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 AssiniboineRiver 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.
7.7: The DLS System (First System) Near Moore Park North of Brandon
In the DLS system townships are numbered north from the 49th parallel. In Manitoba, ranges are numbered west and east from the Principal Meridian which is at 97º27'28.4” West,[i] just west of Winnipeg. Each township is divided into 36 sections, each of which is nominally 640 acres in size with 160-acre quarter sections. In the First System there are 99-foot road allowances around each section that are numbered consecutively from 1 to 36 beginning in the southeast corner.
This high-level, small-scale photograph of part of the Minnedosa-Reston Till Plain shows all of township 13, range 17 WI and parts of surrounding townships. The overlay shows the section numbers. In this area the topography is such that little interferes with the regular arrangement of sections. Several sections are clearly divided into quarter sections, the clearest example being section 21 1. In most cases gravel roads (light-toned) have been constructed along section lines, the exceptions being indicated by dashed lines on the overlay. Between sections 4 and 5 the road deviates from the section line to avoid a slough 2. The whole area is dotted with small sloughs, some dark in tone 3 whereas others are almost white 4 due to specular reflection.
The only settlement in this sparsely populated agricultural area is Moore Park 5 located on the Canadian Pacific Railway line 6. Further north is the Canadian National Railway line 7 which causes a minor deflection of the road in section 32 8. In the south is a discontinuous light-toned line 9 that is probably an underground pipeline.
Figure 7.7: The DLS System (First System) Near Moore Park North of Brandon
Vertical air photograph: A21666-181
Flight height: 22,240 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 85.611 mm
Scale: 1:80,000 (approx.)
Date: July 21, 1970
Location: Township 12, 13, and 14; Ranges 16, 17, and 18 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62J Neepawa
1:50,000 62 J/4 Moore Park
[i] It is suggested that the Principal Meridian is located here because this was the distance surveyors could travel from Winnipeg and back in one day.