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.
The location of the Village of Wawanesa in a meander loop of the Souris River 1 would seem to lend itself to something other than the standard grid pattern. Indeed some modifications do occur but the grid still dominates. The Canadian National line 2 follows a curved route along the meander neck, then crosses the Souris 3 and runs up the side of the incised valley. The route tries to avoid steep slopes, but still the construction of the line through Wawanesa was more difficult than most construction on the prairies and the line did not function for long: built in 1889, it was abandoned by 1984. Within Wawanesa are several sidings on one of which an elevator 4 is situated. An offshoot from PTH 2 5 passes through Wawanesa roughly parallel to the railway line, crossing the Souris just east of the railway bridge 6. During the spring flood of 1976 both bridges were washed out, and the railway bridge—no longer used by that date—was never replaced. The only way into town at the time was from the north by PR 340 7. Another road that defies the grid runs along the steep north bank of the Souris 8. However, this road is no longer used as part of it has disappeared due to slumping 9 and the rest is unsafe.
Other roads in the village run east/west or north/south, the main street 10 being slightly wider. Wawanesa’s chief claim to fame is that it is the headquarters of the Wawanesa Insurance Company. Established in 1896 to offer farmers protection against fire often caused by steam-driven thrashing machines, it has grown to be a worldwide organization. Officially the headquarters are still in Wawanesa, located in the large building at the south end of Main Street 11. Despite that, the village has never been large. Its population of 516 in 2001 increased to 535 in 2006 probably because it functions as a dormitory community for Brandon, 50 km (31 miles) to the north. An old-style school is located in the east 12 and a racetrack in the west 13. A weir 14 located on the Souris raises the water level for water supply, and poorly located sewage lagoons 15 can be seen above the valley wall.
Other linear features are, in the north, the Canadian Pacific line 16 and in the extreme south, PTH 2 17 that bypasses Wawanesa. The light-toned linear feature 18 crossing the southwest corner is a buried oil pipeline.
Figure 8.31: Wawanesa
Vertical air photograph: A23692-6
Flight height: 13,700 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 6 inches
Scale: 1:24,400 (approx.)
Date: May 12, 1974
Location: Township 7; Range 17 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon
1:50,000 62G/12 Wawanesa