History

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Learn more about our history at the Manitoba Electrical Museum & Education Centre in Winnipeg.

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.

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.

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.

Winnipeg’s electrical system connected with its first community on August 16, 1920 with the transmission of power to Portage la Prairie.

1920 – Portage la Prairie
1921 – Carman, Minnedosa, Morden, Roland, Virden
1922 – Elm Creek, Oakville
1923 – Newton Siding
1925 – Homewood, Miami, Myrtle, Rosebank, Sperling
1926 – High Bluff
1927 – Altamont, Cardinal, Crystal City, Cypress River, Darlingford, Glenboro, Holland, La Riviere, Manitou, Notre Dame, Pilot Mound, Rathwell, Somerset, Swan Lake, Treherne
1928 – Winkler
1929 – Baldur, Boissevain, Cartwright, Elkhorn, Killarney, Melita, Pipestone, Reston, Wawanesa
1930 – Arrow River, Binscarth, Birtle, Brandon, Crandall, Foxwarren, Gilbert Plains, Gimli, Grandview, Holmfield, Miniota, Starbuck, St. Lazare, Winnipeg Beach
1931 – Bradwardine, Harding, Kenton, Lenore, Napinka, Teulon, St. Claude
1932 – Gladstone
1933 – Elie
1934 – Austin, MacGregor, Ninga
1935 – Altona, Dominion City, Graham Siding, Gretna, Horndean, Letellier, Morris, Oak Lake, Plum Coulee, Rosenfeld, St. Eustache
1936 – Alexander, Belmont, Beulah, Decker, Dunrea, Elgin, Fairfax, Griswold, Hamiota, Isabella, Margaret, Minto, Ninette, Shoal Lake, St. Francois Xavier, St. Joseph
1937 – Elma, Whitemouth
1938 – 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
1939 – 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
1940 – Russell
1941 – Birnie, Eden, Franklin, Kelwood, Laurier, Makinak, McCreary, Ochre River, Riding Mountain, Ste. Rose du Lac
1943 – Rivers
1944 – Aubigny, Dauphin, Neepawa, Ste. Elizabeth, Underhill
1945 – Fortier, Greenway, Hargrave, MacDonald, Upper Seven Sisters
1946 – 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
1947 – 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
1948 – 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
1949 – Broad Valley, Chatfield, Dunnottar, Fisher Branch, Melbourne, Mentmore, Pleasant Point, Poplarfield
1950 – 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
1951 – 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
1952 – 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
1953 – 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
1954 – 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
1955 – Albert Beach, Bellsite, Hanover, Camperville, Erinview, Kronsgart, Mafeking, Metigoshe Beach, Narcisse, Novra, Reeder, Rennie, St. Ambroise, Sandy Hook, Woodridge
1956 – 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
1957 – Birds Hill, Emerson, Falcon Lake, Glenlea, Lockport, Sewell, West Hawk Lake
1958 – Beausejour, Jordan
1959 – The Pas
1960 – Cranberry Portage, Glass Siding, Hazelglen, Melrose, Thompson
1961 – Churchill

Development of Manitoba’s electrical utilities

Play video button

Pointe du Bois

Pointe du Bois is Manitoba’s oldest generating station still in operation. It was built in 1911 by the City of Winnipeg for $3.25 million.

Play video: Winnipeg River: Pointe du Bois. (2:36)

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.

1873 – Winnipeg Gas Company
1880 – Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company
1881 – Winnipeg Gas Company merged with Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company
1882 – Winnipeg Street Railway Company
1883 – North West Electric Light and Power Company (Ltd.) (NWEL & P.Co.)
1889 – North West Electric Company Ltd.
1889 – Brandon Electric Light Company Ltd. (formation date unknown) built steam station in Brandon
1892 – Winnipeg Electric Street Railway Company (WESR.Co.)
1894 – Winnipeg Street Railway Company purchased by WESR.Co.
1898 – Manitoba Electric & Gas Light Company purchased by WESR.Co.
1900 – Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company
1900 – North West Electric Company Ltd. purchased by WESR.Co.
1902 – Winnipeg General Power Company
1904 – Winnipeg General Power Company merged with WESR.Co. and became Winnipeg Electric Railway Company (WERCo.)
1905 – Suburban Rapid Transit Company became subsidiary of WERCo.
1906 – Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company became subsidiary of WERCo.
1906 – City Light and Power Department
1911 – Winnipeg River Railway Company, financed by WERCo., affiliated to Winnipeg River Power Company
1913 – Winnipeg River Power Company became associate company of WERCo.
1913 – Minnedosa Power Company (formation date unknown) built Minnedosa Hydro Plant
1919 – Manitoba Power Commission (MPC)
1920 – Manitoba Power Company, a subsidiary of WERCo., took over Winnipeg River Railway Company and Winnipeg River Power Company
1921 – Canada Gas & Electric Corporation of Brandon formed with consolidation of Brandon Electric Light Company Ltd. and Brandon Gas & Power Company Limited
1924 – WERCo. changed name to Winnipeg Electric Company (WECo.)
1924 – Northwestern Power Company
1927 – Northwestern Power Company merged with WECo.
1931 – Canada Gas & Electric Corporation of Brandon purchased by MPC
1936 – 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)
1949Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board Development Act passed in Manitoba legislature
1951 – Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board (MHEB)
1952 – National Utilities Corporation Limited acquired by MPC
1952 – WECo. transferred its gas and transit assets to newly incorporated companies, Greater Winnipeg Gas and Greater Winnipeg Transit Company
1953 – MHEB amalgamated with WECo.
1955 – City of Winnipeg Hydro Electric System (City Hydro) became sole distributor of electricity in City of Winnipeg
1955 – Manitoba Power Commission (MPC) became sole distributor of electricity in suburban Winnipeg and all of Manitoba
1958 – The Pas Electrical Utility purchased by MPC
1959 – Cranberry Portage Distribution System purchased by MPC
1959 – Town of Selkirk Electrical Distribution System purchased by MPC
1961 – Manitoba Hydro
1964 – City of Winnipeg Hydro Electric System (City Hydro) became Winnipeg Hydro
1970 – Laurie River generating stations, owned by Sherritt Gordon Mines Limited, taken over by Manitoba Hydro
1999 – Manitoba Hydro purchased Centra Gas from West Coast Energy Inc.
2002 – Manitoba Hydro purchased Winnipeg Hydro