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You can find three vintage cars in the Assiniboine Forest. Here’s why

The 1928 Ford. (Source: Bill Rayner) The 1928 Ford. (Source: Bill Rayner)
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If you are going for a run through the Assiniboine Forest, you might be surprised to come across some abandoned cars.

Though these vintage vehicles may seem out of place, the reason for their odd location has to do with how the land has changed over the last century.

It all began more than 100 years ago, when the Assiniboine Forest was an open landscape, with roaming bison and frequent wildfires.

“[At the time], the trees would have been much smaller and there would have been more open grassland,” said Derek Dunlop, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, who is writing about the history of the forest for his dissertation. “And there would have been some marshy areas.”

According to the Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Charleswood, road cuts were built in the area and a development plan was put in place in 1920. However, due to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent economic depression the development plans were stopped.

As time went on, the site then became a dumping area for the nearby residents to get rid of their garbage.

“My feeling is that people probably just dumped their old cars into [the area]. It wasn’t a developed forest as we think of it today,” Dunlop said.

The Rotary Club, which is the steward for the forest, said the vehicles were likely dropped off in the forest in the late 1930s or early 1940s – a time when there were very few trees growing in the area.

In 1973, the Assiniboine Forest was preserved as a municipal nature forest.

The types of cars

The three cars that can be found in different parts of the forest are a 1938 Ford, a late 1940s Mercury sedan and a 1928 Ford.

The 1938 Ford can be found about 100 paces south of the Traverse Trail, while the 1928 Ford is on the G.T. Chapman Trail N.

The Mercury Sedan is a bit more difficult to locate, but can be found on the Cranberry Trail.

A map with all the cars’ locations can be found below.

A map of where the cars can be found in the Assiniboine Forest. One is the 1938 Ford, two is Mercury sedan, and three is the 1928 Ford. (Source: Bill Rayner)

Talk of the neighbourhood

Winnipegger Kyle Geske was told about one of the cars when he first moved to the Charleswood area. However, it took him four years to find what would turn out to be the 1938 Ford.

“The whole car is just sitting there, slowly rusting,” he said.

Afterward, Geske posted to social media about his finding and was given a clue about where he might find another, which ended up being the 1928 Ford.

“So I went and found that second one,” he said. “It’s a similar-era car. It looked like a different model. It’s in a different part of the forest.”

Geske added that the cars in the forest are known by Charleswood residents.

“As I started tweeting about it, other people were sending me other ones,” he said.

“People also sent pictures of cars in various places around the province. So there are cars hidden all around.”

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