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
8: Southern Hamlets, Villages, and Towns
Click for chapter introduction
Two factors—railway lines and the DLS system— influence the location and form of settlements in southern Manitoba. Most settlements are located on railway lines, and many have a characteristic T-shape with the bar of the T being a road that parallels the railway line and the stem being a major road at right angles to the line. This shape occurs in the smallest of hamlets (e.g. Coulter) as well as towns (e.g. Carberry) and cities (e.g. Brandon).
The arrangement can produce a road orientation that is at an angle to the squares of the DLS (e.g. Hartney and Dauphin). Other settlements have a road system that harmonizes with the DLS into which the urban pattern is slotted, with roads trending north/south and east/west (e.g. Rapid City and Shoal Lake). In a few cases the direction of the railway line is directly east/west or north/south so that roads that are parallel, and at right angles, to it also harmonize with the DLS. Other settlements have an older part in which roads are oriented with respect to the railway line and a newer part in which roads harmonize with the DLS (e.g. Holland and Elkhorn). Finally, a few newer settlements (Shilo, Wasagaming and Pinawa) have no direct connection with a railway line, nor do roads harmonize with the DLS, other factors such as natural features and the whim of planners determining road directions.
Virden (population 3,010 in 2006) is yet another town where the road pattern is dictated by the railway. The town is located west of the Assiniboine River 1 with Assiniboine tributaries Scallion Creek 2, Bosshill Creek 3, and Gopher Creek 4 flowing through or near it.
In shape, it is similar to Hartney. The CP line runs northwest/southeast through the centre of town 5, and roads parallel to it and at right angles to it occupy most of section 22, township 10, range 26 WI outlined on the overlay. Elevators are located along the line 6 that splits in the northwest 7. A long abandoned line enters the town from the south 8.
Roads are also prominent. The Trans-Canada Highway bypasses Virden to the north 9. Northeast of Virden it is a divided highway 10 with service roads parallel to it 11. PR 259 12 crosses the area to the north with an unusual—for southern Manitoba—hairpin bend where it climbs out of the Assiniboine Valley 13. PR 257 is located west of town 14.
Various elements of Virden’s infrastructure can be identified: a centrally located park 15, a racetrack 16 and arena 17, a cemetery 18, and a drive-in cinema 19.[i] To the north are rather primitive runways 20 with associated buildings 21.
Virden is Manitoba’s oil capital,[ii] and a few small oilfields are located in the area. Scattered over much of the photo are light-toned patches 22 with light-toned lines 23 connecting them. These are wellheads with “grasshopper” like pumps connected by underground pipes carrying oil to storage areas.
Figure 8.22: Virden
Vertical air photograph: A20470-50
Flight height: 21,900 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 6 inches
Scale: 1:40,000 (approx.)
Date: May 21, 1968
Location: Township 10; Range 26 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62F Virden
1:50,000 62F/15 Virden
[i] During the 1960s and 1970s virtually every small settlement in Manitoba had a drive-in cinema located near its fringe.
[ii] For details see Young, H. R. “Mining and Extractive Industries in Manitoba” in The Geography of Manitoba: Its Land and Its People eds. J. Welsted, J. Everitt and C. Stadel. Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1996, 237-250.