What Did Winnipeg Look Like in 1900?

This photo dates from the turn of the 20th century and you’re looking at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Source: Flickr user winterbos

Below is the description of the photo.

You are looking west. Montreal is nearly 1500 miles away behind you and Vancouver is at about the same distance straight ahead, away beyond those enormous open plains of the Red River Valley and beyond the walls of the Rockies and the Selkirks that separate this middle of the continent from the Pacific slopes.

It is a substantial, prosperous city; you see there is nothing pretentious about its architecture but it is dignified so far as it goes, without the grotesquely dramatic look of a newly rich mining town — that is because its wealth comes through the more sober, conservative channels of agricultural enterprise. Thirty years ago, there were only about two hundred people here. To-day there are more than fifty thousand and the bank clearances are exceeded only by Montreal and Toronto. It is the land and the railroad that have effected this transformation. Thousands of square miles in the province of Manitoba all around here are rich alluvial plains like those you see at this moment stretching toward the west — the bed of a prehistoric lake. It is nearly treeless, so no great labor is necessary to prepare it for tillage. Its fertility is something enormous. The summer sun shines tremendously warm and long on the farmers’ fields (they say the standing crops get the sun “eight days in the week” because of the increased length of summer days in this high latitude), and, since the completion of the Canadian Pacific railway made it practicable to dispose of large crops, farmers all around here have gone into wheat-raising on a gigantic scale. More than 20,000,000 bushels are exported yearly from Manitoba farms.