| The decision by the Grand Trunk
Pacific to create the Town of Rivers as
a divisional point on its new trans-continental line necessitated a
number of building and engineering projects. Extensive yards and a
roundhouse would be required. There would be a need for a variety of
facilities and services related to the maintenance of steam locomotives.
A good supply of water was essential, and the Little Saskatchewan
River, while providing challenges for construction, was indispensable
for the operations of the Grand Trunk Railway in Rivers.
Like all small prairie rivers, the Little Saskatchewan is very
seasonal, and slows to a trickle during dry summers. By 1910, a dam was
constructed to back up a dependable supply of water and a pump house
built to send the water uphill to the water tower located near the
Views: The dam was quite near the rival C.P. line
Much of the dam has been washed
away in recent years, but parts of the
structure remain visible.
The Pump House
Operations were conducted by a pumpman, with John Borroff serving until
his retirement in 1947. It could be a dangerous job. In 1917
shop-worker Olive Archer had suffered head and facial injuries when a
valve blew out, and Robert McGregor was killed when caught up in the
The remains of this structure are
upstream from the dam, alongside the
former pump house. It would likely have been the site of the intake.
The dam, and the small lake it created, soon became a popular
spot for swimming, picnicking and fishing. And like all dams it could
be dangerous. In 1914 Billy McKinnon and the light craft from which he
had been fishing, were swept over the dam and he was drowned.