Brandon, Manitoba

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City of Brandon
From top left: Downtown Brandon, Central Fire Hall, David Thompson Bridge spanning the Assiniboine River, 10th Street during winter
From top left: Downtown Brandon, Central Fire Hall, David Thompson Bridge spanning the Assiniboine River, 10th Street during winter
Flag of Brandon
Coat of arms of Brandon
Coat of arms
Official logo of Brandon
Nickname(s): "Wheat City" [1]
Motto: "Vires Acquirit Eundo"  (Latin)
"She acquires strength through progress"
Brandon is located in Manitoba
Location of Brandon in Manitoba
Coordinates: 49°54′N 99°57′W / 49.900°N 99.950°W / 49.900; -99.950
Country Canada
Province Manitoba
Region Westman
Incorporated 30 May 1882
 • Mayor Rick Chrest
 • Governing Body Brandon City Council
 • MLAs Reg Helwer, Drew Caldwell
 • MP Larry Maguire (CPC)
 • City 465.16 km2 (176.1 sq mi)
 • Urban 76.89 km2 (29.69 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,712.46 km2 (661.18 sq mi)
Elevation 409.40 m (1,343.18 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 46,061 (2nd)
 • Density 599.1/km2 (1,552/sq mi)
 • Metro 53,229 (61st)
 • Metro density 31.1/km2 (81/sq mi)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) Central (CDT) (UTC-5)
Postal code R7A-R7C
Area code(s) 204
Demonym Brandonite
Website City of Brandon

Brandon is the second-largest city in the province of Manitoba, Canada. It is located in the southwestern corner of the province on the banks of the Assiniboine River, approximately 214 km (133 mi) west of the provincial capital, Winnipeg, and 120 km (75 mi) east of the Saskatchewan border. Brandon covers an area of 465.16 km2 (176.1 sq mi) and has a population of 46,061,[2] while its census metropolitan area has a population of 53,229.[3] It is a major hub of trade and commerce for the Westman region as well as parts of southeastern Saskatchewan and northern North Dakota, an area with a combined population of around 180,000 people.[4]

Brandon was incorporated in 1882,[5] having a history rooted in the Assiniboine River fur trade as well as its role as a major junction on the Canadian Pacific Railway.[6] Known as The Wheat City, Brandon's economy is predominantly associated with agriculture,[7] however it also has strengths in education, manufacturing, food processing, health care, and transportation.[8][9]

The city is home to Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, and the Manitoba Emergency Services College.[10] Canadian Forces Base Shilo is located 35 km (22 mi) east of Brandon, and maintains close socioeconomic ties with the city.[11] Brandon's Keystone Centre, one of the largest consolidated entertainment, convention, agriculture and recreation complexes in Canada,[12] is the home of the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Brandon Curling Club, and the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.[13] In 2012, Brandon was ranked as the 6th best place to live in Canada by MoneySense magazine.[14]


Wagons loaded with bags of grain awaiting delivery to elevators in Brandon, circa 1888

Prior to the influx of people from Eastern Canada, the area around Brandon was primarily used by the Sioux people, the Bungays, the Yellow Quills, and the Bird Tails.[15] In the 1870s and early 1880s, the Plains Bison were nearly completely wiped out by over-hunting. With the destruction of their staff of life, the buffalo, the nomadic Sioux people began to agree to settle in reservations such as the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, or left the area entirely.

French Canadians also passed through the area on river boats on their way to the Hudson Bay Post, Fort Ellice located near present day St. Lazare, Manitoba. The city of Brandon gets its name from the Blue Hills south of the city, which got their name from a Hudson's Bay trading post known as Brandon House, which got its name from a hill on an island in James Bay where Captain James had anchored his ship in 1631.[15]

During the 1870s it was believed by most that the transcontinental railway would take a northwesterly direction from Portage la Prairie. Many thought that the route would most likely go through either Minnedosa or Rapid City, Manitoba because they were both located at natural river crossings. Rapid City was the front runner for the site of the new railway and had prepared for the impending building boom accordingly. But suddenly, in 1881, the builders of the railway decided to take a more westerly route from Winnipeg, towards Grand Valley.[15] Grand Valley was located on the northern side of the Assiniboine, opposite the side of the river where present-day Brandon sits.

Grand Valley was originally settled by two brothers John and Dougal McVicar, and their families. With the expectation of the new railroad, settlers and prospectors now rushed to an area they had previously avoided.[15] Around 1879 a few settlers led by Reverend George Roddick had begun to build their new homes about 10 miles south of Grand Valley, at the foot of the Brandon Hills.[15]

Forrest, MB train station near Brandon, circa 1890

Meanwhile in Grand Valley with expectation of the railway, the town began to boom. Regular voyages were made by steam sternwheelers to the city, each bring more and more settlers.[15] In the spring of 1881, General Thomas L. Rosser, Chief Engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Grand Valley. It was Rosser's job to choose the townsites for the railway. Rosser approached Dougald McVicar of Grand Valley and offered him $25,000 for the railway in Grand Valley. McVicar countered with $50,000 to which Rosser replied that “I’ll be damned if a town of any kind is ever built here".[15] So instead Rosser crossed the Assiniboine river and built the site of the railway on the high sandy south of the River, two miles west of Grand Valley. So the site was then moved to a site just west of today's current First Street bridge in Brandon. A shanty had been built there by a man named J.D. Adamson, and it was on this quarter section Adamson claimed that Rosser chose as the townsite for the CPR Railway and named Brandon.[15]

After the location of the railway was once again changed, there was still hope that Grand Valley could become a rival neighbour to Brandon. But late in June 1881 it became clear that Grand Valley would not have lasted as a city long term. A flood hit in late June, and as the city was built on a low lying part of the river, flooded quickly and dramatically.[15] Because Grand Valley was built on a low flood plain, and Brandon was built on the heights on the other side. It became apparent that Brandon was the best place for a city in the area. Brandon Chamber of Commerce building, front.jpg

Rosser had chosen Brandon as the townsite in May 1881, within a year settlers had flocked to Brandon in such numbers that it was incorporated as a city. Brandon never spent any time as a town or village but has only existed as a city.[15]

An Internment camp was set up at the Exhibition Building in Brandon from September 1914 to July 1916.[16]

In contemporary times, Brandon City Council elected its first female mayor when Shari Decter Hirst defeated incumbent Dave Burgess in the 2010 municipal election.[17]


View of Downtown Brandon and the Canadian Pacific Railway yards from the Daly overpass

Brandon is located in western Manitoba, on the banks of the Assiniboine river. It is located in the Canadian Prairies and resides in the aspen parkland ecoregion of the prairies.[18] The terrain is generally flat and rolling surrounding Brandon, and there is a large valley located within the city. The Brandon hills are located to the southeast, from which Brandon got its name. Brandon is 214 km (133 mi) from the provincial capital, Winnipeg; and 120 km (75 mi) from the Saskatchewan border.


Brandon has a dry continental climate (Köppen Dfb,[19] USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2b[20]) with warm, sometimes hot summers and cold, dry winters. Daytime temperatures range from 26.0 °C (78.8 °F) in July to −10.5 °C (13.1 °F) in January. Brandon has a fairly dry climate, with 462 millimetres (18.2 in) of precipitation annually; and, as such is located in the Palliser's Triangle region of the Prairies. There is measurable rainfall on 56.0 days throughout the year, and 38.8 days with snowfall. Snow falls from October to April, however snow has fallen as late as May and as early as September.

General seasons

  • Winter: November to March
  • Spring: April to May
  • Summer: June to August
  • Autumn: September to October
Climate data for Brandon (1981–2010 Normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.3
Average high °C (°F) −10.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.5
Average low °C (°F) −22.4
Record low °C (°F) −46.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 17.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.1
Average snowfall cm (inches) 17.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 8.5 6.5 7.0 5.5 8.5 11.4 8.9 8.7 7.0 6.7 6.6 8.3 93.7
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.04 0.48 1.5 3.5 7.9 11.4 8.9 8.7 6.9 5.2 1.1 0.35 56.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 8.5 6.1 5.7 2.3 0.67 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.11 1.8 5.7 8.0 38.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 99.3 131.3 180.2 234.6 272.7 271.9 306.6 300.0 210.6 163.5 96.3 91.6 2,358.5
Percent possible sunshine 37.2 46.2 49.0 56.9 57.2 55.7 62.3 66.9 55.5 48.9 35.3 36.1 50.6
Source: Environment Canada (bright sunshine recorded at airport)[21][22]



Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1891 3,778 —    
1901 5,620 +48.8%
1911 13,839 +146.2%
1921 15,397 +11.3%
1931 17,082 +10.9%
1941 17,172 +0.5%
1951 20,598 +20.0%
1961 28,166 +36.7%
1971 31,150 +10.6%
1981 36,242 +16.3%
1991 38,567 +6.4%
1996 39,175 +1.6%
2001 39,716 +1.4%
2006 41,511 +4.5%
2011 46,061 +11.0%

According to the 2011 Canadian census,[23] the population of Brandon is 46,061, an 11.0% increased from 2006, making it the second largest city in Manitoba. Brandon's land mass is 76.89 km2 with a population density is 599.1 people per km2. The median age is 35.6 years old which is 5 years younger than the national average at 40.6 years old. There are 20,235 dwellings in Brandon with an occupancy rate of 95.5%, and the median cost of a dwelling at $219,747, lower than the national average at $280,552.

As far as education goes, for those who are 25 to 64 years old, the highest levels of education are as followed; 49.6% of people have a post-secondary schooling degree, 30.1% have a high school degree (or equivalent too) and 20.2% have nothing. The unemployment rate is 6.0% in Brandon, lower than the national average at 7.8%. The median household income before taxes is $57,177, and after taxes at $49,836, which is a bit lower than the national average at $54,089.

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 91.0% of Brandon's residents are Canadian citizens, and about 9.0% of residents are recent immigrants (from 2001 to 2011). The racial make up of Brandon is; European (77.3%), Aboriginal (11.2%); First Nations (6.3%), Metis (4.7%), Latin American (4.4%), East Asian (3.5%), Black (1.2%) Southeast Asian (1.0%), South Asian (1.0%), West Asian & Arab (0.3%) and 0.1% of the population is multiracial while the rest of the population (0.1%) is of another group. Brandon has the highest Latin American percentage of any Canadian city over 10,000 people, most which are of Salvadoran decent (49.8%).[citation needed]

Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2011 Census)[23]
Population group Population  % of total population
European 34,685 77.3%
Visible minority group
South Asian 430 1.0%
Chinese 1,345 3.0%
Black 540 1.2%
Filipino 325 0.7%
Latin American 1,965 4.4%
Arab 80 0.2%
Southeast Asian 105 0.2%
West Asian 30 0.1%
Korean 175 0.4%
Japanese 65 0.1%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 60 0.1%
Multiple visible minority 40 0.1%
Total visible minority population 5,160 11.5%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 2,830 6.3%
Métis 2,115 4.7%
Inuit 60 0.1%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 0 0.0%
Multiple Aboriginal identity 20 0.0%
Total Aboriginal population 5,040 11.2%
Total population 44,885 100%
Ethnic Origins[25]
Population Percentage
English 15,455 38.0
Scottish 12,520 30.8
Canadian 8,370 20.6
Irish 7,910 19.4
German 6,375 15.7
Ukrainian 5,885 14.5
French 4,520 11.1
Polish 2,865 7.0


As of the 2006 Census, 41,511 inhabitants in Brandon itself, and 48,256 inhabitants in the Brandon Census Agglomeration (CA).[26] Brandon is Manitoba's second largest city, and the nations 64th largest CMA/CA.[26] [27] The regional Municipality of the Cornwallis, including the unincorporated urban area of Shilo CFB-BFC, the Regional Municipalities of Whitehead, and Elton all make up the Brandon Census Agglomeration.

For Brandon, 47.4% of the city's population were male, and the remaining 52.6% were female.[28] The average age of Brandonites in 2006 was 37.0, slightly below the provincial average of 38.1.[28] Brandon's population increased by 4.5%, above the 2.6% average increase for the province but below the 5.6% increase for the nation.[28]

A majority of Brandon's inhabitants are of European ancestry. 9.8% of Brandon's citizens identify themselves as Aboriginal, and 4.0% of Brandon's citizens are part of a visible minority.[28] Though English is the dominant mother tongue for most people in Brandon (90%), some 600 citizens or 1.5% claim French as some part of their first language.[28] However 8.9% of people within the city claim some other language besides French or English as their mother tongue.[28]


According to the 2001 census 76.6% of Brandonites belonged to a Christian denomination.[29] The census also revealed that 21.9% of the city's residents did not affiliate with any religion, this is on par with the largest city in Manitoba with 21.7% of Winnipeggers not following a religion.[29] This is above the 18.7% of Manitobans as a whole that do not affiliate with a religion.

Brandon's demographics have been changing with an ever increasing immigrant population due to Maple Leaf recruiting foreign workers from China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Latin and South America. From 2004–2009 the plant brought in more than 1,700 immigrants to work for the company.[30]


Brandon College building and Clark Hall building at Brandon University.

Public schools in Brandon are governed by the Brandon School Division #40. There are approximately 7200 students, 900 staff, 22 schools and a budget exceeding $50 million.[31] There are three high schools: Vincent Massey High School, Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School, and Neelin High School, as well as Neelin High School's Off-Campus learning centre. Brandon is also home to four post-secondary institutions: Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, Robertson College, as well as the Manitoba Emergency Services College.


Local teams[edit]

Major events[edit]

Sports venues[edit]


Brandon Municipal Airport passenger terminal building
  • Brandon is serviced by Brandon Municipal Airport.
  • Taxi service is available from numerous local taxi companies.
  • The city of Brandon runs Brandon Transit, which provides daily bus service throughout the city. The system comprises 10 routes that operates seven days a week. (Monday to Sunday)
  • Brandon has a Greyhound Canada bus station downtown that has daily service to Winnipeg and to other communities in Western Canada.
  • Brandon has a system of walking/bike trails throughout the city.
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway runs through Brandon; the station is a historic landmark.[32]


The Brandon Sun publishes newspapers on a daily basis.

Music and the arts[edit]

Merchants Bank Building on Rosser Avenue, built in 1907

Brandon hosts numerous arts festivals every year, such as the Brandon Festival of the Arts, Brandon Jazz Festival, and the Brandon Folk Music Festival which has seen performers such as Crash Test Dummies, Rheostatics, Fred Penner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sebastian Owl and the Wailin' Jennys.[citation needed] The Brandon Folk Festival takes place every summer on the Keystone Centre grounds. In addition to the music festivals the Brandon University School of Music hosts the annual 'Pro Series' which has included guests like Bob Brookmeyer, George Crumb, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 Brandon was host to the Western Canadian Music Awards.

The "Words Alive" is an annual literary festival held in downtown Brandon. Authors to have participated in this festival include Robert J. Sawyer, Maggie Siggins, Fred Stenson and Corey Redekop.

Some of the local arts venues include the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium, Lorne Watson Recital Hall, Evans Theatre, and the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.

Events and exhibitions[edit]

  • The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba is a non-profit organization established in 1872, which is now housed at the city's extensive Keystone Centre complex. It hosts the
    • Royal Manitoba Winter Fair (March)
    • Manitoba Summer Fair (June)
    • Manitoba Livestock Expo (November)
  • AgDays – Canada's largest indoor Agricultural Trade Show and Program, and one of the premier shows of its kind in North America. Held in mid January each year at Brandon's Keystone Centre.
  • Brandon Folk Music and Arts Festival is a weekend event held annually in late July. The festival is held outdoors on the grounds of the Keystone Centre.
  • The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, located at the Brandon Municipal Airport.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Enriching the Wheat City". Brandon Sun (Brandon Sun). 29 May 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Best Places to Live in Canada". MoneySense. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Brandon". City of Brandon. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars, Library and Archives Canada". 
  17. ^ "Meet your new city council". Brandon Sun. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  18. ^ "Aspen Parkland". University of Alberta. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  19. ^ "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification" (PDF). University of Melbourne. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Lawn and Garden: Brandon, MB". The Weather Network. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Brandon CDA, Manitoba". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Brandon A, Manitoba". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  23. ^ a b 2011 Canadian Census
  24. ^ a b "NHS Profile, Saskatoon, CY, Saskatchewan, 2011". 2011 Canada Census. 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "City of Brandon". Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables, 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  26. ^ a b "Brandon Census Agglomeration (CA) with census subdivision (municipal) population breakdowns". Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  27. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas (ALL), 2006 and 2001 censuses – 100% data". Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Community Highlights for Brandon". Statistics Canada. 2006. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  29. ^ a b "Community Profile of the City of Brandon". Statistics Canada, 2001 Census of Population. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  30. ^ "Maple Leaf Overview". Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  31. ^ Brandon School Division#40 "Quick Facts"
  32. ^ Manitoba Historical Society webpage about CPR station in Brandon
  33. ^ Talk is Jericho episode
  34. ^ Memorable Manitobans: Martha Ostenso (1900–1963)

External links[edit]

Media related to Brandon, Manitoba at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 49°50′N 99°57′W / 49.833°N 99.950°W / 49.833; -99.950