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The Pierson and District Heritage Association

2018 Heritage Tour

Heritage Sites in the Pierson / Waskada Area

1. Pierson | 2. Elva | 3. The Brockinton Site
4 Sourisford Crossing,  The Boundary Commission Trail, Souripaolis & the Snyder II Site
4 Coulter Park | 5. The Sourisford Linear Mounds | 6. Coulter | 7. Waskada

September 8, 2018


We began with a gathering at the Two Borders Municipal Office where we exchanged introductions and Bill Warren outlined our agenda. He gave us a preview of the first section of the tour.

We did a bit of informal car-pooling and set out to take a quick look at some of the displays that the Heritage Committee has set up in town.  The Butterfield School bell has a new home, near a restored road scraper, and James Dandy Park is looking good.

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Next stop… Elva, the home of the oldest standing grain elevator in Canada. It’s in bad shape and there are no plans for a restoration, so it might not be there that much longer. We stopped to look at the cairns on what used to be the “downtown”.

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Then we visited the Brockinton Site, where Bill gave an overview of the importance of the site and were able to descend to the river level where abundant bison bones and even a few artifacts remain to remind us of the scope of the story this place tells.

The old stone house and large metal-clad barn remain to remind us of the more recent use of the site.

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At many, or even most, of the important sites, little remains that a passer-by would notice.  Numerous aboriginal burial mounds exist in the region. We stopped at one near the Brockinton Site. We passed by the old Peninsula School and stopped to take a quick look at the site of Souriapolis a town that was planned and promoted but never existed except a the Land Title Office.  We looked at the place where the Boundary Commission Trail started its descent into the Souris River valley. The crossing at Sourisford was the hub of settlement in the area with a Store, Stopping House and Post Office, a nearby blacksmith shop and a ferry. Had the railway crossed the river here, instead of a few kilometres s north at Melita, the map of the southwest corner would be quite different today.

Nothing remain at the nearby Snyder II site to remind us of the extensive archaeological work done here a few decades back to uncover evidence of  a well established village survived to some extent on agriculture. This was a unique find.

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The Boundary Commsion at Sourisford in 1873.


In contrast to sites that are important, but where little remains, Coulter Park is a well-established tribute to the past as well as a campsite and picnic spot for today.
As the day was windy and cool we had our picnic in the modern shelter close to the the old Gould stone house.

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The mounds at this site are remnants of the largest concentration of ancient burial mounds in Canada. Archeologists believe that the casualties of the harsh winter were ceremoniously buried when the ground thawed – an event of cooperative behavior and cultural importance. Artifacts found in the mounds have included stone tablets, clay mortuary vessels, and shell gorget masks made from Gulf Coast conch shells.

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The village of Coulter  was established when the Lyleton Branch was completed from Waskada to Lyleton. The large store build by Alfred Gould is still standing but nothing remains to remind us of  Rolston Large’s blacksmith shop where he designed and built the Empress of Ireland, a steamboat he then launched on the nearby Souris River.

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Our final stop was Waskada where we stopped at Waskada Park where a Plaque reminds us of the role of Charles Sankey as a community leader and a man with an interesting past. The Waskada Museum, housed in five buildings has an extensive collection – our short tour was just an introduction to all that it offers.

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