Small Manitoba towns have a thing with giant statues, so obviously it was the giant sturgeon that drew us to Dominion City.
We were taking the scenic route on our way to Altona, and I was paging through Bartley Kives’ book A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba and thus I learned of the sturgeon. Meanwhile, I’d given Alexandra my Manitoba Back Roads map, and she pointed out that the map highlighted the Franklin Museum. With these two items alone, we agreed D.C. would be worth the stop. (Do people in the area call Dominion City “D.C.”? I feel like they must. Also…I love the way small Manitoba hamlets and towns have the word “city” in their name. Crystal City, anyone?)
First order of business: attempt to take a photo that makes it look like we were holding up that magnificent sturgeon. Andrew grew tired of the whole “move your right hand to the left, no the other left, a little higher” game and so our photo looks like Alexandra and I are just doing some kind of interpretive dance featuring a fish. Which I figure is pretty okay too.
The statue is a reproduction of a sturgeon that was pulled out of the nearby Roseau River in 1903. It’s estimated that the fish was about 150 years old when it was caught. That fish lived 150 years, only to be caught in 1903. Aw. They called it a “monster”. It was over 15 feet long, over 400 pounds, and was apparently full of caviar. Well, I hope they appreciated it, at least.
Next order of business: see the Franklin Museum. Dominion City is located in the Rural Municipality of Franklin, hence the name of the museum. But we don’t know what’s in there. It was closed. I think maybe you need to call in advance if you wish to see the museum. Or talk to the friendly people who live in D.C. We were only there momentarily, but I caught those “Friendly Manitoba” vibes. We didn’t actually have time to stay though because we had an agenda: pizza in Altona, and a concert in Neubergthal…and we hadn’t left Steinbach on time to allow for much lingering. This was my fault, I have some trouble with the concept of time. Anyway, here are some photos of the outside of the museum!
It’s in an old church. There’s stained glass! I bet it’s real pretty from the inside. I plan to find out, someday!
These pictures are kind of driving me nuts because I clearly need a haircut. I have an appointment, I’m just waiting for it. (Just mentioning it in case you’re as concerned about my hair as I am. Which likely you’re not. ANYWAY!)
And here’s the Mennonite connection! Near the sturgeon statue, there is this cool map/sign, which tells stories of events that happened along the various rivers that begin with the letter “R” — all in comic-book font. Dominion City is clearly a British establishment, so I hadn’t expected to see “Mennonite” on a sign. But, here ’tis: the sign in D.C. mentions where our ancestors hopped off the boat in 1874 (which is not really close to Dominion City at all).
So, all this to say, I must return to Dominion City and actually go into the museum and learn about its origins. The rail line goes through the village…I think it was maybe a boom town of sorts, a century ago, and thus optimistically-named. I think there was a sign about all of this that we failed to read in our haste to obtain pizza.
We’ll be back. Thanks for the memories, D.C.!