Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Grand Rapids Tramway

Grand Rapids Tramway
(Courtesy of the Archives of Manitoba)
Installed 1989
Tramway Park, Grand Rapids

This first rail line in western Canada was constructed for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1877 under the supervision of Walter Moberly, a former CPR surveyor. It supplanted a much-used portage on the Saskatchewan River. Passengers and freight were carried across 5.5 kilometres of narrow-gauge track by six horse-drawn cars to the steamboat dock on the Saskatchewan River. The first official passengers on the tramway were Governor General and Lady Dufferin. Freight carried on the tramway consisted of supplies for Hudson's Bay Company posts, farm implements for Saskatchewan settlers, and Indian Department supplies.

Throughout the 1880s the tramway played a vital role in the development of the Saskatchewan River as a northern transport route. It was superseded by other western railways in the 1890s and fell into disrepair.