Why we are here?
The Town and surrounding Municipality of Lac du Bonnet has long been a service centre that met the needs of a larger geographical area. Since the presence of early man, then explorers and fur traders, the area has provided the needed resources to the hunters, trappers, homesteaders, prospectors, storekeepers, etc.
At the turn of the century, power development occurred along the Pinawa Channel and the Winnipeg River, and natural resources were harvested from as far away as Manigatogan, Bissett and Cat Lake.
Through the years the natural resources and the summer and winter recreational opportunities have been utilized by ever increasing numbers of cottagers and tourists. When we consider our past, Lac du Bonnet is unique when it comes to presenting and preserving its varied history.
What sets us apart from other Communities?
FIRSTLY – Our immigration mix has brought people from over 25 different countries. Swedish, Finnish and Latvians settled on the farm lands east of the Winnipeg River, while the Polish, Ukrainians and Germans settled on the land to the west and south. The French, from Quebec, came to work the lumber camps; the Hutterites came to take advantage of available land; and the Scottish and English came to provide many of the services and businesses the community needed. There are many others we could readily add to this short list.
SECONDLY – Lac du Bonnet has always acted as a hub for smaller communities that grew up around it. Industries, such as mining, aviation, forestry, fisheries and agriculture surrounded the village while the supply of everyday basic needs and medical, educational, postal and police services were centralized in the village.
With their industries so widespread and of such diverse nature, traditional artifacts are probably best left where they are. Because many of the artifacts are large, they cannot be moved from the power plants at Old Pinawa, Pointe du Bois and Slave Falls, the mining communities at Cat lake, Wadhope, Bissett, or Burnic Lake. Long before the paper mill was established at Pine Falls, woodcutters were taking timber out of the area, much of it barged and boomed on the river and milled for lumber. Forestry fire towers are quickly becoming obsolete, but a fine example of the tower, log accomodation and office, are still onsite and preserved.
THIRDLY – We are surrounded by traditional museums, with Whitemouth, Beausejour and St. George already providing the public with a range of homesteading artifacts. What we have are artifacts on site. One might see old homesteads in the Bird River and Brightstone areas, a Heritage house along the Winnipeg River, or Riverland School on the east side of the river across from Lac du Bonnet. One could visit the ruins of the first year-round power plant built in Manitoba at Old Pinawa and other power plants on the Winnipeg River. Come and experience our history… on site!