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.
This image of an area about 8 miles (13 km) east-northeast of Neepawa illustrates the influence of even very minor landforms on route ways and settlements in southern Manitoba. At least six Lake Agassiz strandlines 1 are visible, the highest and therefore oldest of which is the Arden Ridge 2. Sand/gravel pits have been excavated into it 3 as well as into two lower strandlines 4. The Whitemud River 5 flowing eastward from Riding Mountain is deflected southward 6 by the Arden Ridge, which it does not cross until a point south of this location. Likewise, Snake Creek 7 is deflected south to join the Whitemud River. The CP line (now abandoned) used to follow the ridge 8 before veering off to the west 9. The small settlement of Arden 10, whose symbol is the prairie crocus, which grows well on the sandy soils developed on the strandlines, is located in the centre of the image. It is located on the Arden Ridge mainly along two roads 11 that parallel the railway line.
Google image 2006, Google Digital Globe
Scale: 1:35,200 (approx.)
Date: pre 2006
Location: Township 7; Ranges 13 and 14WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62J Neepawa
1:50,000 62J/6 Arden