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.
Boissevain Town Office (204)534-2433
This is a dynamic community with its most recent source of pride being its murals. Murals depicting scenes of local heritage like the Boundary Commission Trail, the arrival of the first train in Boissevain, The Willis family farm and more. More murals are being painted on the sides of the buildings in this town annually and attract a great many tourists.
The Wild Rose Emporium has a selection of country and Victorian gifts, antiques and collectibles in an old century house. It also features a neat little tea room with fabulous home baking. St. Matthew’s Anglican Church is a stone church that has beautiful stained-glass windows and is one of the town’s oldest buildings.
Don’t forget the Purple Martin tower, which can house 552 couples. The town mascot “Tommy Turtle” brings to mind one of the town’s biggest events. Boissevain also has a nine-hole golf course, five pin bowling, a swimming pool, many shops and restaurants. Boissevain’s CJRB radio station has been serving southwestern Manitoba for many years.
The International Peace Garden, the world’s largest garden dedicated to peace, shares the Canada/U.S. border. The garden features an electronically operated floral clock, which is a 5.5 metre (18 ft.) structure; The Peace Chapel – dedicated “To God and his Glory” – has three encircling walls engraved with quotations by great men of peace; The Peace Tower – 35 metres (120 ft.) high – represents the four corners of the earth; The Erick F. Willis Pavilion – contains a meeting hall and features a smorgasbord on Sundays and the International Music Camp features weekly sessions in band, choir, orchestra, different instruments, dance etc… in June & July.
For more information on the Peace Gardens, call (204)534-2510
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, an oasis of small lakes and rolling hills surrounded by farmland, has many mountain bike trails, canoe routes, horse riding, hiking and fitness trails, a large Painted Turtle and Moose population. Camping sites are available at Adam, William and Max Lakes. If you are interested in Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout, check out Bower Lake and William Lake.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park and the International Peace Gardens are located 15 minutes south of the town of Boissevain.
BECKONING HILLS MUSEUM
Located in Boissevain at 425 Mill Road South on Hwy. #10. The Beckoning Hills Museum focuses on the pioneer and settlement history of the community with displays of pioneer household articles, clothing, furniture, early agricultural tools and implements, early cameras and photos.
Located in the Civic Center on Main St. in Boissevain. This museum features one of rural Manitoba’s most outstanding collections of local historian William Moncur, displayed here, total over 1000 pieces and include hundreds of arrow heads, scrapers, ceremonial items, hammers and food preparation utensils. In addition, original paintings and models of archeological work enhance the collection.
Deloraine Town Office (204)747-2655
A one of a kind southern Manitoba historic site is located where Deloraine was originally established in 1880. All that remains of “Old Deloraine” is a native fieldstone bank vault on the west bank of Whitewater Creek. Across this creek, overlooking a dam, is the well known, nine hole Deloraine Gold Course, “The Best in the West by a Damsight”. In 1885, when the railroad bypassed the town, its buildings were moved on sleighs to its present site. Here tourists will want to visit the 1896 Presbyterian Church, now restored and refurbished as the Prairie Skills Center. Shopping, recreation facilities, restaurants, arts and crafts and other attractions are also available in Deloraine.
Lake Metigoshe Outdoor Education Center (near Deloraine) serves as an outdoor classroom for local schools and other groups. The 45 hectare parcel of land has a picnic cooking shelter, observation tower, ample parking and washrooms and is open year round. A boardwalk along the major marsh on the site offers a natural view of pond life. The interpretive trail shows the vegetation and landscape typical of the Turtle Mountain area.
PH. (204)747-2530 for further details.
Lake Metigoshe Outdoor Education Center is located south on Hwy. #450 at Lake Metigoshe. Just follow the signs that read “The Metigoshe Natural Area”, which designates the access routes to the center.
Goodlands R. M. of Brenda(204)673-2401
The village of Goodlands had its start in a field of green oats cut with a binder to make it easier for the surveyors to lay out a town site on the farm of the Goodland brothers. That was back in 1899. The Goodland brothers were quick to see the advantages of having a town in one’s oat field and decided to build a store. It was completed before a train arrived. The end of the tracks was at an uncompleted bridge east of town. There, the first two boxcars of goods for the new store had to be unloaded and brought in by friends and neighbors. If wages were low in 1886, prices were not much higher in 1899. The first sale in the new store was a whole plug of tobacco for the grand sum of 10 cents.
Even though pioneers worked extremely hard, they were paid only a fraction of the salaries we now expect. A case in point is the postmaster of the first post office in the Goodland’s district. It opened in 1886 with the name “Lennox” and was under the management of Mr. Robert Hughes, who received an annual salary from the Government of Canada of $16.00 – about 8 cents a day!
Waskada Village Office (204)673-2401
Welcome to one of Southern Manitoba’s newest towns, incorporated less than fifty years ago. Waskada was the name of a post office established in this corner of Manitoba to serve the needs of the early settlers, the first of whom arrived in 1882. The steel for the Deloraine-Lyleton extension was laid in 1899, the year that the first building was erected on the present town site. In 1915, the citizens of Waskada thought it sufficiently large to merit its organization as an unincorporated village and on January 1, 1948 its incorporation as a town became effective.
In addition to being the home to some 289 citizens, many of them retired farmers, Waskada is the municipal seat for the R. M. of Brenda, which in the 1991 census had 801 residents. It is also the center of the local oil industry, which gives employment to a considerable segment of the population. In addition to a gas station and a motor hotel, the beautifully – treed park campsite is fully equipped and has an RV dumping station.
Located in Waskada on Railway Avenue in the original Royal Bank building and the Anglican Church. This museum contains displays of pioneer and domestic material of the surrounding area including a mounted whooping crane. Several antique tractors in running order, including a carefully restored steam engine, sewing and washing machines are also on display as well as an early 1900 band uniform, scout uniforms and old books.
Medora R. M. of Brenda (204)673-2401
The name Medora recalls the quality of pioneer hospitality. It was named for Mrs. Medora Mae Campbell, the wife of Minto pioneer Robert Campbell. In the first years of the 1880’s, the Campbell home became widely known as one of the best stopping places for travellers from southwestern Manitoba, as they made their way to and from Brandon. Among the many hundreds of guests in the Campbell home were gangs of surveyors who were to lay out town sites along the railroad extension being built west out of Deloraine. They were so delighted with the food and lodging they received from Mrs. Campbell, they promised to name one of their newly-surveyed towns after her. A visit to Medora reminds us that they kept their promise.
Napinka R. M. of Brenda (204)673-2401
During the first years of this century, this now – tiny center was a vibrant community that could boast of choral and dramatic societies, a community newspaper and an active church life. The union of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches took place here eight years before it was officially finalized in the rest of Canada. In 1908 it was a place of sufficient importance to justify being included on the itinerary of Pauline Johnson, the famous Canadian poetess. However, after World War II, its population began to drop and is now less than it was when the railroad reached there in 1891.
According to local tradition, the first house in the district was built in 1881 by Mr. J. M. Graves, a Toronto broker, with lumber hauled by team and wagon from Emerson 288 km
(180 miles) to the east. Today, it may seem that there is not too much to see at Napinka, but three generations ago it had its own promoters. A set of 1923 postcards featuring idyllic pastoral scenes carried the captions “The place for me is Napinka” and “Napinka for happy days and pleasant ways.” Keep this in mind as you drive through.
Melita Town Office (204)522-3413
According to the last census, Melita now has a population of more than 1,100. With three motels, several good restaurants and a fully equipped campsite, complete with an RV dumping station, a stop in this attractive town laid out on the North slope of the Souris River is a definite must foe the taveller through the Boundary Trail Heritage Region. If your tour brings you to this town on a summer Friday, you will be in for a real treat, when you visit the Farmer’s Market which sells local produce, baking and crafts. Melita’s Antler River Historical Society Museum will provide the traveller with a special insight into many aspects of this community’s history. Like several other Heritage Region museums, native artifacts are a specialty here.
Melita’s official seal tells a lot about the town. Its motto “Pax et Copia” – “Peace and Plenty”, refers both to the year of incorporation, 1902, when the Boer War came to an end, as well as to the abundant harvest of that year. The royal crown commemorates the coronation of King Edward VII and the sheaf of heat indicates the source of the new town’s prosperity. Like all other Southern Manitoba towns. Melita’s birth and location is due to the railroad, in this instance the CPR line that in 1891 came into service linking Deloraine and Estavan; the latter being in what was then known as the Northwest Territories. Within seven years, the population had grown to almost half of what it is today. In 1900, its importance was very considerably increased when the land titles office, then the most important federal government presence in rural Manitoba, relocated from Deloraine to Melita. For those interested in rural Manitoba trivia, in might be mentioned that the importance of this town in those early pioneer years might most accurately be gauged by the fact that the town’s principal hotel, a striking two-story stone structure, also had a two-story outdoor privy.
Antler River Museum
Located in Melita on the corner of Ash Ave. and Summit Street. This corner of the province has the largest collection of Native burial and ceremonial mounds in Western Canada, therefore the collections of Indian artifacts from this area are of special interest. In addition to pioneer and domestic materials, there are also displays interpreting the natural history of the surrounding area and the military history of its former residents. The museum also has artifacts from archeological figs, a transportation diorama and military history. Open July and August and by appointment (204)522-8287
Pierson R. M. of Edward (204)634-2231
One of the foremost banking and investment firms in Amsterdam, Holland, has a special connection with the little town of Pierson, which is the most westerly stop on our tour across the Boundary Trail Heritage Region. If you visit their head office, on display there you will find a wall clock, telegraph instruments, dispatcher’s phone, ticket case, express cabinet and other furniture all of which originally were fixtures in the Pierson railway station. Why are they now in Amsterdam? Because, a little more than a century ago this firm supplied the financing which enabled the railroad through Pierson to be built. Indeed, Mr. Jean Louis Pierson, a partner of the firm of Adolph Boissevain & Company, (today Pierson, Heldring & Pierson), was the namesake of the town of Pierson. When the station was closed in August 1971, these items were sent to Holland as a token of the appreciation for the firm’s role in enabling settlement to come to this corner of Manitoba. Rails were laid through Pierson in 1891 and the first train to the newly-established town was in February 1892.
Pierson has another very important international connection. Although it has never been visited by a president of the United States, it has come close. In July 1979, Billy Carter, the well-known brother of President Jimmy Carter, spent the weekend here. He was doing what American visitors to the Pierson area have been doing for almost a century, trying out their bird dogs on some of the best terrain for this sport in the province. Bird dog competitions began in 1886 and continued until World War I. After several other locations in the province were tried, the wealthy Americans, mostly from the southern states, began coming back in the 1930’s. Rumour is that they appreciated the rural Manitoba hospitality as much as the fine terrain for their dogs.