Table of Contents
2: Location, Borders, and Lakes
3: Geologic Structure and Landforms
6: Pre-historic and Early Historic Settlements
7: Survey Systems
8: Southern Hamlets, Villages, and Towns
9: Mennonite and Hutterite Settlements
10: First Nations Settlements
11: Northern Settlements
12: The Southern Cities
13: Mining and Oil Extraction
15: Industry / Manufacturing
16: Water Resources
17: Parks, Recreation, Sports
18: Transport and Communications: Past and Present
19: Legal Issues and Law Enforcement
18: Transport and Communications: Past and Present
Click for chapter introduction
By virtue of its coastline along Hudson Bay, Manitoba is a maritime province. Churchill is its only port handling a few ships in late summer each year. In the past river and lake transport was important, and, although there is still some on Lake Winnipeg, there is none on Manitoba’s rivers. Several ferries used to cross lakes and rivers; the location of some of them can be seen on old air photos. Winter roads cross frozen ground and frozen lakes in winter, but as nearly all air photos are taken during the summer, the roads are not readily located, although in a few cases scars left by the roads are observed.
In the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century, numerous railway lines criss-crossed southern Manitoba influencing the location and layout of villages and towns. Railway lines are very sensitive to gradients, and in many cases the topography dictates that a line takes something other than the shortest route. Railway line abandonment dominated the second half of the 20th century, but although a route may have been abandoned many years ago, its former location is obvious on air photos.
Roads have to some extent replaced the railway lines. They have a general east/west alignment (the Trans-Canada Highway No. 1, The Yellowhead Route No. 16, PTH 2 and PTH 3) or north/south alignment (PTH 10 and PTH 5). The main sources of electricity are in the southeast and the north. Power lines carry electricity to most parts of the province. They can be seen on air photos especially where they cut through wooded land. Similarly the routes followed by oil and gas pipelines are identifiable because when they are buried the soil is disturbed to result in a different tone or colour than the surrounding land, a variation that is easily detected on air photos. The topography of southern Manitoba lends itself to easy construction of airports, hence the location of the Commonwealth Air Training Programme airports in southern Manitoba—as well as other parts of the prairies. For a time in the second half of the 20th century, virtually every small town had an airport or landing strip. Many have been abandoned, but they still stand out on air photos. Landing strips are especially important to northern communities.
18.3: Topographic Influence on Railway and Road Directions Near Miami
Following the building of the CP railway line through southern Manitoba, numerous other east/west lines, with connecting north/south lines, were constructed, mainly to service the grain trade. Many settlements in southern Manitoba owe their existence to the arrival of the railway. By about 1900 there were enough lines, and after that there was over-building with the result that soon afterwards rail line abandonment started. From 1952 onwards many lines were abandoned, but these lines left their mark on the landscape that can be seen to this day. Various aspects of railway lines are shown in the following photos.
Construction of railway lines at great speed and in straight lines was possible at only a few locations across the prairies. Railways are intolerant of steep slopes, and strategies were adopted to avoid these wherever possible.
Shown on this photo is the steep, wooded eastern edge of the Assiniboine Delta 1 that is dissected by several small eastward-flowing stream valleys 2. East of the delta edge is a prominent, northwest/southeast Agassiz strandline 3. These topographic features influence the direction of transport routes in the area. Two east/west railway lines are just visible. In the north, a line runs east/west 4 through Roseisle 5, and then veers southwest along a wooded valley 6 to avoid the steep edge of the delta front. In the south an east/west line 7 through Miami 8 veers northwest along a strandline 9, then west to the edge of the delta 10 where it makes a large loop northward 11 and then south 12 to minimize the gradient as it crosses the delta edge.
Two major east/west roads can be seen; PR 245 is straight 13 except for a southward bend across the delta edge 14. In the south PTH 23 cuts diagonally across a section 15—possibly to avoid a small creek valley to the south 16. Northwest of Miami a discontinuous secondary road follows a strandline 17.
Figure 18.3: Topographic Influence on Railway and Road Directions Near Miami
Vertical air photograph: A21668-10
Flight height: 22,360 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 85.611 mm
Scale: 1:79,000 (approx.)
Date: July 21, 1970
Location: Township 5 and 6; Ranges 6, 7 and 8WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon
1:50,000 62G/8 Miami