When I was a young boy my family would often travel to a small town of Ninette in SW Manitoba, located at the north shore of Pelican Lake, down in the valley and surrounded by hills and lakes. This is where my Mom grew up and where my Grandparents lived for most of their adult lives, until age and health forced them to move to Winnipeg where there was better care and more things available to them
This trip would take us about 2 1/2 hours to get there and as young children often do, we would get bored quickly and want the journey to come to an end, so our parents would have to become creative to keep our attention focused on fun things and give us something to occupy our minds along the way.
Although no longer an elevator in the town of Starbuck, this small statue of what used to be, sits proudly off the highway as you enter the town.
Starbuck is the first town we come upon on our journey to Ninette is situated along #2 highway, about 1/2 hour outside of Winnipeg.
The Catholic Church at Fannystelle, Manitoba
Our next stop along the way is Fannystelle, which is another 10 minutes up the highway and I always remember the sight of the old church steeple standing high above everything else as we passed it along our way west.
The original grain elevator at Culross, shrouded in Fog
The highway that we take now and the one from my childhood is different as the old one was north of the railway line and the new one is south of the line. As we passed through Culross, you didn’t want to blink or you would miss this small whistle stop along the way. Besides the grain elevator there was a general store and two houses and nothing else. Things have not changed much other than the location of the highway and there is no longer a general store.
Elm Creek with it’s modern Grain Elevator
Elem Creek was the next town along the way and we would pass along the northern edge of town where all we saw was an old elevator, which as with many small towns today has either been demolished or a newer giant elevator built to take it’s place.
The Village of Haywood Cafe, welcoming truckers along their way
The highway bypassed Haywood as it still does today, so on my journey I decided to take a detour into the town to see what is there, and it’s not much. With no grain elevators or church steeples about all I could find was this cafe welcoming truckers who are passing through to stop for a “Home Cooked Special.” This is often the case of many small towns in rural Manitoba and I wonder how they even survive as towns or villages today.
The Village of St. Claude Town Office
St. Claude was one of the towns along the way that had a gas station and restaurant along the highway, which we always made a pit stop at for a bathroom break and sometimes a few snacks to keep us occupied as we continued our trip to Ninette.
A giant pipe is the symbol of St. Claude
As I drove into St. Claude looking for a few pictures to take, again I found no grain elevator or high church steeples to take shots of, but did come across this giant pipe, which symbolizes a part of their strong French heritage and stands proudly for all to see.
St. Paulès Anglican Church in the Village of Rathwell
As I was driving down the highway I finally saw another church steeple and went into the town of Rathwell to take couple pictures of this old wooden church. Like the village itself, the church is not very big and with only farm populations to keep it alive, there is not much growth to this small community.
Shrouded in Fog
Although not along the route that we would take to get to Ninette, I decided to take a side trip on this day to photograph a beautifully well kept stone foundation barn located on the southern outskirts of Notre Dame du Lourdes. As I climbed into the Tiger Hills that Notre Dame is built in, I noticed a bit of fog ahead of me. By the time I got to the barn I wanted to photograph, I could barely see in front of my face. I will have to return again another day and hope for better conditions, but I do find something appealing about this old barn shrouded in the fog.
Horses in a Farm Pasture
One of the activities that I remember from my childhood, that my family participated in to pass the time, was to count white horses along any journey we went on. Whoever saw the most white horses was the winner of the day, although I cannot remember any prizes being given for this contest. Today you do not see many horses along any country trips you might take, so it is always a pleasant surprise to find some to photograph.
The Drive-in at Treherne
On the north edge of Treherne, as the highway passes by there is a Drive-in Restaurant that I have always enjoyed. Although I do not recall if it was there when I was a youngster, it has been there a long time and I have always stopped for a bite to eat or on a hot summer day an ice cream cone to cool off with.
Windmill at Holland
The Town of Holland, like the region of the Netherlands with the same name, is known for the Windmill that stands tall along the side of the highway on the north side of town.
Grain Elevators at Cypress River
As you pass by Cypress River along #2 highway and look to your left, on the southern edge of this small town you can see the tops of a couple of grain elevators. I made a trip into the town to take a photo of these and was happy to see that they have not been replaced with the modern giants that are all across the prairies today. These old elevators have a rich history in the farming communities of the Canadian Prairies and will always be a rich part of our history.
Sara The Camel
Glenboro, Manitoba is known as the southern Gateway to Spruce Woods Provincial Park and Spirit Sands Desert. So what better representation would there be then to have a giant statue of a Camel. Sara stands proudly watching over all who pass by this small SW Manitoba Community along Highway #2.
Looking West into the Valley towards the Village of Ninette
My family would make the trip to Ninette every few weeks to visit with my grandparents. We would usually enter into the valley off of highway #18, and I remember this being a beautiful view as we drove south and down into this place that is like heaven on earth. My trip took me into Ninette and the valley along highway #23, which in my opinion is a far prettier vision of this area. With lakes on both sides of the highway as you are once in the valley, one is overwhelmed by the beauty of this special place.
In my next blog I will talk about the end of the Journey and what Ninette meant to me as a young boy growing up and what it means to me today, as it has captured my heart for eternity.