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Chapter 16: Water Resources

16.44: Flooding at Brandon in 1955

The City of Brandon has a history of flooding dating from its earliest days; the original location of the settlement at Grand Valley just off the photo to the east was flooded in 1881 and 1882. Soon after, residents either abandoned their homes or moved businesses to the new site of Brandon selected by the CPR on the dry south side of the river 1.[i] The present city is located partly in the Assiniboine Spillway, which has a steep north side (known locally as the North Hill) 2 and a more gentle south side. As the spillway floor is susceptible to flooding, most residential and commercial development is now located outside this area, mainly to the south 3. In 1955 there was little development north of the river 4, but the situation has changed dramatically in recent years.

The photo shows the situation on May 18, 1955 at which time most of the spillway floor was flooded. Floodwaters 5 appear a light-grey tone because they are sediment laden. In some places the Assiniboine River channel can be seen 6, outlined by woodland 7, but in others the channel is difficult to locate 8. Flood waters are bounded by roads and dikes in several locations: 1) in the northwest, floodwaters are delimited by a dike 9; 2) further east the Grand Valley Road 10, which misleadingly does not lead to the old settlement of Grand Valley east of the present city, marks the northern extent of floodwaters; 3) further east Manitoba Avenue hinders the northward spread 11; 4) First Street 12, which curves around a meander, stops water spreading east; and 5) south of the river a dike between 26th Street and 3rd Street 13[ii] protects land to the south. In this protected area a former branch of the river (locally called The Snye) 14 is marked by dark-toned water, dark because it is not moving and therefore not sediment laden. The floodwaters are constricted between the Grand Valley Road 10 and the southern dike 15 increasing the flood water level to the west.

Other points of note on this photo are 1) very few residences exist in the flooded area; 2) 18th Street was flooded at the time 16, so entrance into the city from the north was restricted to First Street 17; 3) in 1955 most residential and commercial development was located on the gentle south side of the spillway 18; 4) the two railway lines CP 19 and CN 20 both avoid the flooded area; and 5) part of a golf course is seen in the west 21; about 9 holes are visible, the rest are on the flood plain and therefore inundated 22.

Figure 16.44: Flooding at Brandon in 1955

Figure 16.44: Flooding at Brandon in 1955

Figure 16.44

Air photograph: A15215-145

Flight height: 17,940 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.60 mm

Scale: 1:31,700 (approx.)

Date: May 18, 1955

Location: Township 10; Ranges 18 and 19WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon

                    1:50,000 62G/13 Brandon

                    1:25,000 62G/13d Brandon 


[i] For details see Welsted J. “Brandon and the Assiniboine River” in Brandon: Geographical Perspectives on the Wheat City eds, J. Welsted, J. Everitt and C. Stadel. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1988, 9-35.

[ii] Welsted, J. op. cit. 1988, plate 2.1, 18.