Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach

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Victoria Beach is a rural municipality located on the southeastern shores of Lake Winnipeg. It is approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Winnipeg, the provincial capital of Manitoba, Canada. Its land area is 20.279 km² (7.83 sq mi), making it the smallest rural municipality in Manitoba. It is slightly less than half the size of the next-smallest Rural Municipality of East St. Paul. It lies on a small peninsula that extends into Lake Winnipeg, and is almost completely surrounded by the lake, but does share a small southern land border with the Rural Municipality of Alexander. Elk Island Provincial Park lies on an island in the north end of the municipality.

The Rural Municipality (R.M.) of Victoria Beach is a so-called "resort municipality". Some of the finest beaches in Manitoba are located within the boundaries of the municipality.

As of spring 2011, Victoria Beach has a permanent population of 450 residents, but during the summer vacation season the population swells to about 16,000 people. Unlike other resort areas, (such as Grand Beach) the municipality has no campgrounds, no picnic areas or tourist attractions. The community is operated by The Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach for the purpose of providing permanent residents and cottagers with a relaxed, private, enjoyable atmosphere, without excessive public traffic and commercialization.

Victoria Beach today[edit]

Victoria Beach with its restricted area is one of the more exclusive places to own a cottage, with its own sailing club, marina with dock, baseball field, tennis courts and golf course.

With several small beaches the cottages vary from large and modern to small, almost historic cabins.

Victoria Beach used to be an island in the estuary of the Winnipeg River, until it was connected to the mainland by the railroad dam.

The restricted area can only be used by pedestrians and cyclists during the summer months. From the week before Canada Day until Labour Day, all motor vehicles are banned and must be parked in the parking lot located at the main entrance to the community.

Victoria Beach hosts one of Manitoba's largest catamaran sailing fleets, as well as other dinghies and a small number of keelboats. Located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg near the town of Victoria Beach, the Yacht Club offers both recreation and racing fun.

History[edit]

Île-à-la-Biche[edit]

The first white people, the Voyageurs, to travel Lake Winnipeg knew what is now the peninsula of Victoria Beach as L'Île-à-la-Biche. What is now the remains of the old railway dam were portaged as a shortcut from the Winnipeg River Estuary to Lake Winnipeg.

Founding[edit]

In April 1910 the Victoria Beach Investment Company was founded by C.W.N. Kennedy, having a President and 4 Directors. The aim of the Company was to " lay out, improve, sell and dispose of its lands to be used primarily as a summer resort." Any person desirous of running a business had to get the approval of the VB Company.

In 1913, the assets of the Victoria Beach Investment Company were sold to the Victoria Beach Company. The new owners upheld the original goals, and continued to acquire land in the area. By 1915, the company had gained control of the land that now comprises the municipality. In the following years, the company sold numerous lots, and many campers had begun to construct cottages.

Incorporation[edit]

On August 6, 1919, after negotiations with the province, the Municipality of Victoria Beach was incorporated.

Because Victoria Beach was basically an island with only a narrow spit joining it to the mainland, there was no road access but in 1916 the railway was to arrive at Victoria Beach making it easier to bring in supplies to build cottages. After the war it was a constant desire of cottagers to have a road built to join Albert Beach to the rest of Victoria Beach and 1952 saw the completion of this road. By 1962 most people were arriving by car to their cabins and the railway was no longer required.

In 1921 the Victoria Beach Community Club was organized and in 1925 the Clubhouse was built which exists to this day. The Clubhouse was home to weekend dances and social events and is now the hub of summer activity for under 18'ers.

A golf course was built in 1923 and a tennis court in 1924[edit]

Both amenities exist to this day with the tennis court now being close to the General Store.

Einfeld Bakery was started in the 1930s and is still a viable operation to this day and still being run by the original family. Einfeld's Bakery is so well known that the Coast Guard have been known to boat over from Gimli in inclement weather just for dream cookies.

On June 15, 1926 the Victoria Beach News started publishing[edit]

Today it is run by Nancy and Reg Johnson under the name of the Victoria Beach Herald, now published only in the summer months.

Because the area was mainly a summer resort, those who lived here full-time had to be hardy outdoors people who relied on industries such as commercial fishing, trucking and the lumber industry in the off season. There were many mink ranches in Victoria Beach and Victoria Beach mink became unique and popular but with the advent of man-made materials which were lighter and the wearing of animal skins becoming distasteful, the last mink ranch pelted out in March 2003, marking the end of an era.

1935 gave rise to both the Royal Canadian Legion and the Alex Anderson Memorial Community Club[edit]

The Community Club is now a skating rink, curling club and social hall. Other amenities of the area include a marina, swimming docks for swimming lessons, a sailing club, Moonlight Inn Restaurant, a library, children's playground and 12 of the best beaches in North America sporting very fine and soft white sand. Baseball was very popular and Victoria Beach teams were hugely successful in tournaments throughout the summer.

Hydro Services arrive in 1954[edit]

1954 saw Manitoba Hydro service provided to the permanent residents and in 1956 hydro was extended for use by the cottage community.

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°43′50″N 96°32′20″W / 50.73056°N 96.53889°W / 50.73056; -96.53889