Manitoba Municipal Heritage Site No. 280


Gilbert Plains Beef Ring Building
NE 22-24-22W
Gilbert Plains area

Gilbert Plains Beef Ring Building

Designation Date: August 8, 2006
Designation Authority: R.M. of Gilbert Plains
Present Owner: privately owned

The Gilbert Plains Beef Ring Building, small, unassuming and purposeful, recalls the innovative ways by which prairie pioneers confronted their environment. Essentially a small slaughterhouse, this structure, completed in 1923, facilitated the co-operative efforts of a rural community to ensure a supply of fresh beef in times before refrigerated storage was available. Each week during the summer a member of the Beef Ring supplied a steer to be kept overnight in the holding stall, killed and butchered in the compact but ingeniously equipped main room and then shared. The utilitarian building thus belies its internal inventiveness: like the inclusion of a holding stall separate from the killing floor, the large wooden built-in hoist for lifting the carcass, a metal ring embedded in the concrete floor to secure the animal before slaughter, and the row of large nails along two walls, each numbered, where the members’ portions of beef were placed in sugar sacks. This local undertaking, which at its peak included 24 families, operated until 1951 when improved services, notably rural electrification, made it unnecessary. The building, strategically situated on the Russell Trail (a locally important settlement route), has been carefully restored and is now a local landmark.

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