The town of Ste. Agathe, Manitoba is quietly nestled 20 minutes south of Winnipeg along the Red River. Founded by Métis & Québec settlers the rich clay soil of the Red River was ideal for wheat crops. A dock was built on the Red to allow other settlers easy travel via ferry from the east to the west side of the river.
During the 1880’s a steamboat, the SS Cheyenne, transported goods and people from St. Paul, Minnesota in the United States to Winnipeg, Manitoba on the Red River. But it was in 1885 that the SS Cheyenne’s river adventures came to an end when one of its boilers exploded. The riverboat ground to a halt in a riverbank on the Red in Ste. Agathe. The crew realized the ship was no longer operable.
It wasn’t until 1981, almost 100 years later, H. Baudry Construction, a local earth moving business, unearthed the famous SS Cheyenne boiler from the riverbank. The boiler was then restored in Winnipeg and installed on the banks of the historic Red River to commemorate Ste. Agathe’s history. It can be seen on display on Pembina Trail (Main Street).
In 1989, community members in Ste. Agathe decided to host the first Cheyenne Festival on the street near the SS Cheyenne boiler itself to celebrate the community’s long history with the Red River. Many wore yacht caps with the Cheyenne logo.
Did you know? Fun Facts About Ste. Agathe
The original Métis name was Pointe à Grouette. It wasn’t until 1876 the town adopted its current name.
The Louis Riel Bridge was constructed in 1960; however it remained nameless until the early 2000’s.
Before the Louis Riel Bridge was built, people had to cross the river using a ferry. The ferry can be found on display in the neighbouring community of St. Adolphe.
Community resident Paul Bosc is the author of a children’s book titled “Le Mystère du Cheyenne” read by many francophone & immersion students across Canada.
The town of Ste. Agathe succumbed to the terrible flood of the Red River in 1997.