The crown jewel of the West Interlake Trading Company (WITC) sits silently along the railroad tracks in Warren, Manitoba keeping watch over the small prairie town. Built in 1948, “The Sentinel” dominates the prairie skyline, as the only building of its size in the surrounding area, and offers a unique look into the past as one of few remaining elevators in Manitoba.
During their heyday in the early 1900’s grain elevators were a staple for farmers across Western Canada, with at least one in most small towns, they offered local farmers relatively easy access to transport and sell their grains. But as the agricultural landscape changed in the late 1900’s, with company mergers and dropping grain prices, many of these iconic prairie pieces were ordered for demolition. Being no exception to the unfortunate trend sweeping Western Canada, the Warren elevator was decommissioned in 1999 and put on the demolition list for 2002. Though with the dedication and determination of the local community and the initiative and drive of the West Interlake Trading Company, a deal was struck to keep the 55 year-old elevator standing in 2003.
In 2005, the WITC officially kicked off its first season on the site and long-term plans were developed to maintain and upgrade the elevator and the surrounding area for years to come. There is a refurbished office inside of the elevator, and multiple small buildings on the property for outdoor concerts, country markets, family reunions, weddings, and much more.
So the next time you are driving through Warren, be sure to stop in at the WITC’s Grain Grain Elevator Site for a small taste of the prairie history that is becoming more, and more, scarce as we move further into the 21st Century!