Historic Sites of Manitoba: A. C. Emmett and the Development of Manitoba’s Highways (Kirkella, RM of Wallace-Woodworth)

A plaque, at a provincial tourist stop along the Trans-Canada Highway near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, in the Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth, commemorates automotive pioneer Arthur Coates “Ace” Emmett.

When Emmett arrived in Manitoba in 1902, the province had only a few passable roads. Railways provided the chief means of mass transportation. Most automobile owners were concentrated in Winnipeg. Emmett energetically led the movement for the development of a network of highways across the province through his work with the Winnipeg Automobile Club and its successor, the Manitoba Motor League (now CAA Manitoba).

Emmett lobbied for the creation of a provincially-funded “Good Roads Program” to help municipalities construct standard market roads. In 1912, the Rural Municipality of Wallace became the first to participate in this program. He pressed for a system of provincial trunk highways, and in 1923 the first such route was designated. He originated the idea of numbering highways which was adopted by the province in 1926. By the time Emmett died in 1959, dependency on highway transportation had forever altered the land-use patterns of Manitoba.

The plaque was unveiled by the Manitoba Heritage Council on 24 August 1994.

A. C. Emmett commemorative plaque

A. C. Emmett commemorative plaque (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.03052, W101.36929
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Arthur Coates “Ace” Emmett (1872-1959)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Historic Sites Advisory Board of Manitoba / Manitoba Heritage Council


This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 March 2021

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