Located in a valley between the Duck Mountains and the Porcupine Hills, the town of Swan River is close to the Saskatchewan boundary in west-central Manitoba. The town sits along the Swan River which flows into Swan Lake, 55 km (34 mi) to the north-east. Swan Lake is believed to have been named for the swans that once frequented the lake, but are nowadays only seasonal visitors.
The economic base of the town lies in agriculture, forestry, and support industries for then.
Almost fifty percent of the surrounding area is under cultivation, most of which is seeded to cereal grain, oilseeds, and other speciality crops. Wheat, rye, barley, oats, flax, and rapeseed are the primary grain crops, while other commercial crops include potatoes and strawberries. There are also many mixed farms producing cattle, pigs, and farm-raised wild animals.
Softwood lumber trees (primarily white spruce) are cut from the surrounding forests, and milled at Spruce Products Ltd.
Other major industries of the town are health care, retail services, manufacturing, and tourism.
Henry Kelsey became the first European explorer to visit the area in 1690. The first permanent European settlement dates back to 1770, when fur traders from both the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company established outposts along the Swan River where they bought and sold goods to local Cree peoples by way of birch bark canoes.
In 1876, the musical band of the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, made its debut in what was later to become Swan River. The instruments used in the band were purchased by the 20 officers in the band and shipped from Winnipeg by dog sled.
The first pioneers arrived in the Swan Valley through the Duck Mountains in 1897 and quickly developed the farming potential of the area. The proposed construction of a line of the Canadian Northern Railway was announced in 1898 and the town was founded in 1900, though it was little more than a post office at the time.
The climate of west-central Manitoba features extreme seasonal variation, with winter temperatures below −30 °C (−22 °F) and summer temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) not uncommon. Swan River has very distinct seasons. Snow usually covers the ground from early November to early April. The transition from winter to spring to summer is rapid, with the snow of late March turning to the full green of summer by mid-May. The onset of autumn, then winter, is equally rapid, as daytime high temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) are common in late September, while temperatures above freezing are rare by early November, only seven weeks later. Summer, although short, is pleasant and very green, owing to the fertility of local soils and adequate rainfall.
Most precipitation falls as rain in the summer - usually in brief thunderstorms - or in less violent but more protracted snow or rainshowers in spring and fall. Little precipitation falls in winter because the air is then too cold to hold significant amounts of moisture. However, because the temperature rarely goes above the melting point of water in winter, what precipitation that does fall falls as snow, and accumulates on the ground, building to a depth of about 45 cm (18 in) before finally starting to melt in March.
Swan River is located at the junction of Provincial Trunk Highways 10 & 83, it is about 5 hours northwest of Winnipeg. PTH 83 continues south to the Canada–US border, where it continues south as U.S. Route 83 to the Mexican border near Brownsville, Texas, making it the longest continuously numbered north-south highway in North America with a combined distance is 3,450 km (2,140 mi).
- Valley Cabs, ☏ .
- Rowe's Service Ltd., ☏ .
- Swan Valley Historical Museum, PTH 10 north, ☏ . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su 1-5PM.
The Swan River Valley has numerous outdoor recreational opportunities such as camping, fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling.
- 1 Duck Mountain Provincial Park (1 hour south of Swan River on PTH 10). Part of a long series of highlands known as the Manitoba Escarpment, the park is composed of thickly wooded, rolling terrain with dozens of deep clear lakes. Enjoy fishing, camping, boating, hiking, scuba diving and biking. Baldy Mountain is Manitoba's highest point at 831 m (2,726 ft), with an observation tower at the summit offering a spectacular view. Not to be confused with nearby Duck Mountain Provincial Park in Saskatchewan.
- Swan River Golf and Country Club, 27 River Dr, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Established in 1934, the Swan River Golf and Country Club is one of the most scenic and well-maintained 18-hole courses in Manitoba. The course is also the most northernly 18-hole course in Manitoba.
- 2 Thunderhill Ski Area (30 km SW of Swan River on PTH 83 & PR 487), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Featuring over 24 groomed downhill ski runs, and approximately 2.2 km of unmarked cross-country ski trails & snowshoe trails.
Swan River is a regional service centre and offers basic retail shopping.
- Y Not Johnny's, 1496 3rd St. NE, ☏ . Su-Th 9AM-10PM, F Sa 9AM-11PM. Bar and restaurant with full menu.
- The Swan Valley Information Centre (Operated by the Swan Valley Chamber of Commerce), 1500 Main St (Main St & PTH 10), ☏ .
- Swan Valley Primary Care Centre, 1000 Main Street, ☏ . The local hospital.
|Routes through Swan River|
|Flin Flon ← The Pas ← Jct W ←||N S||→ Dauphin → Brandon|
|END ←||N S||→ Russell → Virden|