Morris ( in the Pembina Valley region of Manitoba, Canada, located 51 km south of Winnipeg and 42 km north of Emerson. Morris is host to the annual Manitoba Stampede & Exhibition. Highway 75 which turns into Interstate 29 is the major highway which runs from Winnipeg to Missouri. Morris is the only town in which Highway 75 is called Main Street. The town of Morris is mostly surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Morris, except for a relatively small eastern border with the northwest corner of the Rural Municipality of Montcalm, across the Red River of the North.) is a small town, with a population of 1797 (in 2011),
The town of Morris lies in the middle of the Red River Valley. The shallow valley spreads for many kilometres to the east and west, but only rises a few metres at most. The land is remarkably flat. Repeated flooding in the past has left the valley floor covered in rich river silt. The fine black soils are some of the best producing agricultural soils in the world. The Red River Valley is part of the remnants of the prehistoric "Lake Agassiz", which was once much larger than Lake Superior, which is the biggest of the five Great Lakes.
The town has a very long history involving floods and beaver pelt companies. Fur traders started to settle in the Morris area in the late 18th century because of its strategic location along the Red River. By 1801, there were two fur-trading stations at the settlement. Barges came up and down the Red River, and the Red River Ox Carts that traveled between Fort Garry and the Pembina Settlement went right through Morris, and offered many opportunities for trade. By 1869, the ox carts began to carry settlers to the areas around the Scratching River (now the Morris River) and the population began to grow. The town of Morris was named after Alexander Morris, the second Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and was officially incorporated in 1883.
In 2013, Morris received media publicity as a result of two restaurants leaving town during the year. The proprietors claimed this was due to discrimination: the first restaurant was run by a gay couple, and the second by a woman of color from Jamaica. This resulted in significant public outcry against Morris. Subsequent to this, elected officials in Morris expressed disappointment in the discriminatory behaviours, but reminded the public that these behaviours represent only a subset of the population. In January, 2013, the editor-in-chief of the Morris Mirror, a local independent newspaper, had also created a stir by making racial slurs against aboriginals in an editorial that he wrote. That newspaper folded two months later. In an effort to help educate the town about the perils of racism and the negative ways with which it affects communities, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers wide receiver Milt Stegall was asked to speak about tolerance, at the restaurant. During his visit, he emphasized that it is unacceptable to discriminate against someone because of the color of their skin. This type of discrimination is also prohibited by the Canadian Human Rights Act (1985).
Location and transportation
The location of Morris is along PTH 75, which is the main route for Manitobans to get into the U.S.. Morris is also served by PTH 23, running east and west, providing access to much of southern Manitoba. Morris is also served by three railroad companies. The first is the Canadian National Railway whose line runs north/south from Winnipeg to the Canadian/U.S. border. The second is the Canadian Pacific that has a branch which currently ends (it was formerly a line all of the way to the US border at Gretna) in Altona. The third was the Southern Manitoba Railway which runs west from Morris for 80 miles. The Southern Manitoba Railway was torn up in 2008, due to non-use.
The economy of Morris is based on agriculture. The town of Morris is a major service provider to the surrounding agricultural community. Currently, businesses and manufacturers in Morris produce and supply a variety of goods to both national and international markets.
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The town of Morris holds a variety of annual events, which brings many visitors to the community each year. Each July, the Valley Agricultural Society hosts the Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition, known as the Big "M". For four days, thousands of spectators and participants from across North America come to watch the competition. The Fair and Exhibition offers something for everyone. One of the largest dairy shows in the province, light and heavy horse shows, school work and home-craft competitions, commercial and craft displays, Loule's famous petting zoo, midway rides, free family entertainment, indoor cabaret Friday and Saturday evening featuring top country bands, community Church service and the popular kids pedal tractorpull on Sunday. The Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition is the largest professional rodeo east of Calgary, Alberta. The Valley Agricultural Society, formed in 1895 was originally established as agriculture fair. This fair was combined with a professional rodeo in 1964 to become an annual event anticipated by many.
- Morris - Town, Manitoba, Canada. City-Data. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- Manitoba town in spotlight again over charges of discrimination from restaurateur. Winnipeg Free Press, 27 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Stigma of hate surrounds town. Winnipeg Free Press, 28 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Homophobic Manitobans Force Gay Restaurant Owners To Close Doors. Huffington Post, 2 April 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Manitoba newspaper sparks furor with racist editorial. CBC News, 17 January 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "Stegall to speak at Morris diner". Winnipeg Free Press. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- Former Blue Bomber spreads anti-racism message in Morris. CBC News, 15 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Canadian Human Rights Act; R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6. Justice Laws Website, Government of Canada. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Town of Morris Website
- Pembina Valley Twisters and Pembina Valley Twister’s Videos
- Manitoba Stampede & Exhibition
- Map of Morris at Statcan