Over a quarter million visitors...
Over half a century…
Acres of natural forests, nature trails, and educational facilities…
The Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre has all this to its credit, and more. Above all, it offers students—many of whom would not have the opportunity otherwise—to experience first-hand the richness of this fragile resource, and to better understand our natural heritage.
The Sandilands Center is located approximately 100 Km East of Winnipeg near the town of Hadashville Manitoba. Travelling East on the Trans-Canada Highway turn south at highway #11. The Sandilands Centre is approximately 2.4 Km south of HWY #1, before the road turns to gravel turn left into the Centre.
Founded in 1957, the 120 hectare site was granted to the Manitoba Forestry Association for the purpose of conducting youth education programs in forest conservation. The first group of students to visit on June 1, 1957 came from Earl Grey School in Winnipeg. From this humble beginning, the Centre now boasts:
While buildings, trails and specialty items make up the Centre, students and teachers have always been the main focus. Programs have evolved over the years to reflect changes in the education curriculum and the interests of the visitors who now include seniors, families and individuals. Universities make use of the natural forest setting as an outdoor laboratory for their field courses and research programs, businesses have brought their staff for retreats, wedding ceremonies have been performed, and tour groups are regular visitors.
Today, the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre remains true to its original vision over 50 years ago—to provide an outdoor teaching facility where visitors can learn about forests in a natural setting. The next half-century is sure to see the Centre continue to evolve, as the need for forest education grows ever more important to people of all ages.
Tree Planting Car
With the westward migration of people early in the last century to make a new life from the fertile prairie soils, the Canadian Forestry Association (CFA) and later, the Manitoba Forestry Association (MFA) followed – but in a uniquely Canadian way. In co-operation with the Canadian Pacific (CP) and Canadian National (CN) Railways and several government agencies, modifications were made to a CP rail passenger coach and the Tree Planting Car was born.
This traveling theatre and museum would be parked in a community for a day or two, educating school children on forests and forest fire prevention during the day, and adults on the important role of trees on the prairies in the evening. Today, we still reap the value of these shelterbelt plantings as they continue to protect buildings and agricultural land from wind and erosion.
After 55 consecutive years of service, 424,000 kilometers of rail traveled, attendance by over 1.5 million people representing four generations, the Tree Planting Car made its final stop at Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre. Canadian Pacific Railway donated the Car to the Association in 1974, one year after its last run.
Today, visitors to the centre can climb aboard and travel back in time. Tours of the tree plantning car are available in July and August. The Tree Planting Car is in its original condition with ample accommodation for large groups. Theatre-style seating provides an excellent opportunity for presentations and historic nostalgia.
This museum at the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre displays all aspects of forests and forestry in Manitoba. Featured are scale models of forestry operations, forest insects and diseases, mounted birds and animals in natural dioramas, and a firefighter display complete with authentic equipment. On the outside of the building are hand carvings of Smokey Bear and his forest friends donated by members of Adanac Carvers. We thank all individuals who have contributed to this facility.
This is truly a must-see museum of interest for young and old!
A 15 foot fire tower complete with the equipment found in fire look-out towers around the province. Fire-fighting equipment is demonstrated and available for visitors to try.
Commemorative Tree Planting Program
The Sandilands Forestry Discovery Centre is the planting site of our Commemorative Tree planting program. These commemorative trees have been planted throughout the site to assist in the regeneration of this forest. The names of whom these trees were planted for can be found on the Commemorative Tree Plaque in the Sandilands Museum.
Click here for more information about the Commemorative Tree Planting Program.