This hasn’t stopped the present-day residents from
planning a wonderful anniversary celebration
to honour its heritage.
If you’re a resident (present or former) of the Rural Municipality of Lansdowne, or if you’re interested in the district, you’re in for a treat this summer. The municipality will be having a big homecoming celebration in July. Incorporated in January 1884, Lansdowne will be hosting its 125th birthday, with the celebration set for July 9 to 12. Festivities on Friday the 10th will include a seniors’ tea honouring residents over 80, a supper and a community ball game and fireworks. Saturday features will be a pancake breakfast and parade in the morning with family activities in the afternoon. These include a tug of war across the Whitemud River, which sounds like fun – to watch anyway! A supper and dance with local talent will round out Saturday’s program. Sunday morning there will be a non-denominational church service with other family activities later in the day, all geared to country traditions and family values. Also during the weekend, there are plans underway for a bus tour to celebrate the municipality’s heritage by taking passengers to some of the old school districts. Another feature will be a rainbow auction with prizes donated by local businesses.
Lansdowne, for those unfamiliar with the region, is located east of Neepawa, with the scenic Whitemud River winding its way through the fertile farmland. Highway 352 runs in a northwest to southeast direction through the municipality. The only village is Arden, and the celebration activities will be centred there. If you’d like to go and you’re looking for a spot to stay, there’s a campground in Lansdowne Centennial Park in Arden, or reserve a motel room in nearby Neepawa.
While you’re in Arden, check out some of the other attractions like the world’s largest crocus, a beautiful statue of Manitoba’s provincial flower. There’s also a swinging bridge across the Whitemud in Centennial Park. Beside the park is Boychuk Botanical Garden which is open to the public free of charge. I visited it last year in May, too early to see it at its best, but by July it should be a lovely spot to wander through. The park has playground equipment, so plan a little time there if you have children. There’s also a five-kilometre nature and hiking trail that begins near the bridge.
Other features in the municipality include the Indian burial grounds, a cultural symbol of the region’s earliest inhabitants, located at the north end of the village of Arden, just west of the old ox cart. Farther north on Highway 265, just east of the village of Birnie at the Five Roads Corner is a symbol of the later, European immigrants – a cairn and old school from the Orange Ridge School District.
Like most rural municipalities, the R. M. of Lansdowne has decreased in population over the last years, but this hasn’t stopped the present-day residents from planning a wonderful anniversary celebration to honour its heritage. Why not put the festivities on your “to do” list this summer?
– Donna Gamache writes from MacGregor, Manitoba