Discover Stonewall, Manitoba: A Town Rich in History and Natural Beauty
Stonewall, a charming town located in the Canadian province of Manitoba, is a place of historical significance and natural beauty. With a population of 5,046 as per the 2021 census, this town is situated approximately 25 kilometres north of Winnipeg on PTH 67. Stonewall is renowned for its limestone quarries and the local festival, Quarry Days, which is usually held over three days in August on Main Street. The town is surrounded by the R.M. of Rockwood.
The Historical Journey of Stonewall, Manitoba
The history of Stonewall, Manitoba dates back to the retreat of the last ice age. The prairies and escarpments such as Riding Mountain were left behind, along with smaller elevations like Stony Mountain and Stonewall. These formations, believed to have been used as look-outs by early hunters approximately 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, were later used as buffalo jumps by the indigenous populations.
Stonewall was founded by Samuel Jacob Jackson in 1878, after he acquired the land the town is built upon in 1875. However, Jackson did not move to Stonewall himself until 1881. In the early 1880s, the quarry opened with the focus of their operation being the production of quicklime. During the peak times of the quarry, large amounts of dynamite was used for blasting the rock. The dynamite was kept in the powder magazine which has since been rebuilt near the entrance to Stonewall Quarry Park.
On June 30, 1880, the CPR railway line between Winnipeg and Victoria Junction, 3 miles east of Stonewall, was completed. The construction of the line continued west passing through Stonewall, Hanlan and Meadow Lea before turning south-west towards Portage la Prairie during the summer of 1880. The transcontinental line was originally planned to pass through Selkirk, but was actually built through Winnipeg following heavy lobbying from the city. The line west of Stonewall was therefore rebuilt through Rosser. The line north-west from Stonewall was subsequently extended through Teulon, Komarno before eventually reaching Arborg in 1910. In 2008, the RM of Rockwood decided that the line was obsolete. With the city of Winnipeg's help the line was taken out.
The present town hall was built in 1912 using local limestone. Following the closure of the quarry, Kinsmen Lake was developed on the site and opened to the public on August 10, 1956. The lake has become a popular location for locals and visitors to the town. In 1983, the town council initiated a project to develop the former quarry site around Kinsmen Lake into a historical site and natural area.
Demographics of Stonewall, Manitoba
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Stonewall had a population of 5,046 living in 2,051 of its 2,127 total private dwellings, a change of 4.9% from its 2016 population of 4,809. With a land area of 5.96 km2, it had a population density of 846.6/km2 in 2021.
Climate of Stonewall, Manitoba
Stonewall experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with warm to hot summers and cold winters.
Attractions in Stonewall, Manitoba
Stonewall Quarry Park
The Stonewall Quarry Park has been maintained as a natural area on the edge of town and provides picnic facilities, walking & biking trails for visitors and residents alike. The nine baseball diamonds are available for hire and have been used for the Blue Jays Cups in 1997 and 1998, the Pan Am Games in 1999 and the Western Canada Summer Games in 2003. There is also a campsite and swimming available in Kinsmen Lake. The Kinsmen Lake Splash Pad was opened in 2021 to the public. Stonewall Quarry Park also displays the many aspects of limestone production, one aspect includes The Kilns which were used for producing calcium oxide and quicklime in the late 1800's to mid 1900's. There was a museum and visitor centre, however these were destroyed by fire in the early hours of November 11, 2007. The new interpretive centre was opened in fall 2011.
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre is a 36 km2 restored prairie marsh featuring artesian springs, aspen-oak bluff, waterfowl lure crop, tall-grass prairie and 30 kilometres of trails. The marsh is home to mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates. During the migration season, the number of waterfowl using the marsh can exceed 400,000 a day.
The Stonewall Post Office
The Stonewall Post Office is an example of the prairie style of architecture which was popular between late 19th and early 20th century. It was built in 1914 using local limestone and used as a post office until 1979. The Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association was founded at the previous Stonewall post office in 1902.