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Historic Sites of Manitoba: The “Old Mound” and Bank Vault (Municipality of Louise)

The “Old Mound”, situated on the southeast quarter of 20-3-11 west of the Principal Meridian, about two miles northwest of the present site of Pilot Mound, in the Rural Municipality of Louise, first became settled in 1878. For a brief time, the village was known as Balmoral but it was renamed because that name was in use elsewhere.

Pilot Mound takes its name from the fact that the mound of shale that rises prominently above the surrounding landscape served as a “pilot” or landmark for the early fur traders, settlers, and explorers. While on the treeless prairie of the early days, the mound could be seen from a great distance. Aboriginal people called it “Mepawaquomoshin” or Little Dance Hill, a place used for ceremonial dances.

The town, built on the southeast side of the mound, was incorporated in 1883. When the Canadian Pacific Railway, which had made it to Manitou by 1883, continued westward in 1885, it bypassed the town by two miles. In 1885 and 1886, Pilot Mound relocated to its present site.

A stone vault used to store Land Titles documents stands on the southeast corner of the old mound. It was originally housed in a brick house built by James M. Fraser, who also operated the private banking firm of “Fraser and Company.” He kept bank records in the vault until purchasing a large safe which later ended up in his home in Pilot Mound. (His home later became the Manse of Pilot Mound United Church.)

Pilot Mound

Pilot Mound (May 1884)
Source: “Pilot Mound Illustrated, A Glimpse of Pilot Mound 8 Months Old, and at the present day, Published as a Xmas Number to the Pilot Mound Sentinel - RJ Campbell, Manager; RG Stanton Ross, Editor, 1902”

Old Mound, with stone vault at left

Old Mound, with stone vault at left (2010)
Source: Ed Grassick; Eric and Pam McKay, land owners of this ¼ section

Stone Bank Vault on the Old Mound

Stone Bank Vault on the Old Mound (May 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Interior of the Stone Bank Vault

Interior of the Stone Bank Vault (May 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.22472, W98.91239
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pilot Mound (Pilot Mound)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pilot Mound Museum and Library

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Arden Bank Vault (Arden, RM of Lansdowne)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Old Deloraine Bank Vault (RM of Winchester)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: The “Old Mound” and Bank Vault (RM of Louise)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bank of Toronto Vault (Holmfield, Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red Deer Lumber Company and Bank Vault (Northern Manitoba)


A more detailed history, including maps of the “Old Mound,” may be seen at the Pilot Mound Museum and Library.

Geographic Names of Manitoba, Manitoba Conservation, 2000.

This page was prepared by Ed Grassick and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 December 2019

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