recognizes train station’s
Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon on hand for plaque reveal BY
THE BRANDON SUN • SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 2017
Building on the past
Small communities rising to the challenge of saving historically
Christian Cassidy By: Christian Cassidy
Posted: 08/13/2017 3:00 AM
when many Manitobans take to the highways on vacation or to visit loved
ones. If you go off the beaten track into some of our smaller
communities, you can still find a rich, though dwindling, collection of
buildings that make up our province’s built history.
Maintaining and renovating these structures would be difficult in any
setting, but in a community with small — in some cases, shrinking — tax
base and limited pool of volunteers, the challenge is all the greater.
Thankfully, small, but dedicated, groups of people in many communities
have taken on the often decades-long commitment to preserve and restore
some of these structures for future generations.
Three buildings that are in different stages of renovation are the
Rivers Train Station, Rapid City Consolidated School and the Ninette
Sanatorium. If you find yourself near one of these communities, be sure
to stop in and check them out.
Rivers Train Station
The Rivers Train Station is the only passenger stop between Portage la
Prairie and Melville, Sask., and Dauphin and the U.S. border.
Christian Cassidy -
Winnipeg Free Press
Architect: Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Rivers, located 250 kilometres west of Winnipeg, was once one of the
province’s most important railway hubs.
In 1907, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP) chose the town to be a
divisional point on its trek west to the Pacific coast. This meant a
huge investment in the community in the form of a roundhouse, (a
semi-circular building used to service locomotives), repair sheds, a
coal storage yard, and bunk houses for some of the 300 or so men
employed at the facilities.
This two-storey station was built in the summer of 1917 to replace the
original circa 1909 station, which was razed by fire.
The Rivers Train Station's roof was replaced in 2016 at a cost of
The GTP was absorbed by the CNR in 1920, but the town continued to be
an important railway hub for decades to come. The station was likely at
its busiest during the Second World War, shuttling personnel and
equipment to and from Canadian Forces Base Rivers.
The CNR began to reorganize its facilities in the 1950s and, soon
after, most of the town’s railway buildings were demolished or sold
off. Today, the train station is the only significant structure
remaining from Rivers’ storied railway past.
In 1989, the station, which by then was owned by VIA Rail, was closed.
The company was asked to hold off on any demolition plans until the
town could decide whether or not they wanted it to have a role in
Rivers’ future. The company agreed, and in 1992 the building was
designated a municipal heritage site and received federal recognition
under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act.
In 2006, a formal Rivers Train Station Restoration Project Committee
was created to bring the building back to life.
When completed, the Rivers Train Station will house offices, a museum,
an arts and culture space and a VIA Rail waiting room.
Donna Morken is the chairwoman of the committee and has been involved
with saving the station for nearly 20 years. She is driven by the fact
that, "Prairie railway stations were the heart of the community, they
were the beginning of many communities as the railway pushed west and
united the country from sea to sea, adding, "Prairie railway stations
are not unlike the grain elevators, if we do not restore them they will
be gone forever."
In 2014, the restoration committee signed a 40-year lease agreement
with VIA Rail for the station, which means all its fundraising efforts
go toward the renovation itself, not a mortgage payment. In 2016, the
largest project to date was undertaken with the replacement of the
roof, at a cost of about $70,000.
Morken notes the station is not just an important part of the town’s
past, but also of its future. Plans for the renovated space — the
completion date is still unknown — include a tourism office, a museum,
offices of the Rivers and Area Community Foundation, and an arts and
There will also be a VIA Rail waiting room as, starting in 2008, Rivers
became the only on-off passenger point between Portage la Prairie and
Melville, Sask., and between Dauphin and the U.S. border.
See complete article
keeps Rivers station
project on track
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 • THE BRANDON SUN
Dreams from A to Z: the legacy of the Alphabet Railway
Rivers Banner, July, 8, 2016
Archive / 2013
The Town of Rivers was incorporated in 1913.
The Rivers 100th Anniversary Celebrations took place on July
Visit the Rivers Centennial Site at: rivers100.com
Visit us at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rivers100
BIG PIECES OF THE PUZZLE
Brandon Sun, Aug 1, 2012
Archive / 2011
Canada did a Manitoba Heritage Play on the
train from Winnipeg to
Rivers and then Rivers to Winnipeg depicting Manitoba's History to
celebrate Canada Parks 125 th history.
Learns About Grants
Jessie Bell, RTSRP Reporter
Michael Blatherwick, regional counsultant for Manitoba Department of
Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, western region, attended a Rivers
Train Station Restoration Committee meeting on Tuesday evening, January
27th. He explained the availability of two provincial grants: Community
Places and one for heritage buildings, favouring the latter. Both
grants can be applied for every year; however, Community Places is for
projects that must be completed with the year the grant is made. He
added that more than one organization within the same town could apply
for grants. The heritage grant would be most suitable for the train
station restoration as this project will be carried out over a period
of several years.
Blatherwick reported a facilities consultant had recently inspected
Rivers train station. Having worked in construction for many years
before employment with Manitoba government, this consultant was
impressed with the beams, sound foundation and solid wood flooring. He
was very positive about the state of the building and excited to see
restoration commence. Advice was given concerning the roof, which
should be shingled to protect the interior. Once the indoor update is
completed, the cheaper asphalt shingles could be replaced by the
enviro-friendly 'cedar' shakes.
Aeleen Sclater showed the group a sample of lumber saved by her father,
the late Abe Sclater, from Floors Elevator where he was employed for
many years. He had salvaged the boards from the interior of the
elevator leg when the structure was being demolished. Deep grooves had
been created in the lumber by the movement of grain which eventually
removed the soft wood, leaving a sculpted hard wood. The rescued
lumber, along with the history of Floors Elevator, have been offered by
the Sclater family as a museum collection once the station is restored.
Another donation to a station museum are paintings of steam locomotives
by Stephen Lowe of Brandon and formerly of Rivers. A monetary donation
was gratefully received from a local grain group who recently disbanded.
Posted by Rivers Train Station Restoration Project Committee
The Great Train Trip Giveaway winner Dennis Basso (l) of Deloraine,
Manitoba receives a voucher from Rivers Train Station Restoration
Project co-chair Ralph Sprenger (r) for a train trip for two!
The presentation took place at the Rivers Train Stationette,
where Mr. Basso and his wife Marlene will board the VIA Rail Canadian
train, traveling first class to Vancouver. The Basso's will take their
trip sometime before the end of August.
WIN! A TRAIN TRIP FOR TWO TO TORONTO OR
Get on board The Great Train Trip Giveaway! You and a friend could be
traveling VIA Rail's signature Silver and Blue class from Rivers to
either Toronto or Vancouver ~ a round trip valued at nearly $5,000.!
• Get your tickets today ~ $20. each ~ only 1,000 sold.
• Tickets available at Carol's Time Again Treasures in Rivers,
through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm ~ call 204-328-4434 ... or ... call
204-328-7841 evenings and weekends.
• All proceeds go to the Rivers Train Station Restoration
date is February 14, 2009 in Rivers, MB.
You could win a return trip for two from Rivers to either Toronto or
Vancouver on VIA Rail's award winning Canadian train. Your one/two day
trip each way will begin in Rivers (departs Rivers Wednesday, Friday
and Sunday), and you will be treated with VIA's signature Silver
Blue class service throughout the journey.
• Much more than a way to get there, Silver & Blue
romance and sophistication of a classic overnight rail experience.
Enjoy the best of Canadian cuisine, freshly prepared and served in the
stylish dining car. Pause for a drink in the Skyline car or Park car,
or climb up to the observation dome for a 360-degree view of your
surroundings. And fall asleep to the rhythm of the rails in your cozy
• As a Silver & Blue class passenger, you enjoy
privileges and priority baggage handling at major stations, comfortable
bedrooms with nightly bed turn down service, exclusive use of shower
facilities, exclusive use of lounges and observation dome in the Park
car, and an on-board Activity Coordinator. Special touches include a
"Welcome Aboard!" reception and appetizers and wine, personal shower
kit, 24-hour complimentary tea/coffee service, and of course, courteous
staff attentive to your every need.
• As all meals are included in your trip, dining in Silver
class is a memorable experience in itself. Whether for breakfast, lunch
or any of the three evening sittings, an enticing menu is freshly
prepared by our on-board chef, featuring soups and salads, superb hot
entrees and irresistible desserts.
• Full Draw Regulations are in the previous posting.
• For any further information regarding the Great Train Trip
or the Rivers Train Station Restoration Project, please call
• Get your ticket today ... and GOOD LUCK!
TRAIN TRIP GIVEAWAY DRAW REGULATIONS
• Winner will be determined by random draw on February 14,
• Winner will receive one voucher for TWO passengers for a
trip to either Toronto OR Vancouver aboard VIA Rail Silver and Blue
Class valued up to $5,000.
• Ticket voucher not transferable and cannot be redeemed for
• Ticket voucher must be redeemed by August 21, 2009 ~ this
not be extended.
• Departure must be from Rivers, Manitoba.
• Winner responsible for transportation to and from Rivers.
• Winner responsible for all lodging and expenses at point of
destination. (Toronto or Vancouver)
• Ticket voucher not valid December 15 - January 5 inclusive
from Easter Thursday to Monday inclusive.
• Only the winner's name on the voucher may use the voucher.
strictly forbidden to sell, assign, trade or transfer in any manner
whatsoever the travel voucher to another person.
• Subject to available of space on board. Early booking is
• Winner will be notified how to reserve their trip.
• Chances are 1 in 1,000 (total tickets sold) to win.
• Winner consents to release of name and photo by licensee for
Posted by Rivers Train Station Restoration Project Committee
CANADA Partners Generously with Community
VIA RAIL PRESENTS
PROMOTIONAL TRAVEL VOUCHER
Everyone present at the official opening of the Rivers Train
Stationette was thrilled when VIA Rail Canada representative Michael
Woelcke presented co-chairs Ralph Sprenger and Donna Morken with a
travel voucher. The promotional travel certificate will entitle the
bearer to two (2) round trip tickets in silver & blue class -
for travel from Rivers to either Vancouver or Toronto! The
of the voucher is estimated up to $5,000 and deemed perfect as a
fundraising raffle for the project.
At a luncheon following the opening, Mr. Woelcke announced
Rail Canada would also be picking up all costs of the renovations made
to the stationette building. VIA Rail's commitment in assisting and
working with the Rivers Train Station Restoration Project committee is
generous and warmly welcomed.
Posted by Rivers Train Station Restoration Project Committee
STATIONETTE OFFICIAL OPENING
SEPTEMBER 9, 2008
Rivers Train Station Restoration Project committee members Barb
Sveistrup and Arleigh White held the ribbon while (l to r) VIA Rail
Canada representative Michael Woelcke, committee co-chairs Ralph
Sprenger and Donna Morken performed the honours of cutting the ribbon.
The stationette provides a well-lit, warm, secure and safe place for
passengers boarding or arriving in Rivers. Formerly located
Brandon North the Rivers Train Stationette is now the only VIA Rail
boarding station west of Portage la Prairie into eastern Saskatchewan
and between the south and north Manitoba borders.
Community members graciously gave their time and expertise in moving
the stationette to it's location. Moving was done by Mark Gill of Gill
Farms, Oak River; shingles were donated by Accent Roofing, Brandon;
construction work was done by Doug Marriott of Marriott Construction,
Rivers; Harold Dyck, Rivers offered his skills in welding and many
committee members and their families did the painting and sprucing
up! The signage was donated by Neil Roy of Richmond Signs in
Brandon. Everyone's efforts resulted in a building we can all be proud
of. Just wait til we get started on the main station house!
All funding for the Rivers Train Station Restoration Project is raised
through government grants; individual, business and corporate
support/sponsorship and various fundraising projects such as the sale
of heritage keepsakes (railway spikes and station prints), personalized
bricks for the Wall of Memories as well as Rivers Train Station note
cards. See below.
by Rivers Train
Station Restoration Project Committee
Pewter locomotive mounted on an original railway spike adorned with a
silver RIVERS plaque.
A beautiful replication of the Rivers Train Station, painted by Dr.
Hobbs of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada is now available in 16" x 24"
prints. A keepsake to cherish.
Rivers Train Station Prints available at Carol's Time Again
in Rivers, 328-4434 or from Rivers Train Station Restoration Project
committee at 328-7841.
Wall of Memories
PERSONALIZED ENGRAVED BRICKS $50.
Brick by Brick, you can help build the Rivers Train Station Wall of
Memories to be built at Millenium Park, in the gardens next to the
This low, two sided wall will be graced with plantings and
the focal points in the development of the Millenium Park in Rivers.
Each brick will be a tribute to community members both past
• Personalized Engraved Bricks for the Wall of Memories may be
calling the Rivers Train Station Restoration Project committee at
The RTSRP Committee is right on track!
• Through a fully funded educational project a Brandon
has developed a business plan for the restoration of the Rivers Train
• Research is being made into the most effective and efficient
alternative energy source for the station. The options that are being
explored include solar, biodisel, geo-thermal and wind.
• Committee members and volunteers have held numerous clean-up
at the station, preparing it for reconstruction and renovation. Looking
• The general foundation and structure of the building is in
Steps have been taken to prevent further deterioration of the roof.
• VIA Rail Canada is working closely with the committee and
is enthusiastic about the future partnership!
• Part of the 'green' restoration plan for the roofing may
Enviroshakes® ... superior shingle product composed primarily
• The committee continues to work hard to promote
for the project.