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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 2019

Settling the West. With the 150th anniversary of Manitoba just a year away, one of our objectives for 2019 is to better understand the impact that formation of the province had on local population density, ethnic and religious make-up, patterns of land ownership and land use.

Painting of early pioneer life donated by artist A.A. Brooke to the Dufferin Historical Museum

Between 1670 and 1869, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) held a charter and trade monopoly on all lands draining into Hudson Bay. Towards the end of this period, competition from American fur trading companies and the development of faster, cheaper southern transportation routes eroded the monopoly at the same time that HBC commercial interests were expanding beyond the fur trade. Finally, in 1869, the Company surrendered its charter back to the British Crown.

Meanwhile, in spite of the Canada-USA border treaty of 1818, the Canadian government had begun to fear that the westward surge south of the border would outflank their own efforts at settlement and that the USA would occupy and lay claim the western prairies. In 1870, the John A. Macdonald government paid £300,000 compensation to the HBC and their former holdings became part of Canada under the Constitution Act. One of the new government’s first undertakings was to survey the territory in preparation for opening it to settlement.

Surveying. Agricultural landholdings at that time were laid out mainly along the Red and Assiniboine rivers using the river lot system of survey. Narrow frontage along the river gave access to transportation and nearby neighbours, along with land for farm produce to the rear of the property. Under the new survey system, the land was divided instead into townships of thirty-six sections, each section approximately one mile square. Within each township, lands were set aside for the HBC, school lands and later, for railways. Grants also were made for military service or service with North West Mounted Police. Those, such as Métis settlers, who were already on the land, were given ‘scrip’ which could apply to purchase of the land or could be sold for cash. The rest of the land was open to homesteading.

Homestead Act. Under the Dominion Lands Act, 1872, or Homestead Act, a person over 21 could obtain a land grant by laying claim to a quarter-section land and paying a $10 administration fee. They were required to live on the land for at least six months a year for three years, build a dwelling and cultivate a specified number of acres of land. After meeting these requirements, they could apply for a patent, which gave them full title to the lands. Between 1872 and 1889, homesteaders could pre-empt or claim the right to buy, an adjoining quarter- section of land. This promise of land, fired by a strong dose of religious and cultural propaganda, unleashed a wave of westward migration that dramatically changed the socio-economic structure of the province.

For an overview of land settlement in the Boyne area, see A Review of the Heritage Resources of Boyne Planning District, by Karen Nicholson, pp 8–15.

Homestead & Family Farm project. One of our ongoing heritage projects has been the collection of information and memories from families that homesteaded or purchased early family farms in the Carman/Dufferin area. Although the number is decreasing each year, we still have a few local residents who remember grandparents or other family members who homesteaded the land or who recall family stories from the early days. We’ve been asking these folks why their families came to the area, how they arrived, what the country was like and how it developed over the years. Our goal is to document early homesteading experiences in the Carman/Dufferin area and to begin tracing changes in agriculture and in life on local farms over the past century.

Over the coming months, we will be adding these accounts to the Local Heritage section of our website under the heading Homesteads & Family Farms. See the first in our series, the McIntosh Family Farm.


McIntosh Family Farm

Leary Brick Works. The Leary Brick Works is the last semi-intact remnant of some 200 brick plants that once operated in Manitoba. Based on extensive research, architectural historian David Butterfield completed a study of the Leary brick plant in 2018.

The full report is here.

Please note: the remaining structures at the brick plant are unsafe and public entry to the site is prohibited.



Heritage Tour Brochures. Carman/Dufferin MHAC has prepared two heritage tour brochures featuring heritage sites in the Town of Carman and the RM of Dufferin.


Free copies are available at the Memorial Hall, Museum, and at several businesses around town.

Recent History

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