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Chapter 7: Survey 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

Figure 7.2: Long Lots at St. Francois Xavier on the Assiniboine River

Figure 7.2

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.