The history of the electrical industry in Manitoba began over a century ago during the pioneer days of street lighting and street railway transportation in Winnipeg.
Before long, as the novelty of the new energy source gave way to necessity, other large communities in the province wanted the benefits that electricity would bring. They received electrical service but often at very high costs.
A few farsighted individuals saw the enormous advantages of large-scale generating facilities. Among them were a number of public-spirited citizens who felt that electricity should be made available at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.
Today we are a major energy utility providing the lowest electricity rates in Canada. We operate 15 hydroelectric facilities on the Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Burntwood, Laurie and Nelson rivers, 2 thermal and 4 diesel generating stations.
Highlights of our history
The company has evolved over time – read about the very beginning of electrification in Manitoba. View a couple publications created by our home economists over the decades.
- The History of Electric Power in Manitoba (PDF, 5.3 MB) highlights some of the milestones in the electrical industry in Manitoba as well as the development of Manitoba Hydro and some of the significant events in the utility’s history.
- An Old-Fashioned Christmas (PDF, 12.7 MB) was created by City Hydro in the 1940s. Read more about the food, games, and decorations of a long-gone era.
- Through The Cooking Glass (PDF, 1.5 MB) was created by Winnipeg Hydro and Manitoba Hydro’s home economists in the 1960s.
Connecting communities 1920 to 1961
At the end of this 41-year period, Manitoba Power Commission and Manitoba Hydro Electric Board were united to form Manitoba Hydro, and 523 communities were connected to the provincial power system.
The electrification of Manitoba
Winnipeg’s electrical system connected with its first community on August 16, 1920 with the transmission of power to Portage la Prairie.
- – Portage la Prairie;
- – Carman, Minnedosa, Morden, Roland, Virden;
- – Elm Creek, Oakville;
- – Newton Siding;
- – Homewood, Miami, Myrtle, Rosebank, Sperling;
- – High Bluff;
- – Altamont, Cardinal, Crystal City, Cypress River, Darlingford, Glenboro, Holland, La Riviere, Manitou, Notre Dame, Pilot Mound, Rathwell, Somerset, Swan Lake, Treherne;
- – Winkler;
- – Baldur, Boissevain, Cartwright, Elkhorn, Killarney, Melita, Pipestone, Reston, Wawanesa;
- – Arrow River, Binscarth, Birtle, Brandon, Crandall, Foxwarren, Gilbert Plains, Gimli, Grandview, Holmfield, Miniota, Starbuck, St. Lazare, Winnipeg Beach;
- – Bradwardine, Harding, Kenton, Lenore, Napinka, Teulon, St. Claude;
- – Gladstone;
- – Elie;
- – Austin, MacGregor, Ninga;
- – Altona, Dominion City, Graham Siding, Gretna, Horndean, Letellier, Morris, Oak Lake, Plum Coulee, Rosenfeld, St. Eustache;
- – Alexander, Belmont, Beulah, Decker, Dunrea, Elgin, Fairfax, Griswold, Hamiota, Isabella, Margaret, Minto, Ninette, Shoal Lake, St. Francois Xavier, St. Joseph;
- – Elma, Whitemouth;
- – Balmoral, Bruxelles, Cardale, Clearwater, East Selkirk, Garson, Gonor, Gunton, Lorette, Mariapolis, Mather, McConnell, Newdale, Oakburn, Oak River, Rossburn, St. Alphonse, Ste. Anne, St. Jean Baptiste, Steinbach, Strathclair, Tyndall, Vista;
- – Angusville, Basswood, Carberry, Carroll, Culross, Douglas, Fannystelle, Forrest, Hartney, Haywood, Manson, McAuley, Nesbitt, Niverville, Otterburne, St. Adolphe, Ste. Agathe, St. Malo, St. Pierre-Jolys, Silverton, Souris, Thornhill;
- – Russell;
- – Birnie, Eden, Franklin, Kelwood, Laurier, Makinak, McCreary, Ochre River, Riding Mountain, Ste. Rose du Lac;
- – Rivers;
- – Aubigny, Dauphin, Neepawa, Ste. Elizabeth, Underhill;
- – Fortier, Greenway, Hargrave, MacDonald, Upper Seven Sisters;
- – Anola, Arborg, Arden, Arnaud, Bethany, Blumenort South, Brookdale, Brunkild, Camp Morton, Carey, Chater, Clandeboye, Clanwilliam, Dufrost, Dugald, Elphinstone, Elva, Erickson, Giroux, Glenella, Glenora, Ile des Chenes, Justice, Kane, Keyes, La Broquerie, La Rochelle, La Salle, Lowe Farm, Menzie, Moorepark, Neelin, Netley, Oakland, Oberon, Ogilvie, Petersfield, Pierson, Plumas, Poplar Point, Rapid City, Richer, Riverton, Sandy Lake, Sanford, Sydney, St. Leon, Wellwood, Westbourne, Wheatlands, Willen;
- – Arnes, Cordova, Cracknell, Deloraine, Delta, Dropmore, Gregg, Grunthal, Hazelridge, Hnausa, Ingelow, Inglis, Kaleida, Komarno, Lyleton, Magnusson, New Bothwell, Oakbank, Oak Bluff, Reinfeld, Roblin, Shellmouth, Sifton, Sinclair, Springstein, Stonewall, Stony Mountain, Valley River;
- – Bagot, Beaver, Beresford, Carlowrie, Chortitz, Cloverleaf, Dacotah, Edwin, Fraserwood, Goodlands, Graysville, Harte, Inwood, Kemnay, Lauder, Lena, Marquette, Medora, Meleb, McTavish, Oakner, Onanole, Osborne, Pope, Purves, Reaburn, Rosenort, Rounthwaite, Silver Plains, Snowflake, St. Lupicin, Tilston, Treesbank, Wakopa, Waskada, Whitewater, Woodbay;
- – Broad Valley, Chatfield, Dunnottar, Fisher Branch, Melbourne, Mentmore, Pleasant Point, Poplarfield;
- – Amaranth, Argyle, Ashern, Ashville, Bannerman, Bede, Bield, Broomhill, Caliento, Camper, Dand, Deepdale, Deleau, Eastdale, Endcliffe, Eriksdale, Ethelbert, Faulkner, Firdale, Fork River, Gardenton, Garland, Gnadenthal, Grahamdale, Gross Isle, Gypsumville, Helston, Hilbre, Lake Francis, Langruth, Landseer, Lavinia, Lundar, Magnet, Makaroff, Marchand, Mayfeld, Menesino, Moline, Moosehorn, Mulvihill, Pine Creek, Pine River, Ridgeville, Rorketon, Roseisle, Rosser, Ste. Amelie, St. Laurent, St. Martin, Sarto, Shevlin, Shortdale, Spearhill, Steeprock, Stephenfield, Stuartburn, Tenby, Tolstoi, Two Creeks, Vita, Waldersee, Warren, Winnipegosis, Woodlands;
- – Alonsa, Belleview, Blumenfeld, Chortitz South, Cook’s Creek, Cromer, Deerhorn, Domain, Fredensruch, Halbstadt, Haskett, Hochfeld, Katrime, Kirkella, Lac du Bonnet, Ledwyn, Libau, Meadows, Middlebro, Muir, Neuenberg, Norgate, Osterwick, Poplar Park, Regent, Reinland, Rosengart, Rossendale, Saltel, Scarth, Schanzenfeld, South Junction, Sprague, Stockton, Terence, Uno, Vassar, Vidir, Wampum, Woodnorth, Woodside;
- – Barnsley, Blumenort, Butler, Coulter, Dauphin Beach, Ebor, Ewart, Findlay, Grande Clairiere, Hilton, Kelloe, Ladywood, Lakeland, Methley, Mountain Road, Mountainside, Neuhorst, Olha, Polonia, Rosenort, San Clara, Schoenwiese, Solsgirth;
- – Beaconia, Benito, Birdtail, Bowsman, Dencross, Durban, East Braintree, Glencairn, Grand Beach, Grand Marais, Green Oak, Greenwald, Gull Lake, Hadashville, Harrowby, Kenville, Lavenham, Lydiatt, Malonton, McMunn, Millwood, Minitonas, Mink Creek, Ochre Beach, Overstoneville, Powerview, Rackham, Rhodes, Rosa, Roseau River, Ross, St. George, St. Ouens, Senkiw, Silver, Silverwood, Stead, Swan River, Thalberg, Valley View, Venlaw, Vivian;
- – Birch River, Clarkleigh, Cowan, Dufresne, Fishing River, Greenridge, Hecla Island, Lido Plage, Marco, Molson, Pratt, Rosewood, Sandy Lake Beach, Toutes Aides, Ukraina, Victoria Beach, Woodmore, Worby;
- – Albert Beach, Bellsite, Hanover, Camperville, Erinview, Kronsgart, Mafeking, Metigoshe Beach, Narcisse, Novra, Reeder, Rennie, St. Ambroise, Sandy Hook, Woodridge;
- – Assiniboia, Brooklands, Carrick, Charleswood, East Kildonan, East St. Paul, Fort Garry, Loni Beach, North Kildonan, Old Kildonan, Reeve, St. Vital, Transcona, Tuxedo, West Kildonan, West St. Paul;
- – Birds Hill, Emerson, Falcon Lake, Glenlea, Lockport, Sewell, West Hawk Lake;
- – Beausejour, Jordan;
- – The Pas;
- – Cranberry Portage, Glass Siding, Hazelglen, Melrose, Thompson;
- – Churchill.
Development of Manitoba’s electrical utilities
The evolution of Manitoba Hydro
Starting with the Winnipeg Gas Company, a supplier of gas for lighting, many more gas, electricity, and transportation companies evolved in Manitoba during late 1800s until 2002 when Manitoba Hydro became the sole supplier of electricity.
- – Winnipeg Gas Company;
- – Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company;
- – Winnipeg Gas Company merged with Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company;
- – Winnipeg Street Railway Company;
- – North West Electric Light and Power Company (Ltd.) (NWEL & P.Co.);
- – North West Electric Company Ltd.;
- – Brandon Electric Light Company Ltd. (formation date unknown) built steam station in Brandon;
- – Winnipeg Electric Street Railway Company (WESR.Co.);
- – Winnipeg Street Railway Company purchased by WESR.Co.;
- – Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company purchased by WESR.Co.;
- – Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company;
- – North West Electric Company Ltd. purchased by WESR.Co.;
- – Winnipeg General Power Company;
- – Winnipeg General Power Company merged with WESR.Co. and became Winnipeg Electric Railway Company (WERCo.);
- – Suburban Rapid Transit Company became subsidiary of WERCo.;
- – Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company became subsidiary of WERCo.;
- – City Light and Power Department;
- – Winnipeg River Railway Company, financed by WERCo., affiliated to Winnipeg River Power Company;
- – Winnipeg River Power Company became associate company of WERCo.;
- – Minnedosa Power Company (formation date unknown) built Minnedosa Hydro Plant;
- – Manitoba Power Commission (MPC);
- – Manitoba Power Company, a subsidiary of WERCo., took over Winnipeg River Railway Company and Winnipeg River Power Company;
- – Canada Gas & Electric Corporation of Brandon formed with consolidation of Brandon Electric Light Company Ltd. and Brandon Gas & Power Company Limited;
- – WERCo. changed name to Winnipeg Electric Company (WECo.);
- – Northwestern Power Company;
- – Northwestern Power Company merged with WECo.;
- – Canada Gas & Electric Corporation of Brandon purchased by MPC;
- – Winnipeg Electric Company’s Plan of Consolidation and Readjustment reorganized WECo. and its associated companies (Northwestern Power Company, Suburban Rapid Transit Company, Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company);
- – Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board Development Act passed in Manitoba legislature;
- – Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board (MHEB);
- – National Utilities Corporation Limited acquired by MPC;
- – WECo. transferred its gas and transit assets to newly incorporated companies, Greater Winnipeg Gas and Greater Winnipeg Transit Company;
- – MHEB amalgamated with WECo.;
- – City of Winnipeg Hydro Electric System (City Hydro) became sole distributor of electricity in City of Winnipeg;
- – Manitoba Power Commission (MPC) became sole distributor of electricity in suburban Winnipeg and all of Manitoba;
- – The Pas Electrical Utility purchased by MPC;
- – Cranberry Portage Distribution System purchased by MPC;
- – Town of Selkirk Electrical Distribution Syst;
- – Manitoba Hydro;
- – City of Winnipeg Hydro Electric System (City Hydro) became Winnipeg Hydro;
- – Laurie River generating stations, owned by Sherritt Gordon Mines Limited, taken over by Manitoba Hydro;
- – Manitoba Hydro purchased Centra Gas from West Coast Energy Inc.;
- – Manitoba Hydro purchased Winnipeg Hydro.