Manitoba Historical Society
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Events in Manitoba History: Rural Electrification

In March 1919, the Manitoba government passed the Electric Power Transmission Act with the purpose to supply rural Manitoba with electrical power at a modest cost. The Act enabled the construction of transmission lines to carry electricity from the point of production on the Winnipeg River, at the Pinawa Generating Station and the Pointe du Bois Generating Station, to communities all over southern Manitoba. The Manitoba Power Commission (MPC), a predecessor to today’s Manitoba Hydro, was established later that year. In late 1919, the first transmission line opened, a 60-mile line from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie.

Rural electrification continued through the 1920s so that, by 1928, 33 towns were connected to the MPC system. The number rose to 44 in 1930 and 140 in 1939. The mileage of transmission lines nearly tripled through the 1930s, from 612 in 1930 to 1768 in 1939. It took longer to electrify outlying rural areas; many farms received electricity during the 1940s and 1950s.

The following two maps show the progress of transmission line construction in the 1930s and plans for additional line construction following the Second World War.

Power map 1938

Map of Manitoba Power Commission transmission lines (1938)
Source: MPC Annual Reports, Legislative Library of Manitoba
Click map to enlarge

Power map 1942

Map of Manitoba Power Commission proposed post-war transmission lines (1942)
Source: MPC Annual Reports, Legislative Library of Manitoba
Click map to enlarge

See also:

Manitoba Business: Manitoba Power Commission / Manitoba Hydro Electric Board / Winnipeg Hydro / Manitoba Hydro


Manitoba Power Commission Annual Reports, Legislative Library of Manitoba.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 April 2018

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