Please consider donating to preserve a grain elevator. The Ogilvie Wooden Grain Elevator Society owns the former Ogilvie grain elevator in Wrentham, Alberta, south of Lethbridge. This historic elevator is in its original location and is the last Ogilvie elevator left in Alberta, and one of very few remaining in Canada.
Wooden grain elevators are costly to maintain. Every donation helps! Your donation is tax deductible for Canadians.
Regretfully, the former Lake of the Woods grain elevator in Elva, Manitoba is being dismantled. This grain elevator became the oldest remaining grain elevator in the Canadian prairies after the Fleming elevator was destroyed by arson.
There are actually two elevators in Elva, and a newer concrete elevator outside of town. The newer elevator in Elva is a former UGG elevator. The Lake of the Woods elevator is a short, squat elevator and was built in 1897.
The elevators will be dismantled and the cladding, boards and nails will be sold.
Regrettably, fire has claimed the last grain elevator in Rouleau, Saskatchewan. This ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator was made famous by the Corner Gas TV series, and it was relabeled as “Dog River” for the show.
The CBC reported that fire crews were called between 2 and 3 AM on November 5, 2021to the fire. By then it was fully involved and the fire crews worked to keep the fire from spreading.
Photos show the elevator was completely destroyed, with only a few pieces of scorched equipment remaining. Rail cars in the adjacent siding were scorched.
The elevator was built in 1973 and sold to a local farmer in the mid 1990s. It was used for storing grain for a while but had been dormant for the past few years.
I want to give a warm welcome to Braeden Watson, who has joined the GEoC team with a large contribution of grain elevator photos. Braeden sent in a number of Alberta grain elevators that were not already on this site, including Dapp and Leduc among several others.
One elevator involved in the recent sale of Louis Dreyfus facilities to Parrish & Heimbecker is being challenged by the Canadian Competition Bureau. The Bureau says the former LD facility outside Virden, Manitoba and the P&H elevator in Moosomin, SK were “close competitors”, and this purchase eliminates that competition.
Because both elevators are now owned by the same company, the Bureau says that they will no longer compete to offer farmers the best prices for wheat and canola, and that will result in lower income for local farmers.
Looking at a map of grain elevators around Virden, one can see that farmers in the Virden area have few choices for online grain elevators. The closest non P&H elevators to Virden are Cargill in Oakner, Viterra in Souris, Richardson Pioneer in Kemnay, or Cargill in Elva 80 km south.
Farmers between Moosomin and Virden appear to have no real alternative other than to drive considerably farther to one of the other elevators.
The filed notice calls on P&H to sell one of the two elevators and to not acquire any elevator in the area for 10 years unless approved by the Competition Bureau.
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.
I was on a mission to revisit some of Manitoba’s western grain elevators, and fly my drone over some of them. In part 1 I visited several elevators in the morning, and we resume the story after leaving Beulah.
After the downpour at Beulah, I broke out of the thunderstorm near Miniota and carried on south toward my next destination, Reston.
Since I hadn’t spent much time at Birtle or Beulah, I was ahead of schedule. I decided to take a little detour before continuing on to Reston.
I flew my drone from a grid road and took a few photos of the beautiful old grain elevator at Harmsworth. I didn’t take many, as I didn’t want to linger too long and get behind in my schedule.
I carried on into Virden. I paused there to grab lunch at the A&W, then drove down highway 83 to Pipestone, then west on highway 2 to Reston. If I had planned my route a little better, I could have driven by Cromer to photograph that elevator again.
The Reston grain elevator appears unchanged from when I visited it in 2014. However, the railway tracks are gone now, as CP abandoned the track through here into Saskatchewan.
I didn’t fly my drone here, as the elevator is in the middle of town.
After photographing the elevator and the nearby CP roundhouse, I drove on to the next grain elevator.
The small town of Sinclair is a nice spot. I remember stopping at the general store back in 2014 and chatting with the owner. Sadly, that store is closed now.
The elevator is still there, fortunately. I put my drone up and took a few photos of it and the abandoned railway roadbed. It was quite windy here, and in fact it was windy for the remainder of the day. My drone kept warning me about high winds, so I was pretty cautious about how long I flew it and how high it flew.
I was really looking forward to the next town…
I really like the town of Tilston, Manitoba. It’s not quite a ghost town, as people do live here, but the majority of the town seems to be abandoned and it has some interesting houses and buildings.
I especially love the two Tilston grain elevators. One is clearly a former Manitoba Pool elevator, complete with the big roundel on the side. The other is lettered FIVE ROSES FLOUR, a brand of the original builder, the Lake of the Woods Milling Company.
The wind was still quite strong, but I flew my drone around a bit to record some photos and a little video.
Eventually, it was time to move on.
It was very windy at Napinka. I did fly my drone there, but I had to be careful to launch it upwind of the elevator and be aware that it was going to drift downwind somewhat.
I love that former Ogilvie Flour grain elevator. This was the Manitoba Pool “B” elevator until its retirement.
Napinka has a lot of interesting houses and other buildings. I spent a few minutes documenting those, then it was off to Elva.
I had to pass through Melita on my way to Elva, so I took the opportunity to fuel up my Civic, and take a quick photo of the two elevators there. Melita has an ex Pool and an ex UGG elevator.
Elva is a quiet little town, with several occupied houses, and two elevators. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in Manitoba.
It was still quite windy, so I didn’t fly my drone too high or too far away.
Beyond the Lake of the Woods elevator is a former UGG elevator that is not in good shape. The elevator has had holes in the side of the elevator for years, and these are slowly growing.
It started to rain while I was in Elva, so I landed my drone quickly and took shelter in my car. It rained hard but not for very long. I took a few more photos then continued on. There were plenty of elevators left to see that day.
In my next post, I will share the other elevators I saw on that day: Cameron, Coulter, Dalny, Waskada, Goodlands, Deloraine, Holmfield and Cartwright.