Monthly Archives: August 2012

Sex and the Solitary Heritage Site

Reid Dickie

 She watched the fuzzy dice sway gently back and forth from the rearview as the Chiffons sang “He’s So Fine.” He was large and hot, increased his pace inside her, did a few dick tricks and groaned. She told him to bark like a dog and he always did which made her even hotter and hornier. His face and shoulders were getting red. He was just about to come when…

It’s impossible to visit as many heritage and sacred sites as I do and not notice that some of them are used frequently as lover’s lanes. Very often these places are secluded on little-traveled gravel roads that some locals and a few tourists know about. Often they are remote and utterly dark at night. A common clue are the worn tire tracks through the grass indicating the basic biological imperative can be satisfied just about anywhere.

Though the hazy distance of 45 years separates me from my last experience of having sex in a vehicle, I understand the urge, the need, the excitement, the lonely but safe darkness wrapped around your sexual cocoon, your car or truck. 

Speaking of safes (when was the last time, if ever, you heard a condom called a safe?), the obvious clue to an area’s sexual usage are the bright flowers that turn out to be condoms blooming in the tall grass, often accompanied by their wrapper.

Walking trails through the bush attract mating couples, especially in spring. Besides the warning grunts of a bear, the only other uptrail sound that immediately turns me back are the amorous cries of rutting humans trysting among the timbers. While the visual doesn’t appeal to me, the way their groans and shrieks are enfolded into the sounds of the forest makes the sex seem at home, traditional, sacred. When you get right down to it, fucking in the forest is as old as God.

I won’t mention all the locations where I’ve seen evidence of love nests but I did interrupt a nooner this summer at St. Albans, the Criddle/Vane Homestead just south of Shilo. My apologies, folks. And to the guy getting the BJ on the hood of his car deep in the Marsh Lake oxbow, sorry buddy!

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Filed under Critters, Day Tripping, Diversions, Local History, Natural Places

MCC Thrift Stores Turn 40

Reid Dickie

Regular readers of my blog know I am a veteran thrift store haunter. This was a major source of fun and occasional profit for Linda and me starting in the 1980s. We developed what we called rummage tours that could hit as many thrift stores as possible in the fewest miles. We traveled the South Rummage Tour dozens of times over the years. Its route was Niverville, Morris, Altona, Plum Coulee, Winkler, Morden and Carman, a perfect loop south of Winnipeg with seven stores to shop and a nice day`s drive. I still do the South Rummage Tour now and then. All the stores are bigger now, more variety, more professional but still offer the thrill of the hunt, successful or not.

These seven stores are all Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores, an organization that is celebrating its fortieth year this year. I was doing some heritage recon in southern Manitoba today and stopped in at the Altona MCC thrift shop. I found these three spiffy neckties, two 1960s skinny ones and a nice wide silk from the 1940s, not a soup stain among them. My total cost: $1.25 for all three. I donated a couple of bucks as I always do.

Altona was the first town to have a MCC thrift shop because local resident Selma Loewen took to heart a comment made at the 1972 MCC Manitoba annual meeting by John Hostetler, director of MCC’s Material Resources department. He reported that MCC was reducing overseas shipments of used clothing, commenting “We need a machine that will turn clothing into cash.”

Selma thought up “the machine” that she excitedly told three friends about over tea.  Linie Friesen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz agreed a little store selling used items at cheap prices would work!  They opened the very first MCC thrift store on March 17, 1972 expecting it to last maybe six months. Today there are almost 200 MCC thrift stores in Canada and the U. S. Read the rest of the story.

Linda and me agreed that the humanitarian work done by the MCC around the globe was always worth supporting. If you can, please shop MCC thrift stores in your area. This is a list of all the ones in Canada.

On Saturday September 8, 2012 many Manitoba MCC`s will contribute to the annual Relief Auction Sale. The proceeds from the auction will go to support MCC food programs feeding thw world`s hungry. To be held in Morris, MB at the stampede grounds, the sale is a fun fundraising event. Here is the line up of activities at the auction sale. For more information on making donations to the sale or volunteering, go to mccmanitoba.ca

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St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church, La Salle, MB

Reid Dickie

Towering above all else, including the cottonwood trees in the little French community of La Salle, MB, south of Winnipeg, stands St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. Representing the strong faith of the local population for over 100 years, this masterfully achieved edifice of buff brick possesses an inspiring plethora of design details on every facade.

The form of the large church is transept – shape of the cross – with an elaborate front facade that evokes order and ascension climbing to a slim bell tower surmounted by a shimmery steeple.

Let’s take a close look at the front facade. The most striking feature is its comfortable symmetry, not a line out of place, not a wasted brick, just upward sweeping motion. 

The brickwork is marvellous. There are three arcades (rows of arches), each with five arches, formed by the brick design, two are sloping downward under the roof eaves and the centre spans the front of the entrance pavilion just below its cornice. The smooth corbelling (layering of bricks) that forms the arcades is superb, creating interesting shadow and light combinations.

As with the arcades, all openings in the building are arched. The front entry, the window above with its trio of slender windows under a circular focus and the openings in the bell tower are all arched. All openings have a limestone keystone at the apex. The keystones on the front have small tablatures.

On the ends of the transepts there is another series of corbelled arcades, thirteen arches under the eaves and above large round windows with spoke tracery. All around the place under the eaves is a sweet bit of corbelling that adds to the ornate sensibility of the church.

In true heritage geek parlance, the bell tower/steeple is a honey! Eight arched openings, each keystoned with a scroll and separated by square columns and capitals, create the still-inhabited bell tower. Above the bell tower a short eight-sided dome supports the steeply pitched octagonal steeple that ends with a round pinnacle and a metal cross spire.

La Salle, MB is located south of Winnipeg on Provincial Road 247 a few kms west of Hwy #75.

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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Sacred Places

Dog Day Drive on the Sweltering Prairie

Reid Dickie

Yet another 33 degree C. (over 90 F.) day in a perfect summer which demanded a short jaunt out of The Hive onto the lake bed southeast of Winnipeg! There was enough breeze to slake the heat. The air was full of chaff from plundering combines wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Three MCC thrift stores hit along the way – Niverville, Grunthal, Steinbach – with zilch to report from all of them. Surprising!

I paused in Sarto to see if Willow Plain School was open. It wasn’t. Instead I talked to Jake who was restoring the traditional blue window trim to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarto. Here’s Jake at work.

You’ll notice the onion dome at the front of the church is a yellow colour, part of its new coat of paint. Jake thought he’d be repainting them. Here’s a view of the church with its yellow domes. Sarto is on Provincial Road 205.

As I drove east along 205, I saw a number of unusual small buildings along the road about a mile west of Hwy #12. They turned out to be elaborate sheds. Called estate sheds, they are definitely not the kind you buy at Canadian Tire. Some resembled cabins, others playhouses and barns. All the designs had certain delightful, whimsical features.  Two guys were working assembling one of the cabin sheds in the heat. Henry and Ernie told me they came prefab and there are dozens of styles to choose from. All styles have double doors, either on the side or front, to easily access the shed and move equipment in and out.

The company is Triman Estates Mini Sheds in Neepawa, MB who can special order the sheds from Miller’s Storage Barns in the U. S. They come in dozens of sizes and shapes, colours and you can even customize them yourself. Find out more about the company at http://www.playmorswingsets.com/playmor-swingset-dealer/triman-estate-mini-sheds.

Three kms south of Steinbach next to Hwy #12 is St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. You can’t miss the tiny white chapel with the red roof, pointed Gothic windows and tall skinny steeple. In back of the church under shady oaks rest dozens of local parishioners.

The beach at St. Malo Provincial Park was thronged with sunbathers, swimmers, beach volleyball players and people escaping the heat.

This memorial to the deceased who have been shuffled around while the modern world “progresses” can be seen next to provincial road 311 half a km south of its junction with Hwy 59.

Here’s its B-side.

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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Roadside Attractions

St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko, MB

Reid Dickie

A one-of-a-kind example of two Ukrainian churches in the same churchyard – one original, the other succeeding – can be discovered in Sirko in extreme southeastern Manitoba, about a mile from the Minnesota border.

The original St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church, of log construction, was built in a vernacular style in 1908 under the direction of Dmytro Waskul. Its small rounded rectangular plan accommodates the vestibule at one end and sanctuary at the other. Its delightfully painted interior can hold about 30 standing adults.

The unusual roofline with deep overhanging eaves supported by large V-brackets and trisected at the ends to produce a curved space is fully engaging. The three crosses along the peak of the roof leave no doubt as to the function of the little place.

Next to the old church is a log bell tower of traditional Ukrainian design and construction.

Modest, holy and surrounded by the graves of former parishioners, many with tall white crosses denoting their Orthodox faith, the old church shares its sanctity with its replacement.

Indicating the success of the second generation of Ukrainians, they replaced their humble utilitarian building in 1950 with a grander expression of their faith.

Larger and more substantial, the style is familiar: cruciform with three small banyas or onion domes, one surmounting a larger central dome and arched Romanesque openings all around.

A new bell tower was constructed along with the church. In this picture you can see both churches and both bell towers. The new St. Elias, a focal point of the local farming community, is still used regularly.

Blue on blue, white on white, the church and sky harmonize on a hot Manitoba afternoon.

Watch my 3:08 video of both St. Elias churches.

Sirko is located about five miles south of MB Hwy #201 on Mile Rd 54E just east of Sundown.

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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Public Washroom, 113 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Need a little shelter from the storm? Or just a clean washroom? Ummm…this stop on our trip down Carberry’s Memory Lane might be worth forgetting.

Reid Dickie

Yeah, I’m including this building in the series because some heritage geeks feel it adds to the heritage character of Carberry’s main drag. I agree. It could…if it was maintained. I visited the men’s room in the public washroom in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 and it was filthy both times! I mean so dirty and unkept that I walked out without using it! Come on Carberry! If you are going to tout this brick shed as part of your heritage district then take some pride. Your ancestors certainly would have run it better.

As grungy as it is, Carberry’s Public Washroom, which was built in 1983, stems from the long and benevolent tradition of comfort stations in small towns. Most prairie towns had a comfort station, often administered and run by The Women’s Institute, an organization that, before the days of easy communication, supplied country women with the latest home-making ideas including childcare, recipes, food preparation and storage.

In the times of early town building there were no service stations or restaurants with public access to washrooms so the comfort station was a boon to women traveling into town, perhaps in a buggy over rough trails or on foot with babes in arms, and needing a place to rest, relax and clean up. Comfort stations were sometimes referred to as “the most humane institution in the village” Additionally, they satisfied the need for female companionship, sharing and self-respect. Some comfort stations offered coffee, small meals and even lending libraries to their patrons.

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Davidson Building, 109 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The tenth building in our series on Carberry’s historic main drag is a doozy!

Carberry’s local history book states this is among the earliest buildings in town, “established” in 1883. Situated strategically at Main Street and Third Avenue, a major intersection, the Robertson Block, as it was originally known, has displayed its two full facades which demonstrate deft design and skilful brickwork for almost 130 years.  It’s showing its age, mainly with discoloration and the deteriorating stucco job, but still holds its own in commanding attention and supporting the street’s heritage prestige.

This earlier picture (1960s?) of the block shows the detailed brickwork on both faces along with the elaborate design of the main floor facade.

This brick two-storey, supported by a stone foundation, has a flat roof with a delightful roofline of stepped parapets, raised pilaster capitals and tall chimneys visible due its corner location. The side view facing Third Avenue has a three-bay designation, each bay corresponds to a step in the roofline, is bisected with a pilaster and has an increasing number of arched windows with drip moulding.

The Main Street facade’s upper floor features fine Romanesque details set, with masterful symmetry, into three bays. Here Romanesque design is represented in the segmental-arched windows, the raised brick drip moulding over them, the corbelled (stepped brick) cornice bracketing the arcade of sweet arches below the pediment. Pure poetry lovingly written in brick!

The building is substantial, more so now that it incorporates the one-storey structure next door into its current use. The one-storey has been used as a movie theatre and garage and now as part of the grocery store. It was The Palace movie theatre starting in 1940 when bought by Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Baldwin. It played to packed houses every night with R. A. F. training personnel. In 1953 Muriel and Gordon McPhail purchased the theatre and made improvements. As with many rural movie houses, TV put the kibosh on The Palace. Its last incarnation was known as North Cypress Theatre.

During its thirteen decades, the corner building has housed pioneer merchants, implement dealers, butchers, rental meat lockers, a World War II service club for personnel stationed at the RAF flying school that operated nearby and a grocery. In its early incarnation as the A. Robertson Block, the two-storey store housed Robertson’s Furniture Store for many years. Later it became a butcher shop run by W. D. McMillan who sold it in 1964 to Ken Davidson, another butcher. Davidson’s Meats offered locker plant services to Carberry residents before home freezers became available in the late 1950s. Today, durably, it is still Davidson’s Meats and Grocery thus earning its current moniker The Davidson Building.

Just before they were married in the summer of 1918, Pa Tuckett rented a pretty little cottage on Dufferin Street in Carberry for him and his new bride. That fall he added a white picket fence. Alex Robertson had his furniture store in this building at the time so Pa and Amelia bought furniture for their first house. They only bought the basics: a table, two chairs, one lamp and, of course, a bed.

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Two Bridges Over the Roseau

Reid Dickie

One of my heritage projects this summer is to photograph and film as many interesting bridges as I can find. The two train bridges a few posts back were the start of the series. The next episode in “Spanning Something in Manitoba” offers two bridges over the same river, the Roseau River in southern Manitoba.

The Roseau River is a relatively short (344 km) river whose headwaters are in northern Minnesota and which drains into the Red River west of Dominion City, thus part of the Hudson Bay watershed. The Roseau can carry a lot of water some springs and often floods the surrounding area which includes numerous First Nations. By mid-August 2012 it is a sluggish shallow pond lumbering toward its destiny.

At Gardenton, MB this wooden truss bridge spans the Roseau River. Built in 1918 using a model called the Howe truss, the relatively rare Howe truss, patented in 1840 by Massachusetts millwright William Howe, includes vertical members and diagonals that slope up towards the center. The diagonal web members are in compression and the vertical web members are in tension. Since the Howe truss can support heavy loads over long distances, it was hugely popular for railroad bridges. The Gardenton bridge replaced irregular ferry service and introduced a new and efficient method to move people and goods. The bridge has been designated a municipal heritage site.

A few miles downstream from the truss bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Roseau. Located northwest of the village of Roseau River in the Senkiw area, this swinging bridge was built in 1946 to allow school children to get to Senkiw school across the river. It was badly damaged in the 1950 flood and fell into disrepair after the school closed in 1967. Restored in 2000, it has been deemed a municipal heritage site.

About 140 feet long by my paces, the bridge has just enough sway and swing to make it interesting. The infrastructure that acts as footing and supports for the cables is an example of country thrift and ingenuity. The large round metal rollers with the spikes around which the cables are wound and held are threshing machine cylinders which pounded the stooks releasing the grain. In their new life secured upright against the prairie sky and wrapped in steel cables, the cylinders become sculptural symbols evoking ancient and future regimes of rust.

Suspension bridges are relatively rare in Manitoba. The swinging bridge in Souris, MB is the best known one although today, it is non-existent until a new one is built for the summer 2013.

Click now to watch my 3.75 minute video on these bridges.

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Filed under Bridges, Day Tripping, Manitoba Heritage, Natural Places

Bricks, Stones and So On Along Reid’s Road

Reid Dickie

“Speed River, take me away, Speed River, take me away.” – Gord Downie

“Life is a journey and where you are going is HERE and when you arrive is NOW.” – Ram Dass

The Arcades of Hartney

In downtown Hartney, MB, prominent on a corner, stands this lovely old two-storey brick building. The series of arches formed by the brickwork under the cornice is called an arcade and Hartney has several arcades that attracted my heritage geekeye. You know the one.

Anyway, this is a particularly precise arcade, mixed and measured into the corbelled brickwork which continues along the exposed side of the place. The craftsmanship of the masonry overall on the building is exceptional, the crown on the end pilasters an excellent example.

Today its broad showroom windows light the Hart (ney) – Cam (eron RM) Museum. Incidentally, this building served as the bank location in an entertaining little movie called The Lookout Try to watch it.

Just down the block from the museum is another arcade. Cruelly painted and indulging itself in mid-peel mode, the brickwork still shines through. If you click and zoom the pic you can see that the original intent of the artisan who laid this arcade cannot be diminished by mere paint and hue.

Right next to the museum is another fine brick structure prompting awe with its deft and detailed design and execution. The three arches over the rounded windows form a sweeping, open arcade that gives the facade breath and life, “articulating and disambiguating the fenestration of the ground floor.” The main floor is a whole other study in arches, dominant and submissive, abetted by alluring brickwork. That’s another post for another late night.

Corbelling, dentils and aviated keystones enhance the arcade, the quality of the craftsmanship still evident and whole, a century after construction.

Wooden trestle bridge from abandoned rail line next to Hwy #23 just east of Elgin, MB with sunflowers as far as you can see. August 2012

No, it’s the family name.

Miniota Main Street Brickwork 

I am always attracted to exceptional brickwork, especially when it contrasts with the metal cladding favoured in many towns. The skyline of Miniota has a few shapes that resonate back to its birth and subsequent enterprise, its boomtown moment, a worthy endeavour and one to be encouraged elsewhere. 

One side of Miniota’s main drag has a series of facade rooflines that are replicated in brick. As in this picture, there are pointed and rounded shapes using header dentils and cornice, soft corbelling and interesting finishes and colour choices.

Just down the block two more one-storey  brick commercial buildings constructed around the same time with the rounded brickwork and again interesting finishes.

Down the street is this official looking building with the pointed facade and the infrequent double dentil, the corner stepped-brick brackets, again infrequent and the American bond of the bricks inside the surmounting pediment, contrasting with the running bond of the rest of the pile. It has a story or two to tell, I would say.

Yup, usta be Uno. Just one house and this sign now.

Out there, lonesome, Mansard roof tumbledown, howling wind, rotting, swallows, lightning-ready, the rods, gulps, stones, falling away, sunken, sunk. Find it along MB Hwy 21 south of Hartney. Expect more visually inspired stuff from this place…all hush, hush for now!

No clue! You?

More restoration work happening in Spruce Woods Park after last summer’s devastating flood. These are straw mats held down with webbing meant to restore some green growth along the road to stabilize the ditches. The thick grey floodcake that covered large areas of the park left by last year’s floodwaters has been hauled away and these mats secured in place.

 Some growth is already occurring. I’ll report later in summer on the progress of this method.

I’m always on the road, passing back and forth through the vanishing point, getting out of the mighty Avenger, smelling the fresh prairie breezes, feeling the hot sun on my flesh, always curious about what’s around the next corner, ever seeking the ‘what was that?!’ moment and often finding it. Every mile a safe mile.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Roadside Attractions

700 Posts

Reid Dickie

Rather than do the obvious and tout my 700th post on this blog when it occurred, I made the post something substantial and left the hoo-haw until 701, here, now.

I started this blog on December 11, 2010, about 20 months ago. The average number of posts, based on 700, is just over one post a day for the duration. I have amazed myself at the sheer volume and variety of information I’ve offered here, the creativity and the heightening of awareness the experience has evoked and the response from friends and world strangers. Special bold “Hey Youse” to the world strangers. Drop me a line some more.

Coincidentally, my traffic count for the blog is about to surpass 150,000 hits, averaging about 250 per day since December 2010. Again I am amazed at, grateful for and humbled by this response. Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog once or more. Thank you to the regulars who have subscribed to this extension of my body, mind and spirit. Thank you to the faithful and scornful readers, the doubters and the believers, the ones who know the secret of the trance and the ones who don’t. Thank you for all the perfect moments.

My friend Terry keeps checking with me to see how I’m doing for “content” for this blog and I always reassure him, there’s enough, always enough.

Unbound curiosity and the means to satisfy it – the perfect charm. I am such a lucky man and grateful every day. I refuse to rust out. I will burn out. Flow with my flame. Reid

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Request for Rooster Town Information

I received this comment from Lawrence Barkwell of the Manitoba Metis Federation:

A welcome addition to our knowledge of Winnipeg. The Louis Riel Institute and Institute of Urban Studies are beginning a study on Metis community life in Rooster Town, and wish to contact people who lived there or had relatives living there. Contact Lawrence Barkwell at 586-8474 (ext 298) lbarkwell@mmf.mb.ca to participate.

 In the past I have posted about Rooster Town and what it meant to Winnipeg. There is plenty of misinformation about Rooster Town so it’s good to see someone is trying to clarify the events from this era in the city’s history.

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Filed under Accommodations, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Winnipeg

Art Moderne Texaco Station Update

Reid Dickie

Nothing says turn up the tunes, point her toward the vanishing point and step on it like an old Texaco filling station!

Previously I have posted about the Art Moderne Texaco filling station in my hometown in western Manitoba and its designer, Walter Teague. I have few old pictures of the place as it appeared back in its heyday as the Texaco gas station in Shoal Lake. Today it still serves relatively the same purpose. The garage and tire repair are gone, replaced with a convenience store called Central S. You can get gas, wash your car and buy a Pepsi, too. Plunked down in the middle of town, it is still the best location in Shoal Lake.

I recently took pictures of how the structure looks these days. Even though it is completely covered in grey vertical cladding, almost every detail from its original design can still be seen on the building. The rounded corners on the building, the roof and entrance, the prominent stepped signage, the symmetrical windows where the garage doors were, the darker trim at the cornice and around the projecting sign, all still visible, all smooth and optimistic, all telling you that the future is bright! Despite the matching grey Manitoba sky beyond, the colour has a warmth, an inviting neutrality. I had forgotten that the building isn’t square on the lot. “It’s squee gee,” as Mom would say. It doesn’t parallel the facing street, The Drive, but tilts slightly toward the intersecting Station Road, Shoal Lake’s main drag.

The 21st century mists of Art Moderne still lurk about the old place, passing along pleasing reminders of gentler, less-preoccupied times to anyone who can slow down and notice them. Take a deep Art Moderne breath, old friend. You’ve earned it.

I will add this update to the original post on Texaco Art Moderne filling stations and Walter Teague.

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Two Trains Running, Two Trestles Standing

Reid Dickie

The trestle bridge in the picture above is outside Uno in western Manitoba. The bridge spans Minnewashtack Creek just before it joins the Assiniboine River. The surrounding valley of the two rivers is spectacular this year with lush green growth everywhere.  The Uno bridge, 1533 feet long, is supported by steel trestles. On average one train an hour crosses it. Access to the Uno bridge is off MB Hwy #83. On K Hill Road, drive two miles west of Beulah, MB, turn south for 1.5 miles, turn west for about a mile. In Uno, cross the tracks and turn left. In a kilometre or so the trestle bridge will arise on your left. There appears to be one occupied house left in Uno, appropriate I’d say.

This much more modest trestle bridge spans the CNR mainline about five miles east of the steel trestle, again off Hwy #83 outside of Miniota, MB. Made entirely of wood,  this bridge gives access to farms, the Silver Bend Trail and the Wakpa Tanka Lookout site. The driving surface, also wooden, is basically two ramps and a flat joining section. This trestle bridge is located west of MB Hwy #83 north of Miniota. Watch for the Wakpa Tanka site signs by the highway. Click on either picture to watch my video of trains passing over and under both trestle bridges.

I filmed another freight train going under the trestle bridge from on top of the bridge. Watch the 3:40 video here.

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Filed under Bridges, Day Tripping, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Trains

Souris Will Swing Again – 2012 Update

Reid Dickie

A year ago, in the summer of 2011, the Souris River wreaked havoc on the little town that bears its name (Souris means ‘mouse’ in French) leaving its valley and many amenities in ruins, including the town’s main tourist draw, the swinging bridge, a historic achievement but a small nightmare for people with height and balance issues.

This year plans have been set to rebuild the historic swinging bridge: footings in by the fall and cabled spanning completed when the river freezes. It’s good news for the beleaguered little town.

In my August 9, 2012 video report find out what’s up with Souris’ free-range peacock community and know, just know in your heart, that the Sowden Castle, now Hillcrest Museum, is filled with provocative and precious relics that resonate from all our pale-face pasts as the ancestors ventured onto the broad western frontier. Feel the wind burning your face, squint at the unbelievable brightness of the sun (sans chem trails) and feel the deep down sacredness of your own flesh, your own moment. To watch my video update on the swinging bridge, peacocks and peahens (say it out loud) and the Sowden Castle click the pic of the peahens (say it out loud again, go on, you want to) below.

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