Tag Archives: heritage under duress

Manitoba Heritage Under Duress

Reid Dickie

I was going through my photographs of  Manitoba heritage sites and came across this piece of Manitoba heritage that was lost to vandals in 2004.

Glenboro Canadian Pacific Railway Water Tower, Railway Avenue, Glenboro, MB


The very best example of an octagonal wooden railway water tower in Manitoba stood beside the tracks from 1904 until its destruction by arson in 2008. This design, the Standard No. 1 Plan was pioneered by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1903 and quickly became part of the Manitoba landscape. Between 1902 and 1925, the CPR constructed 75 water towers in the province every 80 kms (50 miles) which was how far a steam train could travel before needing water.

The Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism offers further details on the site: Constructed in 1904, the Glenboro structure is the best surviving example of an intact, fully-equipped water tower in Manitoba. The adjacent pumphouse fed water to the tank inside the water tower. A coal-burning boiler powered an interior water pump and prevented the water in the tank from freezing. In 1939 this pumping mechanism was replaced by an electric motor and pump installed inside the tower. A ball, or “float”, glided along a pole atop the tower to indicate the level of the water in the tank. The cedar water tank, with a capacity of 181,840 litres (40,000 gallons) of water, rests upon a framework of large wooden support timbers. By the late 1950s, the railway companies converted to diesel-powered locomotives which made the water structures obsolete. This tower once stored the community water supply for the Village of Glenboro.

Alas, the old water tower was burned to the ground by arsonists in April, 2008 and its rich and consequential heritage value went up in  smoke. Several other fires were set in Glenboro the same night. Glenboro is plagued by a firebug who set several fires previous to the destruction of the water tower and since, recently in the summer of 2011.

Because of the in situ value of heritage sites, they are often in an isolated area without close human habitation or they are vulnerable due to lack of physical protection. Another Manitoba heritage site that has recently been vandalized is the Criddle Vane homestead near Shilo. The old house Percy Criddle built in the late 1800s today stands empty and open, its windows smashed and replaced with plexiglas. My post on the Criddle Vane homestead is here and you can watch my video tour of the house and surrounding area here.

You might also be interested in the research done by Westman Paranormal which has recorded some of the spirit events inside the Criddle Vane house.   

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Filed under Heritage Buildings, Local History, Manitoba Heritage

Manitoba Heritage Building – Octagonal Grain Silo

Reid Dickie


As often happens to heritage sites the octagonal silo is gone, torn down in late summer along with most of the old barn and the other outbuilding.


I have written about these rare, precious and beautiful relics from our prairie past elsewhere on this blog. A fine example of an octagonal grain silo stands in a farm yard just west of Hwy #5 a mile north of Carberry. Accompanying the silo are several other old farm buildings, all likely built around the same time, circa 1885-95. The silo has most of its original detailing including the little roof extending over the ascending openings, the small dormer for ventilation and a wooden pinnacle at the roofpoint. Well-built, this one stands relatively straight considering it has been buffeted by prevailing northwesterly winds for over a hundred years. Sharing the same yard with the silo are a couple of old barns of the same era. As you can see, one unusual barn has a square section topped with a small square tower. This is the opposite end of the building behind the silo. Still lived in, a beautiful buff brick two-storey house stands in the neatly mowed yard. Apparently none of these buildings has any heritage designation or protection although, due to their rarity, condition and site, the silo and barns merit recognition. Today they are heritage under duress. Without some form of acknowledgement, it is likely these buildings will all disappear from the prairie landscape, replaced with monoculture.

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Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers