Author: Marc Zienkiewicz

Work on Slave Falls Concrete Structures Starting This Fall

Work on Slave Falls Concrete Structures Starting This Fall

Slave Falls Generating Station has served Manitoba with renewable, reliable hydroelectricity for over 90 years thanks to a long history of proactive maintenance.

Now Manitoba Hydro is planning new work to address deteriorating concrete in some of the dam’s structures starting as early as fall 2020.

What’s happening?

Manitoba Hydro is completing a detailed assessment of all concrete structures at Slave Falls this summer. Results will be used to develop a plan that will likely require work over multiple years and may involve a one- to two-metre (about three to six feet) drop in the water level between Slave Falls and Pointe du Bois Generating Stations, as early as fall 2020. While any reduction in water level will be temporary, it may need to continue for an extended period to accommodate the work.

Slave Falls is one of Manitoba Hydro’s oldest stations and nearly a century of constant water flow, ice, and freeze-and-thaw cycles has worn on the dam’s concrete structures.

Why is this work needed?

In 2018, the concrete in one of the station’s sluiceway piers was found to be in poor condition.

At that time, the water level was lowered by one metre (three feet) over the 2018-19 winter season to allow repairs. Further tests on some of the station’s other structures found additional concrete in poor condition.

Safety is our priority Manitoba Hydro is acting proactively to ensure Slave Falls remains stable and safe.

The work will be critical to maintaining the integrity of the dam and preserving the safety of surrounding waterways and the people who use them.

Who will it impact?

Any decision made with respect to Slave Falls – including lowering water levels – will impact local residents, Indigenous resource users, recreational waterway users and visitors to Whiteshell Provincial Park.

The water level upstream of Pointe du Bois (including Lake of the Woods) will not be affected and the water level downstream of Slave Falls will not change in any noticeable way.

No interruption to power service is expected.

Manitoba Hydro is actively informing anyone who might be affected by the planned or potential work at Slave Falls. It will also invite those who live along or use the waterways to provide feedback to help Manitoba Hydro understand the impacts of any such work.

For more info visit

A Fur Trade Rivalry Hits Home: Part 3

A Fur Trade Rivalry Hits Home: Part 3

Go here for Part 1.

Go here for Part 2.

To quote his writing, “They told me in very insolent talk they are arrived here on purpose to commit whatever depredations they pleased on the Hudson’s Bay Company property, self and servants, if I would not immediately comply with their request which is to put all the liquor I have under their care.” Continue reading “A Fur Trade Rivalry Hits Home: Part 3”

A Fur Trade Rivalry Hits Home: Part 2

A Fur Trade Rivalry Hits Home: Part 2

It is a well known fact that there was a bitter rivalry between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company fur traders during the early 1800s — a rivalry bitter enough to often involve unscrupulous acts, violence and murder. Go here for Part 1.

Throughout the winter it seems that they had fairly good success getting rabbits, he wrote frequently the men coming back with in excess of 30 or more. No significant events occurred until the Nov. 26 entry. He writes that some of the men had serious altercations with the North West Company that could have turned bad had it not been for the Indigenous people with which they travelled who prevented them from being robbed.

Dec. 24 saw the arrival of two men with a letter from Alexander McKay of the Northwest Company at Point Au Foutre (later in 1808 to be renamed Fort Alexander) to inform him that their lives had been threatened by local groups determined to kill all British subjects trading in this country. Nevertheless, Miller chose to ignore it and paid no attention to the warning. Fur was starting to come in now with a good portion being lynx.

The Jan. 16 entry states that some of the men who had returned from visiting some Indigenous people brought back some furs from them but said that they could not repay their debt because the North West Company employees were troubling them, demanding they to give over their furs to them.

January 19. Two North West Company men arrived from Point au Foutre with another letter from Alexander McKay urging him to bury his goods, burn his house and to go down to his place in all haste as it will be the only way to save himself and his people from being harmed. He writes, “To which I paid not any attention knowing it was only deceit.”

Eight days later, Alexander McKay of the North West Company arrived and met with Miller. He urged him to leave his post and to come down to his house where he would be as well received as he could afford. Miller thanked him kindly and replied he would not leave. The conversation on that subject ended on that note and McKay left a few days later.

On March 8, a North West Company clerk named Mr. Caribisoa sent for Miller to come over. Not thinking of any harm when he entered he was surprised to find himself confronted by by 10 North West Company employees under arms and half drunk.