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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red River Floodway - South End (Winnipeg)

It was during the spring of 1950 that Winnipeg experienced a flood that would eventually lead to the construction of the Red River Floodway. Over the course of the flood, 100,000 residents were evacuated from their homes. As the Red River rose, much of Winnipeg was inundated. After reviewing the impact of the flood, Manitoba Premier Duff Roblin sparked the idea of constructing a diversion channel around Winnipeg that could be used during extreme flood emergencies. Despite criticism, Roblin pushed ahead with the project.

Construction of the original floodway started on 6 October 1962 and finished in March 1968, at a cost of $63 million. It was a major undertaking, resulting in the excavation of approximately 76.5 million cubic metres of earth. The floodway consists of a 47-km channel that, during flood periods, diverts part of the Red River’s flow around Winnipeg to the east and discharges back into the Red River near Lockport.

Since its construction, and subsequent first use in 1969, the floodway has been operated numerous times and saved billions of dollars in flood damage. The Red River Floodway is considered to be one of the most important infrastructure projects in Manitoba’s history and is affectionately called “Duff’s Ditch.” In 2001, it was designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, although installation of an associated plaque is, as of 2011, still pending.

Duff Roblin Parkway Trailhead at the south end of the Red River Floodway

Duff Roblin Parkway Trailhead at the south end of the Red River Floodway (May 2019)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.75219, W97.12343
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red River Floodway - Inlet Control Structure (Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red River Floodway - Spillway (Lockport, RM of St. Clements)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Duff’s Dutch Plaque (Portage and Main, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red River Flood Levels (The Forks, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Plaques for Persons, Events and Sites of National Historic Significance

“Duff’s Ditch”: The Origins, Construction, and Impact of the Red River Floodway by Robert W. Passfield
Manitoba History, Number 42, Autumn/Winter 2001-2002


Duff's Ditch, Red River Floodway Expansion Project.

We thank Tim Worth and Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 July 2019

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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