Grain Elevators: The Cathedrals of the Prairies

by BU Public History Student

At the beginning of the settlement of the prairies, grain elevators were crucial for the efficient organization, packing and distribution of grain before it was put onto trains for transport.

Wheat farmers in 1887 taking their crops to Brandon elevators for packing and distribution to regional, national, and global markets; courtesy of the SJ McKee Archives.

Grain elevators were an important representation of the Canadian prairies from the beginning of their settlement. Grain elevators were highlighted on promotional brochures for potential European settlers to symbolize that the Canadian prairies were a place of opportunity and prosperity.

An early 1970s Canada Day parade in Swan River Manitoba. Grain elevators stand tall in the background. Courtesy of BU Public History Student.

Today grain elevators continue to hold importance for prairie residents and represent a symbol of home.

Visitors from Ontario excited to see old wooden grain elevators while they visit the Canadian prairies. Photograph courtesy of BU Public History Student.

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