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Chapter 12: The Southern Cities

12.6: Steinbach



The cultural heritage of the City of Steinbach is very different from that of Dauphin (figures 12.3, 12.4, 12.5). It was established in 1878 by Mennonite families in the Eastern Mennonite Reserve and has grown to a thriving regional service centre. “In addition to its agricultural based services such as feed mills, milk and cheese processing plants, poultry plant, etc., it has developed a thriving automobile sales industry, which competes strongly with that in Winnipeg.”[i] It grew steadily in population to around 5,000 in 1972 to 8,478 in 1996, 9,227 in 2001, and 11,066 in 2006 making it the largest Mennonite settlement in Manitoba. It is home to the Mennonite Museum and the Mennonite Bible College. It is located near the southeastern edge of the Lake Agassiz Plain with good agricultural soils around it giving rise to its agricultural processing industries.

The area shown on the photo lies across the boundary between townships 6 and 7, a correction line. Since the area is east of the Principal Meridian (in range 6E) the jog of about 400 feet (122 m) is to the east rather than west as in most cases discussed previously.

Like Dauphin the main part of Steinbach lies in a single section—section 35, township 6, range 6E outlined on the photo. Also, part of this section has northwest/southeast and northeast/southwest trending roads, with other parts having roads that harmonize with the DLS system. However, the reason for this is quite different from in Dauphin. Here there is no railway line: in fact Steinbach is the only major settlement in Manitoba that is not on a railway line. The reason for the road orientation in the centre of section 35 is that “the Mennonites who came to southern Manitoba after 1874 to occupy lands reserved for them, established the agglomerated farm-operator village types of settlement that they had known in South Russia. Twenty farmers lived in the village of Steinbach, tilled strips in the various parts of the village lands and shared in the community pasture. Only the outside boundaries of the village lands and the size of the total unit (each of the twenty farmers had a 160 acre homestead to contribute to a common pool) were determined by the section survey and the government land policy.[ii] Some of the tilled strips of land were oriented at right angles to Steinbach Creek 1 that flowed from southeast to northwest through section 35. Although the strips are no longer tilled, the orientation is preserved with present-day roads running parallel and at right angles to the original strip. Steinbach Creek has been channelized, but its route can be seen because it is not straight like the roads round about it. North of section 35 it is hard to trace but can be seen in section 3, township 7, range 6E 2. The road pattern on the fringes of section 35 is in harmony with the DLS system, as is the case in surrounding sections except for a small remnant of strip system in section 34, township 6, range 6E 3.

PTH 12 4 crosses this area from south to north with an eastward jog 5 at the correction line, north of which it becomes a divided highway 6. PTH 210 7 enters from the southeast and becomes the main street through the city 8. It exits to the west as a divided highway 9. The principal commercial area 10 is developed along the main street, identified as a light-toned area because of the absence of vegetation and the presence of large buildings 11. To the northeast 12 and southwest 13 are dark-toned residential areas with a running track 14 and a nearby school 15 in the extreme southwest of section 35.

Various items of the city’s infrastructure can be seen in surrounding sections:

1)     to the north, in 2/7/6E, are several large buildings 16 along PTH 12, probably related to the city’s automobile sales industry. Further north is a recreational area with baseball diamonds 17 and a golf course 18 which extends into the next section north.

2)     to the northwest, in 3/7/6E, are more large buildings 19, possibly shopping centres and an area of mobile homes west of highway 12 20; west of the mobile homes is a dark-toned circular area 21, a shape that is often associated with irrigation.

3)     to the west, in 34/6/6E, are some large buildings 22 south of PTH 52 with a residential area further south 23 with farmland to the west 24.

4)     to the southwest, in 27/6/6E, is a small residential area 25 with single-family homes and agricultural land to the west 26.

5)     to the south, in 26/6/6E, is a small residential area 27 with a school 28 and a church 29 in a typical location for some modern churches on a highway at the edge of town.

6)     to the southeast, in 25/6/6E, is a mobile home court 30.

7)     to the east, in 36/6/6E, are some large commercial buildings 31.

Figure 12.6: Steinbach

Figure 12.6: Steinbach


Figure 12.6

Vertical air photograph:

Flight height:    lens focal length:

Scale: 1:15,000 (approx.)

Date: 1994

Location: Townships 6 and 7, Range 6E

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H Winnipeg

                    1:50,000 62H/10 Ste Anne



[i] Farley, A. L. Trans-Canada Field Excursion Guide Book. Vancouver: University of British Columbia 1972; although the comment was made in 1972, it holds true today.

[ii] Warkentin J. and Ruggles R. I. op. cit. 1970, 344. Figure 160 is a map of Mennonite Farm Village Field Patterns in Steinbach.