At one time these giant structures dotted the Canadian skyline from coast to coast. Because our father, Bill Waters was the grain buyer for the National in Fork River from 1946-1964 my siblings and I have strong memories of spending time in the National.
I can still close my eyes and recall the particular smell of grain as farmers came to unload their grain and it ran through the grates to the bins below!
Though most farmers came in with all types of dump trucks there still was the occasional farmer who brought his grain in with a team of horses. Those always fascinated me. The buck wagon had a door at the back and the farmer would shovel out his grain. This of course was more labour intensive then simply raising the box of a dump truck.
I remember some of these trucks being very old and seeming to chug as they drove up the ramp. When there was a line up dad would worry that some of these older trucks might conk out! I recall that happening several times.
Sometimes the entire family would “ come to town” with the grain truck and the farmer would let his wife and children out before driving up the grade to empty his load. They would scatter to the stores such as Burtniak’s, Stashko’s, Beyko’s, Pereski’s, Morris’s to name a few!
In Fork River there was the National, the Federal and the Manitoba Pool. These elevators were important businesses and served not only as landmarks but a way of life!
The wooden grain elevator in Winnipegosis, was built in 1950 by National Grain. Around 1956, its initial 55,000-bushel capacity was increased to 85,000 bushels by the construction of a balloon annex on its southern side. Sold to Cargill Grain in 1975, it was closed in April 1981. The building was abandoned for many years before being demolished in 2021.