The Assiniboine River Route #4 / Brandon to Treesbank

Launch : Drive straight east on Richmond. Avenue, the road ends at the river.

Landing : Drive east to Shilo and south to the new Treesbank Bridge on Road #340.

Distance : About 40 km

Time : 4 - 5 Hours

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Shortly after embarking you pass under under a beautiful old railway bridge.

The Brandon Rapids begin shortly. They are not difficult but watch for rocks. If the water is low, keep to the right. Soon the banks become steep and you observe more wildlife as you get away from Brandon. Turtles and deer are plentiful, and the occasional eagle makes an appearance. Wiggle (or Waggle) Springs enters on the left bank. This was a popular picnic/swimming spot in the days before longer trips to the big resorts like Clear Lake became viable.

Historical Notes

This area is important historically as the first steamboats stopped at the bottom of the rapids, being unable to navigate further. In times when the water was high, boats ascended by means of burying a log in the bank, (a "dead man"), with a rope secured to it, and pulling the boat through. This took up to 14 hours, and many passengers would get off and walk to Grand Valley or Brandon, and wait for their luggage there.

William Currie established a landing, warehouse and ferry at the bottom of the rapids in 1880. The steamboats ran only until 1885, but the ferry was still in operation in 1892. Little evidence exists of the location on the north side (1-10-18), about a mile downstream from the old railway bridge. The history is well covered in the Cornwallis History, and in "False Starts : Settlement Stories From Westman"

The Hudson Bay Company operated several fur trading forts in southern Manitoba. A post called Brandon House existed at at least three separate locations along the Assiniboine between the Souris mouth and the Brandon Rapids. Forts tended to not last long, if they weren't destroyed by enemies they were often burned by accident. The third version of Brandon House was located in the vicinity of (Wiggle) Waggle Springs at NW 29-9-17 in 1828. A cairn erected by the Brandon Rotary Club in 1928 marks the spot.  

As many as five fur trade forts existed withing range of this photo. Brandon House #1 was located in the clearing north of  the river. Mair's (Five Mile) Creek enters from the south west about centre. The Northwest Co, the XY Co. and Independant Traders each had forts on that side.

For More Details...

False Starts: A Settlement History of Western Manitoba

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