The Boundary Commission North West Mounted Police Trail Association was organized informally at a meeting at Cartwright on 30 April 1988. The meeting had been called by the Post Road Heritage Group, an association of people from the Emerson area interested in the accurate marking of the 1874 North West Mounted Police trail through western Canada. The Association was organized formally at its first Annual General Meeting on 15 April 1989, at Killarney.
Its constitution defined seven specific priorities for the Association:
- Researching and precisely locating the route of the Boundary Commission NWMP Trail,
- Facilitating the preservation of vestiges of the Trail and the historic sites associated with the history of the trail,
- Assisting in the appropriate development of these historic sites,
- Encouraging and assisting in the erection of appropriate signs and markers for trail remnants and historic sites,
- Supporting and/or sponsoring events that will increase public awareness of the location and significance of the trail,
- The printing and production of such publications and media materials that will increase public awareness of the significance of the trail to the history and heritage of southern Manitoba,
- Having an appropriate southern Manitoba transportation route officially designated and signed as a commemorative highway, “The Boundary Commission NWMP Route.”
The official naming of the commemorative highway (Provincial Highways 243, 32, and 3) took place at Clearwater on 16 July 1991. Dignitaries at the ceremony included MLA Bonnie Mitchelson, MLA Jack Penner, and MLA Bob Rose. A prototype sign to mark the route was unveiled at Fort Dufferin on 4 July 1992, along with Canadian International Boundary Commissioner Susan Jacques, her American counterpart Allen C. Kolstad, and Assistant RCMP Commissioner Bergman.
By the time of its sixth AGM in 1994, the twelve directors of the Association were: Felix G. Kuehn (Winnipeg, President), Harold Carson (Morden, Vice-President), Allen Richard Kear (Winnipeg, Treasurer), Douglas J. Morrison (Deloraine), Robert B. Caldwell (Deloraine), Wayne Arseny (Emerson), Elmer D. McClelland (Emerson), Frank Ptosnick (Morden), Ben Kroeker (Deloraine), Henry H. Newton (Brandon), Richard Remus (Emerson, Post Road Heritage Group), and Ronald S. Brown (Brandon, Manitoba RCMP Veterans Association).
The Patrons of the Association included Dominick J. French (Pinawa, great-grandson of Lt. Col. G. A. French, first NWMP Commissioner), Mrs. Ralph York Hallet (Fisher Branch, widow of great-grandson of William Hallett, chief scout of the British International Boundary Commission), Mavis Cameron (Vernon, BC; widow of Lt. Col. Donald Roderick Cameron, grandson of Major General Donald Roderick Cameron, International Boundary Commissioner, 1872-1876), Alec C. McEwen (Calgary, Alberta; Canadian International Boundary Commissioner, 1976-1991), Walter Heath Jones (Winnipeg, retired Archbishop of Ruperts Land), and Allan Pratt (Sioux Valley, former Chief of the Sioux Valley First Nation, great-grandson of Sioux Chief Jingling Mocassins).
The Association produced two books: Meet You on the Trail, or West Before the Railroad and A Story for Every Mile. It also produced a 28-foot map of the trail that highlighted some 170 points of historic interest in southern Manitoba, and a brochure Guide to the Historic Sites Along the Trail. Over successive years in the early 1990s, the Association sponsored wagon trains and horse rides along the Boundary Trail route. In 1990, a wagon train traveled 100 miles from Crystal City to the Souris River north of Melita. In 1991, a wagon train ran 200 miles from the Red River to the Souris River and, the following year, it continued another 100 miles, from the Souris River to Roche Percee, south of Estevan, Saskatchewan. It continued into the Saskatchewan Badlands in 1993 and to Wood Mountain in 1994. The final destination was Fort Macleod, Alberta.
At its meeting at Killarney on 14 September 1991, the Association passed a resolution requesting Heritage Canada to designate the twelve rural municipalities of southern Manitoba between the Red River and the Saskatchewan border (from east to west: Montcalm, Rhineland, Stanley, Pembina, Louise, Roblin, Turtle Mountain, Morton, Winchester, Brenda, Arthur, and Edward), and the Town of Emerson, as a Heritage Region. The proposal was accepted and, on 25 June 1993 at Clearwater, the Boundary Trail Heritage Region was formally established. In December 1993, a board of directors was elected and a constitution was adopted. The Boundary Trail Heritage Region became the fifth Heritage Region in Canada, and the first in western Canada.
Felix G. Kuehn (1947-2020)
Edward Gordon McGill (1929-2021)
William A. “Bill” Reimer (1939-2023)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Boundary Commission North West Mounted Police Historic Trail (RM of Stanley)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Fort Dufferin Immigrants Monument (Municipality of Emerson-Franklin)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pancake Lake Heritage Site (RM of Killarney-Turtle Mountain)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pembina Crossing (Municipality of Pembina)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Postage Stamp Province 1870 (Municipality of Louise)
The Boundary Commission Trail and the North West Mounted Police: A Review of Site Development Progress by Graham MacDonald
Manitoba History, Number 19, Spring 1990
Boundary Trail Heritage Region
We thank Leona Devuyst for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 November 2023