|Old cars left to nature's care near Beauséjour. Photo: ©2013 Alexandra Lucas|
|Into the deep autumn woods along the Brokenhead River. Photo: ©2008 Alexandra Lucas|
Is it really that cold in the winter? Are the summers warm?
Yes, it can be cold. The record low is -52°F, without windchill, but an average winter day isn't that frigid. For anyone who has not experienced frozen nostrils, it can be a little disconcerting at first but it won't stop you enjoying the outdoors. The summers are very warm and temperatures climbed to over 100°F one year but that was usual. Nearby beaches are a favourite weekend destination for many in the area, including those from the 'Peg. It's only about an hour's drive from the city.
So what brought people here?
|Credit: Library and Archives Canada/C-006605|
The years from 1890 to 1910 saw many immigrants arrive from Eastern Europe, the area referred to at that time as the Austrian Empire and what we know today as Poland, Germany, and Ukraine. Jewish settlers arrived from Galicia and Bukovina. They were granted homesteads through the Dominion Lands Act (1872), usually 160 acres for a fee of $10, and they would be awarded a Land Patent after certain improvements had been made within a specified time period. Within three years they had to clear from 15 to 50 acres of land, build a residence, and plant from 10 to 30 acres of crops with what they managed to bring with them in wooden trunks from the old country. Given the climate, it meant very hard work. Home was often a sod-covered hole in the ground until the land was cleared and planted. Did I mention the hordes of mosquitoes? After all this work in very little time and with two witnesses to testify to its completion, they could then apply for the Land Patent. That's how this community was built. The photo at right shows Galician settlers in a community to the south.
Beauséjour was home to the first glassworks in Western Canada, supplying bottles and containers made from the fine silica in the area. Its location is now a heritage site.
Agriculture and tourism are the cornerstones of the region's economy today. Its proximity to Whiteshell Park and cottage country make it an ideal getaway for a weekend. It's home to the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships, the Double B Rodeo, Shades of the Past Classic Car Show, and The Great Woods Music Festival. If you are looking for a more romantic weekend, try Getaways Romantic Retreat. Yes, they know how to have fun in the woods.
|Brokenhead River. Photo ©2008 Alexandra Lucas|
|After a day of hiking in woods, relax at Getaways Romantic Retreat. Photo ©2008 Alexandra Lucas|