Chapter 8: Southern Hamlets, Villages, and Towns
Two factors—railway lines and the DLS system— influence the location and form of settlements in southern
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.
Birtle is an example of a town in which an antecedent business centre was soundly established before the railroad arrived. The railroad, therefore, had to remain on the outskirts while at the same time the original business area managed to remain dominant.[i] On the photograph, the CP line can be seen north of town 1. Two elevators 2 can be seen on it, with just to the south a cluster of buildings 3 which probably house some rail-related industry.
The town is beautifully situated in the
Given the large scale of the photo several items of the town’s infrastructure are identifiable: two schools 8, a hospital 9, a racetrack 10, a cemetery 11, a sewage lagoon 12, and a primitive runway 13. The Birdtail Creek has been dammed 14, creating a lake 15 with recreational features around it. A long building on the north shore 16 is probably a motel.
In recent years Birtle’s population has dropped from a high of 887 in 1981 to 715 in 2001. In an effort to reverse the trend, the town placed advertisements in eastern Canadian newspapers enticing people to relocate here by emphasizing the very low cost of housing, the beautiful setting, and the relaxed atmosphere of rural living. It does not seem to have been successful because the population continued to drop, to 662 in 2006.
Figure 8.35: Birtle
Vertical air photograph: A20365-229
Flight height: 9,820 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 6 inches
Scale: 1:16,000 (approx.)
Date May 13, 1969
Location: Township 17; Ranges 26 and 27 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62 K Riding Mountain
1:50,000 62K/6 Birtle
[i] Warkentin, J. and Ruggles, R. I. Historical Atlas of