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Manitoba from the Air
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The Location of Carman


The Town of Carman is located on the Lake Agassiz plain with the Boyne River 1 flowing through it. The actual course of the river can be seen in some locations 2, but always its general location can be determined by the wooded land surrounding it 3. The Boyne is susceptible to flooding, and Carman was one of the first settlements mapped under the National Flood Damage Reduction Program. Since the photo was taken, the town has been bypassed by a floodway to the north.

Carman is another town with a street plain that has not been influenced by the railway line. Warkentin and Ruggles describe its development as follows : “The central business district is concentrated on Main [4] and Second Streets [5], and First Avenue [6]. Carman has been protected from the “railroad business street” model because of some special circumstances of railroad building in the 19th century. A settlement existed on the Boyne River before the railroads came to Manitoba. Then, in 1882, a charter was granted to the Manitoba and Southwestern Railway Company to build 50 miles of track in the direction of what is now Carman. At the end of the 50 miles the track was still six miles from present Carman, and a “tug of war” developed, with the railroad urging the merchants to move to rail head (at Barnsley [6 miles/9.6 km to the north]) and the merchants hoping to bring the railroad to Carman. Neither side gave in for six years, until the Northern Pacific Railway line was built westward from Morris to a point eight miles south of Carman and there was imminent danger that it might build a branch to Carman. Thereupon the Manitoba and Southwestern Railway, by that time a branch of the CPR, was extended south from Barnsley to Carman, but the central business area had in the meantime had time to develop and the village and therefore the railroad stayed on the north side of the built up area. Later it bypassed Carman in a great loop to the westward [7]. Some business places were established near the railroad yards, but that district remained a subsidiary centre.”[i]

In addition the CN line 8 passes east/west through Carman producing a railway zone, with elevators 9 and railway-associated activities separating the north and south of town. PTH 2 10 passes south of most of Carman with a limited amount of residential development to the south 11. Given the small scale of the photo not a lot of detail can be identified, but three of the standard items of small Manitoba towns are seen: a race course 12 west of town; a golf course 13 east of the race course, and a sewage lagoon to the northeast of town 14.

Carman is close enough to Winnipeg to be influenced by the capital, resulting in an increase in population in recent years—2704 in 1996, 2831 in 2001, 2,880 in 2006. It has the dubious distinction of having recorded, in July 2007, the highest humidex reading—53°C—ever recorded in Canada.



[i] Warkentin and Ruggles. op. cit., 1970, 372.

Figure 8.43

The Location of Carman