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
7: Survey Systems
Click for chapter introduction
Land holdings in most of southern Manitoba have been determined using one of two systems. The older long-lot system, derived from the St. Lawrence lowlands in Quebec, is found along the Red River, along the Assiniboine River west to Portage la Prairie, as well as in several other isolated areas. Lots were laid out at right angles to the river, resulting in a distinctive pattern easily observed on remotely sensed images. The DSL system, which divided land into one square mile sections, was applied to virtually all other areas. The resulting squared pattern is a prominent feature on remotely sensed images. Interesting situations occur where the two systems come into contact. The DLS system was amended several times, but in Manitoba there is evidence of only the first and third systems. Careful interpretation of air photos can reveal the differences between the two systems.
7.2: Long Lots at St. Francois Xavier on the Assiniboine River
The photograph shows the Assiniboine River 1 flowing across the Lake Agassiz Plain west of Winnipeg. The river meanders and has left six abandoned channels 2 of various ages. Several small drainage channels flow roughly parallel to the Assiniboine: First Creek 3, Second Creek 4, Third Creek 5, and Fourth Creek 6. The latter joins Sturgeon Creek 7 that has a straightened channel between embankments. All the other creeks have been straightened in some stretches 8. Most of the land is devoted to crop growing but patches of woodland—dark-toned—remain along the Assiniboine 9.
Long lots extend back from the Assiniboine both northeast 10 and southwest 11 of the river. North of the river are “four-mile deep river lots first occupied at St. Francois Xavier by the Métis about 1824.”[i] In the southwest, amalgamation has taken place so the fields are larger. The hamlet of St. Francois Xavier—now a Winnipeg dormitory community—shows linear development along PTH 26 12. Minor roads back from the highway follow the trend of the long lots 13. Settlement along some of these has produced a more nucleated settlement 14.
In the northeast, the strips of the long lot system impinge on the squares of the DLS, with a saw-toothed boundary between the two 15. This is also the northern boundary of the RM of St. Francois Xavier (with Rosser RM) that has the most distinctive shape of any of Manitoba’s 116 RMs. The principal meridian of the DLS system 16 runs just west of the hamlet of Rosser 17 located in the extreme northeast. Rosser is located on PR 221 18 as well as on the Canadian Pacific railway line 19. It is noticeable that in the area covered by the DLS system, one or two farms per section are located on road allowances at the edges of the sections 20 resulting in a very dispersed settlement pattern. The greatest concentration occurs where farmhouses are located in the adjacent corner of adjoining sections 21.
The twinned Trans-Canada Highway crosses the area in the south 22. Twinning is an important safety factor in difficult winter driving conditions. Crossings can be seen in several locations 23.
Figure 7.2: Long Lots at St. Francois Xavier on the Assiniboine River
Vertical air photograph: MB89021-6-153
Flight height: 30,800 feet a.s.l.: lens focal length: 152.86 mm
Date: April 19, 1988
Scale: 1:60,000 (approx.)
Location of the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway: 26: 49º 53' N, 97º 30' W
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62H Winnipeg
1:50,000 62H/13 Elie
[i] Warkentin, J. and Ruggles, R. I. Historical Atlas of Manitoba. Winnipeg: Manitoba Historical Society, 1970, 342.