Grain Elevators of the Canadian Prairies

At one time, grain elevators could be found every 8 to 10 miles along all the railway lines in western Canada. That allowed most farmers to make a round trip to deliver grain with a horse and wagon in one day. Though they started appearing in the late 19th century, the number of grain elevators peaked in 1938, when there were nearly 6,000 primary (country) elevators in the Prairie provinces. Many factors led to the decline of the primary elevator: the Depression, increased mechanization, improved roads for transportation, rural depopulation, the closing of branch lines of the railway and the buying out or merging of the grain companies.  Once they are closed and abandoned, elevators deteriorate quickly.  They are often dismantled or destroyed in fires.  Very few of the old elevators are still standing: in 2004 there were only 197 primary licenced grain elevators left in Saskatchewan. 

Since 2013, I have been photographing some of the remaining old grain elevators in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.   Over this time, I have come to love visiting and photographing these old Prairies beauties.