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Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People
by Glen Suggett, Gordon Goldsborough & the Delta History Group
320 pages, October 2015 (second printing December 2015)
ISBN 978-0-921950-51-6 (hardcover)

Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People is a story of history and conservation.

Delta, on the south shore of Lake Manitoba, has attracted people for millennia. It was one of Manitoba’s earliest cottage areas and a popular destination for generations of waterfowl hunters.

This richly illustrated, full-colour book presents the stories of the many people – Aboriginal peoples, farmers, cottagers, hunters, artists, scientists, and more – who have lived, worked, and played at Delta through the years.

More information about the book is here and a sample (PDF format) is here.

Frequently asked questions

What does Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People contain?

Here is a table of contents for the book:

Foreward by Jake MacDonald
Chapter 1. The First People
Chapter 2. The People of the Plow
Chapter 3. Life’s a Beach
Chapter 4. Hunting the Wily Duck
Chapter 5. Hunting for Knowledge
Chapter 6. Droughts and Floods
Chapter 7. Marsh Management
End Notes
List of Photographs
Appendix 1 - The Delta History Group
Appendix 2 - Maps

What is the Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People about?

Delta is a narrow strip of land at the south end of Lake Manitoba, south of which is the world-famous Delta Marsh. At 18,000 hectares in area, Delta Marsh is the second-largest coastal wetland in North America. For millennia, every spring and autumn, it has attracted thousands of migrating ducks and geese and, in turn, people intent on hunting them.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the fine sandy beaches and magnificent sunsets on Lake Manitoba have attracted people seeking respite from the summer heat. In time, they would establish Manitoba’s first residential cottage development. Generations of Manitobans have fond memories of summers spent at Delta Beach.

Delta was also a place of commerce. A tradition of fishing started long ago with Aboriginal people who deployed nets in the shallow water offshore in Lake Manitoba. It is continued today by commercial fishers from the local area who travel the lake surface during the winter to catch walleye (pickerel), jack (pike), perch, and other fish for sale around the world. In earlier times, winter was also when Delta trappers were able to exploit an abundance of muskrats in the marsh.

Delta has been the site for research on many facets of environmental biology, being the home for two renowned science centres: the Delta Waterfowl Research Station founded in 1938, and the Delta Marsh Field Station founded in 1965. These facilities, now both closed, contributed substantially to our understanding of wetlands and the plants and animals that inhabit them. Wetland professionals all over the world have roots at Delta.

The sights, sounds, and smells of Delta have been the basis for myriad artistic endeavours. Wildlife and outdoor artists such as Albert Hochbaum and Peter Ward, among others, have been active at Delta through the years.

Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People is about all the people who have spent time at time, whether to hunt waterfowl, relax on the beach, catch fish, conduct research, or seek artistic inspiration. It is also about the causes of the gradual deterioration of this once world-class wetland, and how a group of scientists from Ducks Unlimited Canada, the University of Manitoba, and Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship are working to bring it back to its former glory.

A sample of the book can be found here (PDF format).

What does the book look like?

Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People is a hardcover book containing 306 pages of stories about Delta and its people, illustrated with hundreds of rare historical photographs.

Writing of the book was done primarily by Glen Suggett and Gordon Goldsborough, with contributions by Winnie Pauch and other members of the Delta History Group, as well as Leo Pettipas and Jake MacDonald. The manuscript was copy edited by Jim Burns of Woolly Mammoth Publishing, and page layout was done by Suzanne Braun and Julie Kopnitski of Relish New Brand Experience. The book was printed by Friesens of Altona.

A sample of the book can be found here (PDF format).

Who is the Delta History Group?

Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People has been prepared by the Delta History Group.

The Delta History Group was formed in May 2001 when several people with a long-standing interest in Delta met at the now-closed Delta Marsh Field Station. They began collecting information for a book on the history of this area, which had been known for generations by aboriginal peoples, cottagers, and waterfowl hunters. The product of that work is Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People.

Members of the Delta History Group (2015, left to right): Glen Suggett, Gordon Goldsborough, Bob Jones, Shirley Christianson, Cynthia Jordan, Barry Bills, and Winnie Pauch. Missing: Heidi den Haan. Late members: Maurice Blanchard and Denzil Gamble.

Additional important contributions to Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People were made by Leo Pettipas and Jake MacDonald, many people who provided photographs, memories, and information, or attended our fundraisers. We thank you all most sincerely for the support.

What does it cost to mail a copy of the book?

We charge only what it cost us for postage. Unfortunately, Canada Post rates for parcels range from $15 to $22, depending where the parcel is being sent in Canada. (It is higher to the USA and elsewhere.) If you have a less expensive way to receive books, please let us know.

If you can arrange to pick up a copy from us, or have us deliver it to you (assuming you are somewhere close to us), you can pay online for a copy without Shipping & Handling.

Where was the information in Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People obtained?

We obtained information from numerous sources. Some of them were as follows:

Audio Tape Interviews/Submissions

Peter Ward and Bill Hutchinson, Delta, 1969
Peter Ward, Delta, 1969
Glen McPherson, 1995
Gordon MacDonald, 10 February 2003

Video Tape Interviews/Recordings

Open Houses

St. Ambroise, 7 March 2004
Oakland, 14 March 2004
Portage la Prairie, 21 March 2004
Delta Marsh Field Station (Ladies), 9 January 2005
Delta Marsh Field Station (Elders), 21 March 2005
Delta Marsh Field Station (Farmers and RM councillors), 2 April 2005
Delta Marsh Field Station (Commercial fishermen), 2 April 2005
Tin Town, 25 November 2005
Westbourne, 14 March 2004


Terry Atkinson, Weyburn, SK, 25 October 2004
Norman Bickell, Winnipeg, no date
Maurice Blanchard, 1 December 2003 and 2 April 2005
Barbara and Harvey Carmichael, 20 June 2002
Shirley Christianson, 20 June 2002
W. Norman Cuthbert, 21 February 2006
Angele DePrez, Delta, no date
Doreen Dow, 15 September 2008
Alf Garnham, 27 June 2002
Doug and Ken Hurst, Winnipeg, 22 November 2007
Bill Hutchinson, Delta, August 2003
Keith Hutchinson, Portage la Prairie, 20 July 2005
Gordon Hutchinson, Portage la Prairie, 28 November 2005
Cynthia Jordan, 8 December 2006
Sandra Lamont, 26 June 2002
Bill Linden and Clarice Brown, 8 December 2006
Jack Love, Delta, 16 September 2008
Ken Lyon, Portage la Prairie, no date
Sterling Lyon, Winnipeg, 3 March 2006
Andy Rutherford, Portage la Prairie, 27 November 2007
Don St. Goddard, 15 September 2008
June Tomalin, Delta, 22 February 2003
Peter Ward, Delta, no date
Bill Watts, Winnipeg, no date

Photograph Collections

Mae Andrich
Archives of Manitoba
Terry Atkinson
Sheridan Atkinson
Flora Bailey
Irene Blight
Shirley Christianson
Melba Brecknell
Adam Brown
Camp Jubilee
Keith Campbell
Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Sheila Fraser
Edward Gilroy
Gordon Goldsborough
Jack Green
Hanna Henderson
Ken Hurst
Bob Johnson
Cynthia Jordan
Vera Keyes
Lakewood Country Club
Sandra Lamont
William Naegele
National Archives of Canada
Donna Pim
Royal Family Archives
Lois Scott
Sports Afield Lodge
George Storey
Glen Suggett
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Charles Ward
Western Canada Pictorial Index
Barbara Wilson
Jean Hamilton Young

Page revised: 17 April 2020

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