THE BOUNDARY TRAIL HERITAGE REGION
Follow This Sign Along the Manitoba U.S. Border on #3 Highway
The towns, some have links to their sites, can be found below this map. This gives you a perfect opportunity to plan your own trip by opening the town sites and seeing what else they have to offer to help make your vacation memorable. If you need more help, you will find the phone numbers to each town office at the start of their brief description of what they have to offer.
Emerson Town Office (204)373-2002
Emerson is a thriving community with many unique and exciting attractions to offer. Emerson has a number of historical buildings. The two oldest structures in Emerson are of log construction and are the first Customs House in Western Canada and the town’s first jail. Both of these structures are located just north of the current Custom Port of Entry.
The Emerson Court House and Town Hall is located on the corner of Church St. and Winnipeg Ave. in Emerson. Emerson’s town offices are still located in this stately building constructed in 1917-1918. A splendid example of a small Neo-Classical style municipal building, it was designed by the will known architect, John D. Atchison. In Manitoba, it was the last court house built during the great settlement boom between 1880 and 1920. The restoration of the Emerson court house had sparked a renewed interest in the preservation of similar structures throughout the province.
Another intriguing building is the Anglican Church built in 1876. The bell, which originally hung in Grace Church in Winnipeg, can now be seen at St. Andrews United Church. The bell originally welcomed Colonel Wolseley’s force to the Red River settlement (Winnipeg) in 1870.
Emerson’s Centennial Park has a broad range of recreational facilities to offer. The park has a swimming pool, tennis courts, children’s playground, camping, and a trailer park with modern facilities and services.
Dufferin Trail is also found within the park along the west side of the river. These approximate 3 kms of hiking trails, incorporate signs identifying plants and other points of interest. There are picnic tables and a dock at both ends of the trail for the convenience of its patrons and bird watching area are now being developed.
This trail is also used for cross country skiing in the winter months. While using the well sheltered trails, you will come across a suspension bridge, a fox barn built in 1906, and a railway swinging bridge. Emerson also connects the groomed snowmobile trails of St. Jean Baptiste and Pembina, North Dakota.
Letellier R. M. of Montcalm (204)737-2271
The early explorer La Verendrye was here in 1733 and is believed to be buried near by. In 1936, two hundred years after his death, a cairn was erected in his honour. Letellier is an extremely old settlement, which pre-dates the fur traders and early French settlements as it was on the route used by Sioux war parties.
While in Letellier you may want to visit Letellier Campground with its full camping facilities, children’s playground, and tennis courts in a beautifully treed setting.
St. Joseph R. M. of Montcalm (204)737-2271
This village has an excellent museum. The St. Joseph Campground, on the museum grounds, is an excellent place to stop. The park, situated in a shady area, contains electrical sites and drinking water facilities.
Le Musee St. Joseph Museum – Located in St. Joseph on Hwy. # 201. In a display building of 13,000 sq. ft., this museum preserves the history of both the French and the English speaking pioneers. In addition to this display area there are several buildings including a log home constructed in the 1860’s. A house built in 1905 is furnished in the style popular in 1920. Other buildings include a pioneer general store with adjoining doctor’s office, a blacksmith shop and a barn once well known for its barn dances.
Gretna Village Office (204)327-5578
Gretna was originally known as “Smuggler’s Point” and today is a major customs point of entry. The streets of this southern Manitoba town are lined with stately one hundred year old cottonwoods planted by the town’s first residents. The early history of the community was closely associated with the Mennonite settlers, and all visitors to Gretna will want to stop to see the memorial to these early settlers.
The oldest Mennonite secondary school in Canada, the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI), is located in Gretna. Built in 1889, MCI is the second oldest Mennonite secondary school in North America. MCI continues to provide Christian education for grades 9 – 12. MCI is known for its outstanding music program. Guests are welcome for a delightful musical each fall and drama each spring.
Several rare cast iron boundary markers, remnants from Her Majesty’s International Boundary Commission, are still located west of Gretna on the Canada/US border.
Established in 1967, Gretna Centennial Park, is home to the historic “Peace Bell”. The bell, which hangs in the peace tower located in the northwest corner of the park, rings out a message of peace each Remembrance Day.
In touring around Gretna you will come across an International Pipe Line station. This station is a vital link in the movement of petroleum in the world’s longest petroleum pipe line.
Altona Chamber of Commerce (204)324-8793
Altona is a growing rural community of approximately 3,000 people and was settled by German and Dutch Mennonites who immigrated from Russia and the Ukraine. Presently Altona thrives on the support of its surrounding farming communities making possible a number of large industries and small businesses.
Altona’s Centennial Park contains a heated outdoor swimming pool, children’s playground, ball diamonds, horseshoe pits, an outdoor stage, shuffleboard and tennis court. If one wishes to stay at the park, modern facilities are available for picnickers and campers.
If shopping is your desire be sure to visit the newly expanded “Altona Mall” located in the center of town. This climate controlled shopping environment offers 92,000 sq. ft. of retail space housing 28 shops and services.
Schwartz Heritage House – Located in Altona across from Centennial Park. The Schwartz Heritage House, the largest pioneer house ever used as a gallery and museum.
Reinland R. M. of Stanley Office (204)822-6251
To a very considerable degree, the history of the southern portion of Manitoba’s Red River Valley is the history of the Mennonite settlement west of the Red River. Many descendants of the Mennonite pioneers from southern Russia, who took up land here in the 1870’s, still live in the two dozen villages established by their forefathers. Several of these “colonies” have retained the key elements of their original layout; a central street lined on each side with barns, joined to the neat, white houses. The village of Reinland is one of the most interesting of these “colonies” with its original main street being the Post Road, the principal transportation route of the West Mennonite Reserve. Posts erected at intervals along its length from the Pembina escarpment to the Red River, assisted travelers in staying on the road during winter blizzards and gave this route its name.
Reinland, once known as the “Capital” of the Mennonite settlement, had several prominent pioneer residents. Among them was Peter Wiebe, the secretary of the West Reserve. He shared its management with “Kaiser” Isaak Mueller, chief administrator of the Reserve. The spiritual head of the Mennonite community on the west side of the Red River, Bishop Johann Wiebe, also made Reinland his home until his death in 1905. Western Canada’s oldest Mennonite Church, an oak log building erected in 1876, is located in Reinland, where it presently serves as the local community center.
Plum Coulee Village Office (204)829-3419
During the summer of 1881 the Southern Manitoba Colonization Railway was laid from Winnipeg south to Rosenfeld and then west to the present site of Manitou. It was late summer and the small stream they found here was lined with wild plum trees laden with ripe fruit. The surveyors all enjoyed this treat and decided to christen the nearby stream “Plum Coulee.” The next year, when the railroad was constructed along this survey line, the station established nearby was given the same name.
The earliest settlers of the district were the Mennonites, who took up land in the West Mennonite Reserve in 1874. However, at the turn of the century there was also a considerable number of Germans from Russia and former residents from Ontario farming in the district, with the village even having a few Jewish residents. Plum Coulee is a secondary agricultural center with local firms selling fertilizers, farm chemicals, seed grain, building supplies, livestock and agricultural equipment. The service sector includes a motor inn, building contractors, transportation services, a real estate firm as well as several stores and a well patronized credit union.
Plum Coulee and District Museum – Located on Main Ave. in Plum Coulee. The specialty of this museum is some 1,300 artifacts relating mainly to the Mennonite Pioneers who settled this part of Manitoba during the 1870’s.
Winkler Chamber of Commerce (204)325-9758
Winkler has experienced unusual growth during the past few years due to its industries, citizens and fertile countryside, which is well suited to intensive and diverse farming. Winkler is, at times, referred to as the bread basket of Manitoba (the largest center in the Pembina Valley). The existing 32 manufacturing plants, which produce such things as motor homes, tractor cabs, plastic products, windows & doors, cabinets, steel buildings and other such things, provide a variety of job opportunities. Winkler is also the Home of “Triple E Trailers”. Tours are possible by prior arrangements with the Chamber of Commerce.
Winkler also has a campground, which is beautifully landscaped and sheltered with mature trees. It is conveniently located adjacent to the recreation complex, which offers a heated swimming pool, tennis court, baseball diamonds, a park with a playground and an outdoor basketball court. Serviced and unserved lots are available from May through September. Located only a few blocks from downtown is Border Valley Snow Goers – a snowmobile club with groomed trails and access to the American Trail at Neche and Walhalla.
The “Southland Mall” is situated on the northeast corner of town. It provides 165,000 sq. ft. of shopping area and contains 35 stores, anchored by the Met Mart and Penner Foods. The “Winitoba Mall” and a variety of businesses are located in the renewed area of downtown Winkler, providing a wide variety of goods and services. Winkler prides itself on quality products with economical prices, while also providing “Service with a Smile”.
Winkler has a choice of 22 eating establishments with some offering locally made farmer sausage and other ethnic dishes.
Morden Chamber of Commerce (204)822-5630
Present day Morden is a picturesque town in a park like setting. Morden came into existence after the building of the railway by the Canadian Pacific. In 1882 it was named after Alvey Morden on whose land the town was located. Morden had many names before its present day name. The native name was Pinancewaywinning, which means “Going down to the ford”; the French fur traders renamed the area Mort Cheval or “Dead Horse”.
This town is famous for its magnificent, stately old residences. Please get involved in a local tour of Morden’s many fine fieldstone, brick and frame buildings and homes, some with historical designations. Be sure to view Fort Pinancewaywinning cairn located in Morden Park and the old townsites of Nelsonville and Mountain City.
Morden boasts excellent recreational facilities. Come play the world class 18 hole golf course or visit Lake Minnewasta and Colert Beach. The lake and beach came into existence with the damming of Dead Horse Creek. In the summer it is possible to fish, swim, water ski, canoe, sail, hike, and make use of the fully serviced campground at Lake Minnewasta. This recreational development offers cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing in the winter.
Visitors to Morden are welcome to use the Kinsmen Community Footpath, the two indoor arenas, the curling rink, two museums, the theater, the drive-in theater, five tennis courts, four public parks and 19 baseball diamonds.
Morden is home to “The Company” an amateur theater group performing Canadian plays for the entertainment of the surrounding area.
Also available in Morden for visitation or participation are the Pembina Hills Art Gallery, Minnewasta Writer’s Guild, Historical Society, Skyscrape Parachute School, Regional library and the Tapestry Singers.
Morden’s business district unfolds into blocks of specialty stores connected by warm, brick sidewalks enhanced by pruned trees, shrubs and numerous flowers.
Morden is an agriculturally based town, famous for its Agriculture Research Station. Some local products produced in Morden are agricultural equipment, medical supplies, communications equipment, agricultural research products including grains, oil seeds and specialty crops, custom computerized cabinets, oxygen concentrators, fertilizer, poultry products and clothing.
Morden District Museum – Located in the lower level of the Morden Recreation Center, 2nd Street and Gilmour Avenue. This museum is one-of-a-kind, because it houses the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in North America. Displays include dioramas and life-size reconstructions of mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, birds, fish, sharks, squid and turtles from the Colorado Sea, which covered much of North America 80 million years ago. Native and pioneer artifacts are also on display.