VIEW-1393.0 | Flour mill and elevator, Portage La Prairie, MB, 1884

Flour mill and elevator, Portage La Prairie, MB, 1884
William McFarlane Notman
1885-1915, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , industrial (826) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Grain elevators and flour mills were common features of the landscape in Manitoba and the other Western provinces in the late 1800s. Many such structures were being built in order to distribute the Prairie grain via the railway network.

By 1876, the Manitoban wheat raised around Winnipeg was well known for its fine quality. As the Prairie population grew, wheat production spread westward, expanding fast and furious. The Prairies became the "breadbasket of Canada" - indeed, of the British Empire. With the introduction of new resistant, better-producing grain varieties, such as Marquis wheat, farmers ran less risk of poor harvests.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Elevator silos for storing grain were built along the railway tracks every 11 kilometres or so. They were located near farms, less than a day's travel away by horse-drawn wagon.

  • Where

    Prairie farmers sent their wheat to the local elevator. From there, the grain was transported by train to Winnipeg, then on to the Great Lakes, where it was shipped to all corners of the world.

  • When

    Elevator silos appeared all over Manitoba in the early 1890s, then spread westward with the railroad.

  • Who

    The principal elevator owners and grain merchants belonged to the Winnipeg Grain and Produce Exchange, founded in 1891.