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Introduction

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, May 2019

Gray Homestead & Family Farm. Five generations of the Gray family have lived on 25-6-6w. What is distinctive about the farm is that they share this section of land with Graysville, the community that bears their name. Another unique feature of the farm is that the original claim was made in the name of Ann Smith Gray, under the Métis land claim agreement.

This sets the Gray farm apart from other homesteads in the area which were obtained through homestead claims, military scrip, or by direct purchase from companies such as the HBC or from land speculators (see Recent History January, 2019) . To learn more about the Gray family farm, go to Local heritage > Homesteads & Family Farms




Gray family home built 1916


‘Beautify the Boyne’ Project. At our May 13th C/D MHAC meeting, Nikki Falk ‘planted a seed for thought’ that she has been mulling over for the past while – the clean-up and beautification of the Boyne River.

The River runs like a thread from west to east across Carman/Dufferin municipalities. It also is one of the common threads running through our local history. With its heavily forested banks, the river was a source for fresh water, fuel, wild fruit and small game for early First Nations and Métis camps.

Later, as the Riviére aux Îlets-de-Bois, it became an oasis where hunters and fur traders following the Missouri Trail could pause and repair their Red River carts, or come in springtime to harvest the syrup of maple trees. A number of early Métis families, such as John Grant, settled in the area.

Post-1870, the river and its environs became a prime destination for an influx of Anglophone homesteaders who renamed it the ‘Boyne’. It also became part of a Métis land claim to the river and adjacent lands, from the escarpment east to the big swamp. The claim was never recognized.

In more recent history, the river has powered a flour and lumber mill, served as a source for town water and as a popular, well-used swimming hole. (For a larger view, click on the image.)

 
Clendenning Mill west of Boyne settlement       Boyne Swimming Hole Carman

Until a diversion was built around the Town of Carman, floods periodically devastated the town. In the process, flood waters destroyed many early records; they also provided striking images of the power of Mother Nature.

Villard Avenue during 1893 flood


Boating on the Boyne early 1900s

In recent years, a dam on the Boyne River near the west end of the RM of Dufferin created a lake which serves as a popular recreational centre and site of a water treatment plant. Local farms draw water from the river for irrigation. Unfortunately, the human presence also has contributed to more runoff from farms and human waste, trash in the river and along river banks, and the presence in summer of slimy green scum on the once-pristine waters.


Kayaking on the Boyne 2019. While kayaking this spring on the Boyne, Nikki Falk was struck by the continuing beauty and peacefulness of the river. “It felt like another world, floating along for hours with the massive trees canopied over the water. We enjoyed seeing a wide variety of different birds, fish jumping, turtles sunbathing on logs, etc. It really felt like a connection to the past, as if we were stepping back in time and experiencing just what the generations before us had, and what the future generations could have if we can only safeguard it.

What we also sadly witnessed was the pollution, the debris caught up along the river banks, the downed trees impeding the vital water flow and finally, the realization that later in the summer the toxic algae would put a stop to our kayaking.”

This past winter, Nikki began “researching what options are available for communities for the revitalization of our rivers. How can we preserve and protect the Boyne River’s heritage for future generations to enjoy? How do we instill a sense of community stewardship to the care and well-being of our precious water resource?”

One of her key takeaways from her research on other community projects was the potential for helping the river once more become a focal point in the Town of Carman and a part of local efforts to enhance the tourist value of the Town. Ideally, respect for the river would carry through to other property owners and communities along its banks and to maintenance of one of the few remaining wildlife corridors east of the escarpment.

Expect to hear more from Nikki and her colleagues as their ideas and enthusiasm for restoring and conserving this important heritage resource take shape.


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.