Historic Sites of Manitoba: Shoal Lake Aqueduct (Notre Dame Street, Winnipeg)

The Shoal Lake Aqueduct has brought fresh water to the City of Winnipeg since its opening in 1918. A commemorative plaque is located on a lookout over the Seine River in Lagimodière-Gaboury Historic Park east of Rue Thibault and north of Provencher Boulevard. Timbers visible along the riverbank directly north of this lookout are remnants of the original shoring used during installation of the Aqueduct across the Seine River. The Seine River crossing was part of the overall Shoal Lake Aqueduct project, which took place from 1914 to 1919.

Contractors for the project included J. H. Tremblay & Company (20 miles).

In the early 1880s, Winnipeg’s water was delivered in barrels by Red River cart. From 1882 until the first water flowed through the Aqueduct on 26 March 1919, Winnipeggers obtained piped water from a combination of wells and a water plant on the Assiniboine River at Armstrong’s Point. Contamination of water mains by water from the Assiniboine River plant caused an outbreak of typhoid fever in 1904, one of the casualities of which was the city’s water quality tester, Dr. Edgar Kenrick. To obtain safe water in a period of rapid expansion, the city embarked on a major construction project to bring water from Shoal Lake on the Manitoba-Ontario border to the city’s McPhillips Reservoir and Pumping Station, 155 kilometers away.

Shoal Lake Aqueduct Plaque

Shoal Lake Aqueduct Plaque (2010)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Shoal Lake Aqueduct Plaque

Shoal Lake Aqueduct Plaque (September 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89610, W97.11398
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Pressure to Act: The Shoal Lake Aqueduct and the Greater Winnipeg Water District by David A. Ennis
Manitoba History, Number 72, Spring-Summer 2013

Not All Down Hill From There: The Shoal Lake Aqueduct and the Greater Winnipeg Water District by David A. Ennis
Manitoba History, Number 75, Summer 2014

Historic Sites of Manitoba: 50th Anniversary of the Shoal Lake Water Supply Plaque (Broadway, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Aqueduct Monument (James Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Boniface Surge Tank (866 Tache Avenue, Winnipeg)


“J. H. Tremblay & Company,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 September 1915, page 66.

Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank Tim Higgins and Glen Toews for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 October 2023

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