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Following the Cordite Trail

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Culverts bringing in overflow water into the pond in All Seasons Estates.

PHOTO BY RICK SPARLING Enlarge Image

Culverts bringing in overflow water into the pond in All Seasons Estates. Photo Store

I have been a resident of All Seasons Estates for the past 22 years, living directly across Lagimodiere Boulevard from Kilcona Park.

How observant of me it was to discover the Cordite Trail, which has been right under my nose, only a couple of hundred yards from my back door. This trail connects, via an asphalt walking/biking path, to the Chief Peguis trails.

At one time, before the First World War, Winnipeg was a booming railway town and the Canadian Pacific Railway needed the Cordite area as an extra rail yard and a freight terminal.

The property is huge, running parallel to Cordite Road on the north side, all the way from Lagimodiere to Day Street.

Big plans were being made for other businesses around the area but the war dried up the economy and the train business declined. But the tracks remain and CPR still uses them.

The factory that produced cordite, a smokeless explosive used in munitions during the Second World War was situated on the trail just south of the track area and thus the trail was called "the Cordite Trail." That factory,  along with the buildings that housed temporary Japanese internment camps just after the invasion of Pearl Harbour, have all since been torn down and now it is a meadow and an historic trail.

I discovered the trail because I was trying to track the water flowing from Kilcona Park. My bike took me along the way and Travis, a city employee in charge of vegetation control for the city’s retention ponds took a few minutes to talk to me about the water direction and allowed me to carry on with my exploration.    

The Cordite Trail runs along the south side of a ditch all the way to Plessis Road. This ditch carries the overflow from the retention ponds (man-made lakes) of Kilcona Park and Harbour View. These ponds’ main purpose is to take overflow storm water and move it along while removing impurities from it before the next storm arrives. The ditch runs along Cordite until it comes to Lagimodiere The flow then continues under the boulevard and in behind Star Lumber’s truss division buildings. It is seen again just west of Claudio’s Garage on Springfield Road and from there it runs into the east edge of All Seasons retention pond.

From All Seasons the water is directed under Gateway Road near the Sun Valley plaza. It runs north between Gateway and Raleigh Street until it ducks under Raleigh trickles into Bunn’s Creek. It then twists and winds its way to Henderson Highway, some 3 kilometres away and spills into the Red River ,where it eventually empties into Lake Winnipeg.

The water is much cleaner after going through the various filters, which remove impurities such as salt used on city streets.

Because of this, birds, wildlife and even fish thrive in these waters. The city has attempted to beautify most of the pond areas and enhance their appearances by planting trees and shrubs, which attract the wildlife. Many fish fight their way upstream from Lake Winnipeg to the Red and to the ponds when the water level is high.

There are many retention ponds in Winnipeg which all empty into the Red River and subsequently into Lake Winnipeg.

Just a word of warning...

While the water has been filtered to some degree, it is not fit for human consumption and don’t eat the fish. They’re for the birds.

Rick Sparling is a community correspondent for East Kildonan.

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