Gretna History

Gretna has a vibrant and fascinating history.                    

 
Generations of Families, Success and Business.
But that is only the beginning.

Once home to roaming Buffalo herds, the area around Gretna attracted people as far back as the early 1800's. Originally known as "Smuggler's Point", it's natural tree cover afforded early settlers and fur trappers a location where undeclared goods were smuggled over the border.
 
Mmain st. 1890 
 
 Soon after establishing the 49th parallel as the International border, Gretna became an important customs centre and border town for both the Canadian and American governments.

Gretna’s strategic demographic location raised the interest of the Canadian Pacific Rail Road which encouraged the creation of large grain elevator operations in the area.
 
Historic Buildings 
The Ogilvie Milling Company was one of the first and most prominent private companies in Gretna around the turn of the century. It is believed company founder William Ogilvie, originally from Scotland, named Gretna after Gretna Green in Scotland, where runaway couples were married by the blacksmith at his anvil.

Gretna soon became a prominent border town. As businesses thrived and expanded, Gretna life in the early 1900’s was filled with promise and opportunity. As progress would have it, changes afforded Gretna no favours and the town began losing the grain milling industry responsible for it’s boom.

Today, Gretna has stood the trials and tests of time. With the recent on going expansion in the Pembina Valley, it now serves a young demographic attracted to it’s beautiful surroundings, friendly outreach and community life that is safe for families.
 
Read all about it in Gretna: Window on the Northwest [46MB PDF]

This is very large PDF file and may take several minutes to download. A hard copy of this book is also available at the Municipal office in Altona.

If you any have interesting photos, artifacts or stories that you'd like to contribute, please contact us at info@rhinelandmb.ca or (204) 324-5357.