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Manitoba from the Air
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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.


[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.

Figure 8.22