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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. More

Red River Floodway Collection: Finding Aid (MSS 60, PC 78 (A.90-63))

Red River Floodway Collection Finding Aid

An Inventory of Its Records at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by John Burgess
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers (September 2002)
Finding aid converted by Justin Fuhr (July 2016)
Finding aid written in English. 

Revision History

  • July 26, 2005 - MSS 60, PC 78 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2
University of Manitoba
Red River Floodway Collection
0.8 m of textual records. -- 511 photographs. -- 5 video reels.
MSS 60, PC 78

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History of the Red River Floodway

Chronology of Important Dates

Mid-1961. Project undertaken at the University at the request of the Province of Manitoba.

Dec. 18, 1961. Construction of outlet model begun.

Dec. 18, 1961. Construction of outlet model begun.

April 17, 1962. Construction of inlet model begun.

June 7, 1962. Start of stage 1 tests on inlet model.

Oct. 4, 1962. State 4 tests of inlet model completed.

Oct. 22, 1962. Final outlet model test.

July 11, 1964. Construction of Floodway begun.

Historical Sketch

In 1950, Winnipeg experienced one of the last major floods from the Red River. With 103,000 cubic feet per second of water flow and 30.2 feet above the city datum during the flood, the Government of Canada decided to investigate flood preventative measures for the Red and Assiniboine River basins. On average, the City of Winnipeg could expect floods equal to, or surpassing, the flood of 1950 every thirty-six years. With this in mind, the government studied various flood control devices. Increasing the channel flow of the Red River or dyking around Winnipeg were some of the devices studied. However, the construction of a floodway, at approximately $57 million, was thought to provide the greatest safety for the funds spent on a control mechanism.

The Royal Commission on Flood Cost Benefit was established in 1958, and it was its recommendation that the best form of flood prevention for Greater Winnipeg was the Floodway.

In mid-1961, at the request of the Province of Manitoba (Department of Agriculture, Water Control and Conservation Branch), the University of Manitoba was asked to perform model studies tests of the inlet and outlet models of the Red River Floodway. After receiving the necessary grant, Marshal Gysi (engineer in charge at the University) set about finding a suitable location to perform these studies, finally deciding upon the basement of the new Animal Sciences Building. Under the direction of R. L. Walker, project engineer at H. G. Acres and Co. Ltd (consulting engineers in Niagara Falls), the Civil Engineering Department at the University was to test the models with the data supplied by H. G. Acres. Consequently, any changes in model design could be done only with the approval of this consulting firm.

The purpose of the outlet model was to determine if any modifications to the design were necessary in order to prevent scour at the junction of the Floodway and the Red River or, perhaps as thought, further downstream. Construction of the model began December 18, 1961, and care was taken to prevent any water leakage in the model. In order to test for sediment build-up, scour, and flow patterns, a number of tests were done using different flow velocities and amounts of water. Confetti and dye (potassium permanganate) were distributed in the water and observations were made on their flow characteristics. The final test was conducted in October 1962.

The inlet model was constructed between April 17 and May 31, 1962, and the tests consisted of four stages. Stage I began June 7, ended June 12, and was concerned only with the river downstream of the control structure. The purpose of stage I was to ascertain what would happen to the river during "high-stage natural flooding." Another determination to be made was to find an artificial method of imitating floodplain roughness. Stage 2 tests began June 26, lasting until July 2, and were designed to find the location of the "transition zone and bordering dykes" which would provide suitable "approach conditions" and weaken the effects of scour. August 20-22 were to accommodate the third stage of tests. There were four designs to the diversion canals. One canal would bypass the water flow of the Red River around the control devices during construction, and stage 3 was to determine which canal model would be the most efficient. The final stage on the inlet model was to find the "rip-rap requirements" upstream and downstream of the control structure. In addition, stage 4 was to provide a "rating curve" for the control structure.

Upon completion of the tests, all pertinent data was forwarded for final study to H. G. Acres and Co. in Niagara Falls. In July 1964, construction of the Winnipeg Floodway began with the design configurations supplied by Acres. The Floodway took approximately three years to construct at an expense of about $57 million.

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Scope and Contents of the Records

The Red River Floodway Collection presents to the researcher the University's roll in the design and testing procedures of the inlet and outlet models for the floodway. This collection incorporates a variety of formats, such as films, still photographs, correspondence, and test sheets in aiding the researchers in their study of the floodway design.

For the most part, the correspondence in this collection is to Professor E. Kuiper from R. L. Walker. From January 26, 1962, to October 1, 1962, correspondence was exchanged within the University, as well as without, with regards to testing procedures, ordering of supplies, staff overtime, and construction recommendations. Although a number of weekly reports were was sent by Marshall Gysi (engineer in charge at the University of Manitoba) to R. L. Walker (project engineer at H. G. Acres), the collection does not include any of Mr. Gysi's copies of the reports.

The records relating to the plans and original date sheets of the Red River Floodway model designs span the period from November 1, 1961 to February 13, 1963. The construction and purpose of the inlet model are documented, as well as such information as examples of test data sheets. Also included is a data sheet containing the light and exposure information used in the photographs of the models. The material encompassing this section details the construction of the models and includes such information as a rating curve, sketch, and contour plans.

Test data for the inlet and outlet models are supplied in the form of test data sheets, sketches of the models on the Red River, velocity cross-sections and photographs, extending from January 22 to October 4, 1962. The correspondence included with this section is useful because it details the testing procedures for the outlet model and all four stages of the inlet model. In addition, the results of the tests highlight this section.

The drawings in this highly detailed group of reference aids are unique and beneficial to the researcher. They depict topographical detail, inlet and outlet models in their various stages of testing, and the hydraulics laboratory at the University.

All the photographs and films were made between 1962-1963. These are black-and-white photos depicting various tests on the models. The 16mm films are also black-and-white, and show current testing and ice flow studies. They are silent films with a running time of approximately five minutes each.

The Red River Floodway Collection is a valuable source of information for researchers studying the design and construction of this flood control device. Although a number of weekly reports is missing, there is enough information to allow the researcher a clear picture of the trials and results brought by the efforts of the Civil Engineering Department. The photographs are an excellent visual source of information as well as a companion to the meticulous drawings.

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Organization of the Records

These records are organized into 4 series.

  • I. Correspondence
  • II. Plans and Original Data Sheets
  • III. Test Data of Inlet and Outlet Models 1962-1964
  • IV. Drawings

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Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. However, researchers are requested to abide by the copyright laws of Canada.

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Custodial History

The Red River Floodway Collection came to the University of Manitoba Archives from the Faculty of Engineering Library at the University of Manitoba. This collection presents the University's role in the design and testing of the floodway program.

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Other Finding Aids

Photograph Collection (PC 78)

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Detailed Description of the Records

I. Correspondence
Box Folder  
1 1

The majority of correspondence is between R. L. Walker, project engineer at H. G. Acres and Co., Ltd., Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Professor E. Kuiper, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba. The letters have been into incoming and outgoing correspondence and are concerned with the instructions regarding the testing procedures between January 26 - October 1, 1962.


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II. Plans and Original Data Sheets

* The photographs have been installed in PC 78.


Box Folder  
2 1
A. Introduction (Nov. 1, 1961-Feb. 13, 1963)
B. Inlet Model Report -- construction, purpose, and results of stages 1-4
C. Correspondence - March 6 - June 26, 1962
D. Report #2 -- re: Hydraulics model study of the outlet channel
E. Example of test data sheet
F. Two outlet works model drawings
G. Outlet model diagram
H. Flow sketch
I. Floodway model rating curve
J. Descriptive notes on flow pattern
K. Light and exposure data of floodway models
L. Water surface profile
M. Velocity cross-sections
N. Contour plan
O. Flow sketch
P. Rating curve

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III. Test Data of Inlet and Outlet Models 1962-1964
Box Folder  
A. Outlet model - Jan. 22-May 30, 1962    
3 1
1. Correspondence between R. L. Walker and Dr. J. Fulton re: testing program for the outlet model
2. Reports on tests
3. Test data sheets and photographs
4. Test data sheets and photographs
5. Correspondence from R. L. Walker Professor E. Kuiper re: interim model test program
B. Outlet model - final tests    
4 1
1. August 18-October 7, 1962
2. Index
3. Correspondence

a. from ”Dr. J. Fulton re: testing of the outlet works model

b. to F. H. Jonker re: testing program for flood floes

4. Test data sheets
5. Sketches
6. Photographs
7. Cross-sections
  2 8. Newspaper clippings from Winnipeg Free Press, July 11, 1964 re: aerial view of Floodway under construction
C. Inlet model construction and testing program    
5 1
1. June 6-October 4, 1962
2. Index
3. Correspondence

a. To F. H. Jonker, re: inlet works model construction and testing program. June 6, 1962. re: ice tests for stage 2 of the inlet works model. July 9, testing of the inlet works model stage 3. August 14., 1962.

b. To A. J. Carlson, re: testing program for stage 4 of the inlet works model. August 22, 1962.

4. Test data sheets
5. Sketches
6. Photographs
7. Cross-sections

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IV. Drawings

Included in this collection are eighteen drawings of the inlet and outlet models and of the Red River Floodway

Box Folder  
6 1 a. Index
  2 b. Location plan showing topographical detail
  3 c. Outlet model
  4 d. Inlet model: general arrangement for stage 1 test program
  5 e. Inlet model: interim control structure
  6 f. Inlet model: template locations for stage 2 test program
  7 g. Inlet model: template location and diversion channel configurations for stage 3 test program
  8 h. Interim outlet model: alternative arrangements of downstream channel
  9 i. Interim outlet model: general arrangement
  10 j. Interim outlet model: plan and sections
  11 k. Outlet model
  12 l. Outlet structure: plan and sections
  13 m. Outlet works model: general arrangement
  14 n. Plan showing survey and cross-sections at outlet
  15 n. Plan showing survey and cross-sections at outlet
  16 n. Plan showing survey and cross-sections at outlet
  17 q. Model study: plates for measuring weirs
  18 r. University of Manitoba: hydraulics laboratory
  19 s. University of Manitoba: Winnipeg floodway model: outlet model plan


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Photograph Collection (PC 78) 1962-1963, [19-?]
Box Folder  
Photographs 1962, [19-?]    
Photographs 1-216

A. Outlet model - Jan. 22-March 24, 1962

Photographs 217-408

B. Outlet model - March 26-May 30, 1962 - test 61 (in c-4 series) - test #90

Photographs 409-455

C. Outlet model - final tests. August 18-Oct. 27, 1962

Photographs 456-500

D. Inlet model construction and testing program. June 6-Oct.4, 1962 - test #4 (stage 1)-test #7 (stage 4)

Photographs 501-510

E. Photographs of ice floes on different bridges. April 24, 1962.

Photograph 511

F. Aerial photograph of the Red River (undated)

Video Reels 1962-1963    
Item 512

G. Film #1, Ice studies on bridge piers. Feb. 18. 1963.

Item 513

H. Film #5, Ice studies on bridge piers. March 12, 1963.

Item 514

I. Film #7, Water and current flow tests. Feb. 27, 1962.

Item 515

J. Film #11, Stream current and eddy flow tests (using confetti and dye). March 17, 1962.

Item 516

K. Film #29, General view of inlet model. July 11, 1962.

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