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Whether you are a visitor to our community, are researching your family roots, need background on an historic building or are just interested in local history, this website is your one-stop source of information on our heritage. 

The site offers you a glimpse of the history of Dufferin Municipality from the pre-settlement era to the post–1870 influx of homesteading families, and from the arrival of the railways to the rise and decline of the small towns and communities along its path.

You will also discover the wealth of historic buildings, cairns, plaques and other heritage resources that our communities have to offer.

Let us know of any omissions or errors. If you have information or photos you’d like to share, please contact us. Check out this site each month for our Special Features, including vintage photos from the area.

Please visit our Acknowledgements page, which recognizes the many people who contributed towards making the website possible, including the backbone of any endeavour—the volunteers who contributed material, researched, edited or proofread content, and gave in so many ways of their time and talents.

News and Events January 2020

2020. A new decade. And a year that’s significant to us as the year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Province of Manitoba. In 1870, the Canadian government purchased the territory held under charter by the Hudson’s Bay Company and Manitoba became the fifth province under Confederation. This led to a rapid influx of settlers seeking land and opportunity in the West. With it came sweeping socio-economic change for a part of the continent that had been known primarily for its role in the highly competitive fur trade and for the small settlement along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.

Over the past months we have been trying to gain greater insight into local history of this during the pre- and post-1870 era. C/D MHAC members have researched the story of the Missouri Trail and re-installed a sign where the trail once crossed the Rivière-aux-Îlets-de-Bois (Boyne River).

Unveiling the original sign in 1961                                         New sign installed 2019

We’ve searched out articles on the early settlement in the St. Daniel area northwest of present-day Carman. In 2020, highway signs will be erected giving directions to the site of the original settlement and cemetery in the area. Meanwhile, our Homestead/Early Family Farm researchers have been collecting and recording information and stories of the first European settlers — many of whom still have descendants in the area. We’ve also been working on inventories of heritage resources in local communities with a goal of identifying and preserving the information, records and artifacts that are rapidly disappearing with passing generations.

An exciting new initiative is planned for 2020: a series of life story workshops to encourage collection and preservation of our history-in-the-making. It should be a busy, fun year.

20/20 also is the standard for perfect vision. It’s unlikely we’ll achieve this level of insight, but we’ll be aspiring this coming year to gain at least a sounder understanding of the history of Carman/Dufferin municipalities. We hope to share our findings with you through this website and to provide you with a list of resources for further exploring our complex and rather fascinating heritage.

Where to Start? Our local history didn’t occur in a vacuum — it was the product of interaction of local people and circumstances within the context of provincial, national and international events. If you’re like most of us and have forgotten much of what you learned in your early school years, we’d suggest beginning your quest by reviewing a general history of Manitoba. What better time to review the broader framework of the Carman/Dufferin story than the 150th anniversary of our Province?

The biggest dilemma lies in selecting resources from the vast array of books and articles that offer interpretations of our past. One general source we’d recommend is ”The Centennial History of Manitoba” by James A. Jackson. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd. and the Manitoba Historical Society, 1970).

This volume provides a readable, balanced overview of the many factors that drove our development as a province from the Ice Age through to the past generation. Jackson places Manitoba in the larger geo-political space that is now known as Canada, including its relationship with Great Britain and the rest of North America . In so doing, he lays a foundation for a deeper understanding why history played out as it did on our little part of the province.

Some of the questions you might want to ask in your reading are:

How did relationships between Britain, France and their colonies in North America help lay the foundation for their activities in the West?

How did the geography of Manitoba impact on its development as a fur-trading and later as an agricultural province?

What role did early explorers and fur traders play in opening up the West? What impact did rivalries between the major fur-trading companies have and how were they resolved? What was the origin/use of the Missouri Trail?

How did arrival of the Selkirk settlers change our history? What was the number and distribution of settlements in Manitoba in 1870?

What role did Luois Riel and his Provisional Government play on the history of Manitoba?

What were the terms and the outcomes of the Dominion Lands Act of 1872?

Who was living in our local area of Manitoba in 1870? How was the lifestyle of indigenous inhabitants affected by first the fur traders and later, by arrival of homesteaders in the area? What happened when the different cultures met?

Let us know what resources you find particularly helpful in understanding the broad context of local history and the events around 1870. Next update we’ll zero in on what is now the Carman/Dufferin area of the province.

Groaners. And now a final thought on the realities of the passage of time:

A young boy was looking through the old family album. He asked his mother “Who’s this guy on the beach with all the muscles and curly hair? “ Mother: “That’s your father.” Son: ”Then who’s that man who lives with us now?”

Recent History

Earlier news items are stored on a separate "Recent History" page.