The Geography of Manitoba: Its Land and Its People
University of Manitoba Press
$54.95, 327 pages
Available from

Manitoba Not Really a Prairie Province, New Book Reveals
Reprinted from the Brandon University Alumni News, June 1996
A definitive new book on the geography of Manitoba edited by BU Professors John Welsted and John Everitt (and former BU prof Christoph Stadel, who now resides in Austria) was released recently. "The Geography of Manitoba, its Land and its People" is the first comprehensive update of Manitoba Geography in more than 25 years and is current to within 3 months of its release date.

According to Dr. John Welsted (Geography) the book, which took about 6 years to assemble, is aimed at 2nd year university students, or anyone with an interest in geography. "We provide a good level of detail without trying to be too ultra-technical," Welsted said. "You can pick it up at any point and find something interesting. We're hoping it sets the standard for (future) geography texts.

Along with setting standards, the book reveals some interesting facts about the province, like the fact that Manitobans use the term "prairie province" loosely when describing their surroundings. Manitoba is primarily located on the rocky Canadian Shield, and part of it is subarctic tundra; "prairie" areas make up a small portion of the province.

Contributors (47 in total) ranged from experts in botany, history, political science, geology and geography, as well as community planners, a museum curator and church minister. A number of them are BU or Brandon College grads, including Allison Williams, Dr. Tom Carter '67, David McDowell '65, Bill Hillman '71/'89/'91, Rev. Paul Curtis '70, and Brian McGregor '86.

Academic participants included representatives from Brandon University, the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, Simon Fraser University and the University of Salzburg in Austria.
There are more than 200 maps, figures, black and white photos plus a colour section. The book is 352 pages long and will sell for $54.95.

It is available at the BU bookstore (204) 727-9732. A Geography of Manitoba - Its Land and its People is published by the University of Manitoba Press and distributed by the University of Toronto Press. -BC

Book is a Must for any Manitoba School 

Fred McGuinness Column -- Brandon Sun -- December 1996

1996: What with all this talk of books in the air, I must confess to a scandalous oversight. A few weeks ago, I mentioned how much I had enjoyed Brandon: Historical Perspectives on the Wheat City, which was assembled and produced by the Department of Geography at Brandon University.

About that oversight. Earlier this year I neglected to tell you of a companion publication assembled by the same department. It is Geography Manitoba: Its Land and its People.

This is a collection. Three professors: John Welsted, John Everitt and Christoph Stadel worked on the blueprint of a publication that would examine a province and its residents from every important aspect. Having done this, they requested the assistance of 37 persons whom they list as contributors.

Once a contributor had agreed to participate, he or she was assigned a topic and a schedule.

This is an important publication, important to the point that a copy should be in the library of every school.

There are major sections: The physical background; People and settlements; Resources and industry; Recreation. Inside each of those there are scores of sub-sections.

Inside the latter you will find brief items which illustrate the writerís principal points. As an example, after Emdad Haque wrote his chapter, Population of Manitoba: Patterns and Trends, complete with 45 footnotes, there are several case histories. Geoffrey Smith wrote on the Graying of Manitoba; Laurence Nixon wrote on the Changing Religious Trends in Manitoba; and James Darlington wrote on the Cemeteries of Southern Manitoba.

While, in essence, this is an academic book, in its chapters you can find nuggets of information available nowhere else, in my opinion.

For example, when Sam Corrigan and Robert Annis wrote Aboriginal Settlement in Manitoba, they included the story of Ste. Madeleine, Manitoba, a tiny village near St. Lazare. Correction, it once was near St. Lazare and it is no more. PFRA one day put the bulldozers to homes and church and turned the district into a community pasture.
Let me indulge in a personal note here. I say this book is so good because the professors made their system work; they hewed precisely to the blueprint and its companion schedule. I know this because I was involved in a most modest manner, as befits a fellow who has a lot about which to be modest.

Would I participate? I was asked this question on the telephone by Dr. Everitt. I said I would be delighted. He said my assignment was an article on the Agricultural Hall of Fame, which, you should know is currently (and temporarily) located on the walls of the dining room at the Ag. Centre. The Hall is a collection of brass plaques honoring outstanding individuals from the basic industry. Thanks to the courtesy of Glen Olmstead, Hall of Fame majordomo, I spent hours in the files of the members. This gave me an introduction to some of the former greats, like Almon James cotton of Swan River, J.D. McGregor, Dr. Frank Leith Skinner and Henry Louis Patmore, as well as to a number I know, or have known. I think here of Grant MacEwan, Alf and Edith Poole, Dr. Harvey Tolton, among others.

Thatís enough digression.

What is important about Geography Manitoba: Its Land and its People, is the extraordinary amount of information that is now available between a single set of covers. While it is exhaustive, it is also readable.

Those of you who are feeling generous this Christmas should think of donating a copy of this book to your school, or your public library. It deserves a wide and continuing audience.

Fred McGuinness is a Brandon-based freelance writer.

"One of a kind ... a comprehensive, attractive and valuable reference book for anyone interested in Manitoba, and everyone who lives there."ĖPrairie Books Now 

Book Description
Manitoba is more than one of Canada's three prairie provinces. Encompassing 649,950 square kilometres, its territory ranges from Canadian Shield to grassland, parkland, and subarctic tundra. Its physical geography has been shaped by ice-age glaciers, while its human geography reflects the influences of its various inhabitants, from the First Nations who began arriving over 9,000 years ago, to its most recent immigrants. This fascinating range of geographical elements has given Manitoba a distinct identity and makes it a unique area for study. 

Geography of Manitoba is the first comprehensive guide to all aspects of the human and physical geography of this unique province. Representing the work of 47 scholars, and illustrated with over 200 maps, diagrams, and photographs, it is divided into four main sections, covering the major areas of the province's geography: Physical Background; People and Settlements; Resources and Industry; and Recreation.

As well as studying historical developments, the contributors to Geography of Manitoba analyse recent political and economic events in the province, including the effect of federal and provincial elections and international trade agreements. They also comment on future prospects for the province, considering areas as diverse as resource management and climatic trends. 


WELSTED: Dr. John E. Welsted, B.Sc (Bristol), M.Sc (McGill) Ph.D (Bristol), Professor Emeritus of Geography, Brandon University, was born in Norwich, England on December 6, 1935 and died suddenly in Victoria, B.C. on September 21, 2009.

John was predeceased by his mother and father and will be greatly missed by his wife Kathleen Georgison, his children Alison (Geoff), Ian (Kristina) and his grandchildren Gareth and Oliver. He will also be missed by his step children Kjirsten, Paul, Peter (Jen) and Hayley. John is also survived by his sister Margaret (Ron) and their family. John taught high school in Maidenhead, England and Oromocto, New Brunswick. 

He was a professor of Geography at Brandon University from 1965-1997. John loved teaching and writing, as is acknowledged by the many articles and research papers he has written. He retired with his wife Kathleen to Victoria where he spent some of the happiest times of his life. He loved living and walking by the ocean 

Apart from his family, two of Johnís greatest accomplishments were co-authoring the book The Geography of Manitoba, its Land and its People and recently writing the ebook Manitoba from the Air.

John was a wonderful husband, father, stepfather, grandfather and friend. He was a stoic, kind and generous man of quiet disposition and great integrity and he will be truly missed by all who knew him.

A true "gentle" man.

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