The Community of St. Andrews
The community of St. Andrews is located in the southern part of the Municipality and is the largest and most densely populated area of the Municipality. The St. Andrew's community was originally called "The Rapids" and the first Anglican log church (1831-1849) was referred to as "The Rapids Church". The former name of the area was Sault a la Biche (Deer Rapids) named by the first French explorers who came through the area in the 1700s. Lord Selkirk in his journal, referred to the rapids as the Limestone Rapids and at one time considered establishing his settlement here rather than at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine, which were prone to flooding.
When the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company amalgamated in 1821, it was this area where many of the retired HBC employees were settled. Each employee was given land fronting on the Red River as it was the main means of transportation, and also provided them with fish for food. The narrow river lots provided close neighbours for help when needed. There were houses located on every river lot from Parkdale to Lower Fort Garry. The river road then was only a trail that went in front of the houses.
Rev. William Cockran's stone church built in the area of the Rapids, was consecrated and named St. Andrews by Bishop Anderson on December 19, 1849. St. Andrews is the patron saint of Scotland and the majority of the settlers here came from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The area from then on became known as St. Andrews.
A road allowance in the approximate location of Highway #9 between Parkdale and Lower Fort Garry was put through in the 1890s but was not widely used. Travel to Winnipeg along this roadway was very difficult, especially after a rain. Willow branches would have to be placed under the wagon wheels to get them over the mud. A trip to Winnipeg was usually a two-day excursion. This road was upgraded over the years, with ditches, drainage and asphalt. In 1956- 57 this part of the highway became four lanes.
Flooded ditch on St. Andrew's Road in 1923 now PTH 410.
Electricity came to the area in the late 1920's along what is now Highway #9. The transformers were bought by the people, sometimes more than one family shared the cost. With the introduction of electricity, numerous families moved from River Road to the highway to take advantage of the power. The river road area did not receive electricity until the late 1940s.
Farming was the main industry in the area. There used to be grist mills throughout the area where wheat was ground into flour. John Tait had a mill on Parks Creek and there was also another one behind St. Andrews Church operated by the Richard family. Livestock were pastured west of McPhillips Road and only milk cows were brought home daily. Sometimes this involved crossing the #9 highway. On Sundays the herd would be brought home an hour earlier to avoid the heavier traffic returning from the Lake Winnipeg beaches. Today, it takes forever to get across the #9 highway in a car, never mind trying to get cattle across.
Subdivisions started to emerge in the area, one of the first being on McLennan Road. Today as more and more farmers retire, their land is being sold for subdivisions and our population continues to grow.
More history of the community and how it changed can be found elsewhere in the book: Place Names of Manitoba published 1980