Wednesday 6 April 2022

No longer the oldest elevator in Canada

On March 19, 2022 I visited Elva, Manitoba to see the oldest grain elevator in Canada and posted it. On Facebook Troy Angus, who bought it, posted its demise. It is posted in several places so I thought I would share it. This is what he wrote:

"Canada's oldest wooden grain elevator burnt to the ground yesterday (April 5, 2022), fortunately, no loss of life or equipment resulted from this freak accident. Unfortunately, the fire claimed The Lake of the Woods elevator dating back to September 1897. The neighboring United Grain Growers elevator (1916) was untouched by the fire.
For those of you that may not be aware, The Den Authentic Barnwood (my business) purchased both elevators located in Elva, MB in December of 2021 with the purpose of intercepting a certain reality of traditional demolition. We undertook this project on our own initiative with the purpose of responsibly managing what would otherwise be considered rural wood waste.
Our goal was, and still is, to reclaim the valuable antique wood, hardware, and historic value of these elevators to share with as many people across Canada as possible, piece by piece. Prior to the destructive fire, we were able to reclaim 90% of the antique tin that skirted the iconic elevator including all hardware, posters, leg wood/cups, the complete drive shed, and parts of the original office. Most of this antique material has been shipped across North America as a way to share the story of our Prairie heritage.
If you would like to learn more about our project the link below will take you to the video collection of our experience step by step.

How did the fire start? Let me explain . . .

The fire started along the roofline of the elevator, approximately 40 feet from ground level and our crew was present from the onset. Although we are reclaiming as much wood as possible the balance (approximately 20%) of rotten wood was being disposed of by a deliberately controlled burn in the low-lying water logged slough on the property.
During the last hour of our workday, the light wind which blew all day out of the south switched directions from the East. A small ember floated upwards towards the elevator and was sucked into a hole the size of a football, igniting the 125-year-old wood virtually on contact.
Keep in mind that this event unfolded in under 10 minutes, and in 1 hour the complete structure was gone. We acted fast and according to the time-stamped photos we were able to knock the elevator to the ground within 7 minutes saving the potential damage to nearby hydro lines and railway tracks. This quick action combined with teamwork was instrumental in controlling the situation before it potentially got out of control.
The long and the short is that our project will move forward as planned with our focus now on saving as much wood and hardware from the UGG elevator. We will continue to build our project video collection and invite you to share our experience.
I would like to thank the EMS services for their quick response to the fire which includes the Melita Fire Department, ambulance, and RCMP. Although we had the fire under control by the time they arrived, it was reassuring to have them on the scene just in case. The major factor that reduced the potential for a major grass fire was the wet spring ground/grass and rain/sleet weather during the day.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post."


  1. Well, that's sad, isn't it. But once an old elevator like that catches fire, it goes up like a Roman candle, as they say. The wood is so old and dry it just burns like paper.

  2. How very sad. I had read earlier about the plan to dismantle it and recycle as much as possible and thought that was wonderful. Obviously somebody had other plans. Very glad to know though that it was a natural cause and not arson.