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Duff's Ditch is completed

The Cree called it Miscousipi, Red Water River, and warned early settlers of its hidden capacity for destruction. The river flooded in 1826, forcing the complete evacuation of the 10-year-old Red River colony. But most settlers refused to give up. Winnipeg, the city they built on the Red River's banks, has braved disaster again and again – in 1950, 1966, 1979, and again, dramatically, in 1997.

With a big blast from an overhead water bomber, the Winnipeg Floodway known as "Duff's Ditch" is christened and officially unveiled to the public. The water diversion project is 47 kilometres long, as wide as the Red River, six years in the making, and cost $63 million. In 1950, a massive flood caused approximately $125 million in damage and forced the exodus of 80,000 people from the city. This engineering marvel, however, is expected to protect against future devastation.

• The floodway has been used over 20 times since it was completed, most notably in 1997. An expansion job was completed in 2011.
• The floodway was also nicknamed "Duff's Ditch" after then Manitoba premier Duff Roblin, who avidly promoted and supported the construction of the project. Some critics of the project argued that the construction was both exorbitant and impractical. These critics dubbed the project "Roblin's Folly."
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Oct. 13, 1969
Reporter: Colin Hoath
Duration: 1:24

Last updated: April 18, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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