In August 2019 I set out to revisit many grain elevators in western Manitoba. I wanted to fly my drone over some of them to record them from a different viewpoint. In part 1 I visited McConnell through Beulah, and in part 2 I visited Harmsworth to Elva.
After Elva, I visited nearby Cameron.
The elevator at Cameron is a really unique elevator. Not only is it a Lake of the Woods elevator, rare in the province, but it is located in the middle of a field, with no other buildings nearby.
Don’t confuse this elevator with the rural municipality of Cameron, which included Hartney, Lauder and a few others. This was a “station” on the CPR. I’m not sure that there was ever anything here but a grain elevator and a rail siding.
The elevator is looking a little more worn since I visited it in 2014. In particular, the driveway has collapsed.
Cameron was one elevator that I really wanted to fly my drone around. I did put my drone up to take some photos, but I didn’t fly it very far due to the continuing high winds. I was nervous about flying too far away.
Coulter is not far from Cameron. It has one elevator, still looking OK from the outside but starting to show its age. The annex has a real lean to it, but it doesn’t look like it is leaning more than when I last saw it in 2014.
Almost all of the elevators I am writing about in this post were on the CP Lyleton subdivision, which ran from Deloraine to Lyleton.
I didn’t get close to the Dalny elevator. I photographed it from nearby grid roads and carried on. By this time I was starting to get nervous about how much light I would have left, so I decided to accelerate my pace to ensure I would still have daylight by the time I got to Holmfield.
The grain elevator in Waskada is located within the town itself… definitely not a drone flying area. It looks pretty well kept and could very well still be in use for storage.
The elevator still bears a painted Agricore logo, from the brief period between 1998 (when Manitoba Pool Elevators merged with the Alberta Wheat Pool) and 2007 (when the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool bought Agricore United and became Viterra).
I didn’t stay too long in Waskada. It’s a bustling little town, enriched by the nearby Bakken shale oil fields.
The charming town of Goodlands hosts one elevator, another former Manitoba Pool grain elevator. The elevator seems to be in good shape and maintained.
I really considered flying my drone here, but it was still quite windy and I was concerned about drifting over the town, so I decided not to.
I didn’t get close to the grain elevator outside Deloraine on this trip. I had photographed it pretty extensively in 2018 so I didn’t feel the need to do it again in 2019. It would have been a good candidate for a drone flight, though.
I’ve always been fond of the little town of Ninga, Manitoba. Mostly it is because of the sign you see as you drive into the town: “There will always be a Ninga”. Such a bold statement for a plucky prairie town.
I spent a bit of time driving around the town – it doesn’t take long! – and photographing the elevator. As grain elevators go, it’s not the most attractive, being a late Manitoba Pool “box” design with the elevating machinery visible on top, like Elie, Virden-Hargrave and a few others.
After leaving Ninga, I could have gone into Killarney to photograph the elevators there. The light was definitely failing and I really wanted to fly my drone at Holmfield, so I pressed on. I actually did dip into Killarney, to grab some food at the campground restaurant near the highway. YUM.
I love the town of Holmfield. Not only does it have the Harrison Milling facility – the oldest flour mill in western Canada – with its two grain elevators, it has a number of interesting old buildings in the town.
Holmfield is by no means a ghost town, with quite a few people living there and actively maintaining and improving their houses. It’s worth a visit, even though it’s a bit of a drive off the highway.
I thought it would be easier to fly my drone there, as Holmfield is in a bit of a dip in the prairie. I was right – it was definitely less windy there than it had been earlier in the day. I flew my drone around to take some photos from various angles while there was still some light to photograph with.
It was definitely getting dark. The sun was below the horizon and time was of the essence. I got the photos I wanted, and headed for home.
I couldn’t resist taking this photo from a nearby bridge. It was inspired by a photo Mark Perry took a few years before.
I was pleased with the photos I took in Holmfield. I’m glad I hurried a bit past a few other towns to ensure I got to Holmfield in time.
I stopped briefly in Cartwright en route to Winnipeg. It was definitely dark by this time, so I set up my tripod and took a long exposure photo to record the elevator there.
I had considered stopping at Clearwater, but by the time I got near to it, it was quite dark and I was very tired. Onward to home.
You can read the railway-related parts of my grain elevator tour over at Traingeek.ca.
Thanks for reading!