Community History

Immerse yourself in a distinctly rural Manitoba way of life in a community which bridges a rich history, a thriving present and a dynamic future. 

Situated in a unique landscape carved by glaciers and honed into a prairie oasis by the glacial melt waters that have etched the route for the Souris River and Plum Creek, Souris-Glenwood offers an abundance of activities and attractions for the whole family in a setting that you will want to call “home”.

Easily found at the junction of Highways 2 and 250, just 50 kilometers southwest of the City of Brandon, an area rich in agricultural land and diversified industry.  Souris-Glenwood is recognized as a full  service community, with education, healthcare and services to meet the needs of our citizens, also offering a clean, quiet and relaxed way of life well-suited to raising a family.

William Henry Sowden was not the first to settle in this region, he was preceded by Captain Gilbert Woods and family as well as Thomas and Edward Hicks.  But it was Sowden that headed a colonization party of thirty-six pioneering souls in April 1881 to our banks of the Souris  river to start a community.

Sowden’s contributions to the early development of our community are numerous.  He is recognized by history as a leader, a visionary, businessman and philanthropist.  Among his greatest achievements include: bringing settlers in by train and securing Souris as a site for the CPR railway, offering free land to churches, building log homes for workers, creating the Swinging Bridge for which the town is best known as well as leading the development of industry and culture here.  Sowden served as the first Reeve of the Municipality of Glenwood.

W.H. Sowden’s home (Glenwood) was built at the west bank of the Swinging Bridge. After his death, the house was torn down and in 1910 his son Fred built the castle-like house known today as Hillcrest Museum as a wedding present for his wife Maude.

Agriculture provided the trade base for the local economy, but immigration, the railway, processing and manufacturing combined to create vibrant growth for the Town’s first generation.

With the onset of World War II, markets grew but virtually all able-bodied men and many women from the Souris area answered the call to serve.  Rationing affected the availability of many  goods, particularly tires and gasoline (no cars or tractors were available from 1941 to 1946). Development of the airport for the British Commonwealth Air Training Program added considerably to the town.  When the airport closed in 1945, buildings declared as surplus were purchased and moved into town for either businesses or homes.

More than a century has shaped our community. A place where you can traverse Canada’s longest suspension bridge, prospect for gems for North American’s largest semi-precious stone deposit, see life through the lends of another century in our local museums and heritage sites, and marvel at the beauty of the majestic peacocks which roam freely about town. Just one sojourn to our town and you will see why folks say: “Souris – come for a visit, stay for a lifestyle.