Discover Boissevain, Manitoba: A Historical and Touristic Gem
Boissevain, Manitoba, is an unincorporated urban community nestled near the North Dakota border. This charming community, which held town status until 2015, is situated within the Municipality of Boissevain – Morton. With a population of just over 1,500 people, Boissevain is a vibrant hub nestled between Killarney and Deloraine to the east and west, and Brandon to the north. The surrounding area, within a 50-kilometre radius, boasts a population of about 15,000.
Boissevain, Manitoba: A Gateway to International Peace Garden
Boissevain is renowned for its proximity to the International Peace Garden, a short drive south on Highway 10. This community is also a tourist attraction, thanks to its impressive display of wall murals. Named after Adolphe Boissevain, who played a significant role in financing the Canadian Pacific Railway, Boissevain is a stone's throw away from Turtle Mountain and Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. The community formerly hosted the "International Turtle Derby", a summer turtle race. "Tommy the Turtle", a 28-foot-tall, 10,000-lb western painted turtle, serves as an icon for both the Turtle Derby and the community as a whole.
The Rich History of Boissevain, Manitoba
Work began along the anticipated route of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1874. Surveyors were impressed with the Turtle Mountain region and predicted it would become a chief point of settlement in the coming years. The site of the town of Boissevain was decided by the CPR in 1885. By 1886, the settlement boasted a blacksmith shop, a post office, and two grain warehouses. The settlement was named in honour of Dutch financier, Adolf Boissevain, who introduced CPR shares for sale in Europe.
As pioneer life transitioned to the comforts of a growing town, many new buildings, schools, and churches were erected. One of the prominent buildings constructed was the St. Matthew's Anglican Church, built with granite walls found in the local fields. Sandstone, discovered nearby by the earlier surveyors, was used to construct another place of worship and local landmark, the St. Paul's United Church, completed in 1893.
Like many towns in the west, Boissevain's prosperity came with the railway. The CPR line was the first to arrive in 1885. Three other additional railways in the area, including the Great Northern Railway through the railway's subsidiary organized under the name of the "Brandon, Saskatchewan and Hudson Bay Railway", meant that farmers could now ship their goods to the United States in the south while also having a link with Brandon to the north. The railways began to decline during The Great Depression, and with it, the fortunes of Boissevain. The Great Northern line ended service in 1936.
Boissevain, Manitoba: A Snapshot of Demographics
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Boissevain had a population of 1,577 living in 700 of its 736 total private dwellings. This represented a change of -4.8% from its 2016 population of 1,656. With a land area of 2.9 km2 (1.1 sq mi), it had a population density of 543.8/km2 (1,408.4/sq mi) in 2021.