Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Electric Company Little Britain Substation (5756 Main Street, RM of St. Andrews)
Commissioned by the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company (WERC) to serve as a local substation for its streetcar line between Winnipeg and Selkirk, a two-storey brick structure was built on River Lot 110 in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews around 1907. With an attached residential annex, the building was similar in appearance to the company’s Middlechurch Substation. The third and smallest substation site along this line was the Kildonan Substation in the Rural Municipality of Kildonan. The substation at this location housed two large generators, each capable of producing 600 kilowatts used to power the streetcars. It serviced the company’s Selkirk line streetcars as well as those of the Winnipeg, Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway. Conversion of the line from steam to electric was completed on 20 May 1908.
The building was later acquired by the firm of Fairfield & Sons and used as an auxiliary pickling plant for their main facility about a half mile to the north. On 28 February 1951, the structure was engulfed in flames. With no nearby firefighting capacity, the structure and machinery inside were destroyed, though all staff working inside all escaped. Resulting damages totalled $20,000 and the ruins were later reduced to the foundation level. The foundation remained visible as of a 2021 site visit.
Photos & Coordinates
“Transfer of Selkirk line,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 February 1906, page 1.
“River river [ad],” Manitoba Free Press, 21 May 1907, page 3.
“Selkirk line opening,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 April 1908, page 9.
“Selkirk line opening,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 April 1908, page 10.
“Electric cars to Selkirk,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 May 1908, page 1.
“Winnipeg to Selkirk,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 May 1908, page 1.
“Remarkable growth of a great Electric St. Ry. system,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 December 1908, page 20.
“Kildonan delegation,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 April 1909, page 2.
“Company satisfied,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 June 1909, page 9.
“City wins point in legal fight,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 October 1909, page 9.
“Winnipeg Electric St. Railway - The interesting story of a great Western enterprise,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 December 1909, page 19.
“Better car service for Kildonan,” Manitoba Free Press, 3 June 1911, page 49.
“Winnipeg Electric Railway Enterprise,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 August 1911, page 13.
“Electric line to Lake Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 August 1912, page 22.
“Fire destroys plans near little britain,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 March 1951, page 4.
Surveys Branch aerial photographs (A 0262), FA 23 - 30, GR11610, Archives of Manitoba.
Rural Municipality of St. Andrews fonds (ZZ 0038), Taxation & Assessment Rolls, GR4172, Archives of Manitoba.
St. Andrews Public Access Map, Red River Planning District.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 29 May 2022