She came trapping with me for two to three weeks before we even filmed."
The filmmaking process also proved to be a gratifying experience for Racine, even after the cameras stopped rolling, since he got to reunite with one of the girls he rescued, now a fully grown woman, for the first time in more than two decades.
"I had never seen any of the girls or nothing for 25 years," he said. "After I dropped them off, I didn’t have any contact with any of them. And now they’re married and have their own kids, so it made me feel good."
After a lengthy post-production, Watt finalized "Precious Load" in May of this year, even though any plans for a big premiere screening in Westman were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the documentary was eventually posted to YouTube on April 10 so regional history buffs with a decent internet connection can digest Racine’s story anytime they want.
Despite its short length at 14 minutes, Racine’s sister, Leah LaPlante, thought the film did a great job of highlighting her brother’s vast knowledge of the land that he’s been accumulating since childhood.
Phillip Racine sets a trap in a scene taken from "Precious Load: Tales of a Turtle Mountain Trapper,"; a documentary short that's going to officially premiere at the upcoming Gimli Film Festival. (Submitted photos)
"If he hadn’t been as knowledgeable about marking where he was and knowing where the girls had come from, he probably would have never checked on those extra set of tracks," said LaPlante, who currently serves as the vice-president of the Manitoba Métis Federation’s southwest region. "But because of all the skills he has developed since he was a young boy, that all came to the benefit of those young girls that day."


"Precious Load" was funded by the Turtle Mountain Souris Plains Heritage Association, an organization that is dedicated to collecting and chronicling stories that showcase the region’s rich history.
This film production marks the first time that TMSPHA has solely financed a documentary short, since the group is hoping to reach a younger audience who might not be moved by their usual bus tours and interactive maps.
Racine hopes this initiative succeeds in raising awareness for the modern trapper lifestyle, since ongoing government interference is making it more and more difficult to keep trap line ownership within Indigenous families.
"The Natural Resource people took all the say away from us, because we used to have meetings for who would get the line … but that doesn’t happen anymore," he said. "They don’t even give us the right to vote or anything."
But despite all the uncertainty that’s on the horizon, Racine remains passionate about trapping at 61 years old and is confident that the film will serve as a testament to his quiet, humble lifestyle.
"As long as I can go I’m going to go," he said.
"Precious Load" is set to premiere July 25 at approximately 7:20 p.m. on the Gimli Film Festival website. The online screening will be followed up by a virtual audience Q & A with Watt and possibly even Racine himself.
Anyone interested in watching the film before or after the premiere can do so on YouTube.

From the Baldur - Glenboro Gazette ...

Explore Over 150 Years of Manitoba’s History Online
More than 800 digitized local history books now available

Local Histories

The Local Histories collection includes books that can be searched by both the current and former municipality names, since several municipalities amalgamated in 2015 and the majority of the collection is about the former municipalities, not the current ones

A lover of language
Born in a blizzard and unbowed by her residential school misery, beloved elder Doris Pratt's passion for language and love of learning fuelled commitment to her Dakota Nation

Maggie Macintosh    By: Maggie Macintosh
Posted: 11/9/2019

In 1989, Doris Pratt unveiled a plaque outside a school in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, where she was a teacher, curriculum adviser and elder-in-residence throughout her lifetime.

Shame, secrets and dark histories: Remembering the legacy of British home children

Barb Janes, granddaughter of a home child, sees parallels between that scheme and Canada's residential schools

Brandon Sun - Sept. 28, 2019

Pipin' hot
Giant kettle honours historic Métis community of Rooster Town

Download pdf...

Time for serious political action on vehicle emissions

Jerry Storie

Download pdf...

Daughter of last Hecla lighthouse keeper reflects on its history

Electrifying Manitoba: How hydro power 'absolutely revolutionized' the province
Electrification probably had a bigger influence on the lives of Manitobans than virtually anything else'

Workers erect a wooden hydro pole beside the Belmont Hotel in 1936. Belmont is a small community southeast of Brandon. (Manitoba Hydro archives)

Chief Poundmaker (1842-1886):
'Everything I could do was done to prevent bloodshed. Had I wanted war, I would not be here now.
I should be on the prairie, you did not catch me. I gave myself up.
You have got me because I wanted peace.'

SHARED PRIDE IN HIS LEGACY (Letter to the Editor - Globe & Mail - May 27, 2019)

Chief Poundmaker’s is indeed a story of bravery, suffering and devotion to peace in the face of a hostile colonial state (The Exoneration of Chief Poundmaker: A Crooked Road Made Straight – May 23). But what stood out to me was the invitation by author Blaine Favel, a former chief of Poundmaker Cree Nation, to all Canadians to take pride in Poundmaker’s legacy.

As Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech shows, the most durable path to justice is one which reaches across racial or cultural divides, and imagines an inspiring future for all who share a country. Justice for first peoples thus can’t solely be a matter of making settlers feel guilty or ashamed; rather we need to nourish a deep solidarity between settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples, and a vision whereby reconciliation will uplift all of us. Mr. Favel’s invitation to “rewrite the history books of Canada” to “let all Canadians take pride in this great leader” exemplifies this. In his own way, he, like Poundmaker, shows us an inspiring way forward.

Gregory Millard, Port Moody, B.C.

'We lost our homes': Museum exhibit tells story of Métis village's displacement

Ste. Madeleine, Man., was destroyed in 1938 to make way for pasture land

'A voice to confront': One woman's journey to decolonize archeology

UBC Masters student Karen Rose Thomas is challenging historically problematic practices in archeology.

Not your 'grandmother's museum': How Canada's major art galleries are chasing youth

More institutions are offering free admission, late-night parties to get the next generation through the door

After 14 years of newsroom cuts, reporter Judy Wells is determined to keep her local paper alive

View the first edition of the Deloraine News...

By Lara Schroeder
March 26, 2019

Habitat donation saves pristine property
A Lenore, Man.-area farmer has donated a quarter-section of land to the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation the organization considers “unique and rare.”

Plan an autumn visit to the Uno Trestle Bridge

The trestle is impressive and it has an interesting history
By Donna Gamache
Manitoba Cooperator

More pics...

From the Baldur-Glenboro Gazette....

Following in McClung's footsteps
Suffragist's former homes have become a far-flung attraction
By: Bill Redekop  

A group makes its way into the McClung Home.

From the Baldur-Glenboro Gazette....

From the Baldur-Glenboro Gazette....

Time, fire erase last visible ties to community builder
John Hanbury oversaw construction of many early Brandon landmarks
This was Manitoba By: Christian Cassidy

May 16

Support grows for boreal forest as World Heritage Site
By: Dylan Robertson
Posted: 05/16/2018

April 17

Welcome to Little Canada, the Minnesota city founded by a Winnipegger who fled the floods

Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb, founded in 1844 by a Red River refugee, retains its French-Canadian roots

Bartley Kives · CBC News

March 30

March 27

From the Baldur-Glenboro Gazette....

March 21

Feb. 1

Jan 18

Jan 15

From the Baldur Gazette....

More Photos ....Close-ups... etc.

Jan 13

Heritage Trust program rolled out to support small-town museums

The new program will provide $5 million over three years to create endowment funds within local community foundations for museums and archives across Manitoba

Dec 17

Abandonned Manitoba - Visits Brandon House #1

Photo by Gordon Goldboro

Dec 13

'Right in their own backyard': New Google Earth project maps Canada's residential schools
The maps are available to all Canadians, but targeted toward elementary and secondary schools.

By Jade Markus, CBC News Posted: Dec 12, 2017 5:43 PM CT

One of the photos included in the Google Earth Voyager residential school story. A group of students sit in a residential school classroom in Cross Lake, Manitoba. (Department of Indian and Northern Affairs/Library and Archives Canada)

Dec 1

Manitoba's most charming-towns.

Nov. 27

New book explores history and architecture of Manitoba


Nov. 16

Minnedosa railway museum plans on track despite setbacks
Committee confident La Rivière station will be brought to town

Nov. 10, 2017

Nov. 13, 2017

October 30, 2017

Cary Hamel, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s conservation science manager for Manitoba, said he wants to bring awareness that grasslands are the world’s most endangered ecosystem. Pictured, Lacy and Hamel take a selfie on the prairie landscape.

October 22, 2017

October 2, 2017