If you're curious about the history of downtown Brandon and the iconic buildings that still stand sentinel from days long past, you might want to consider joining a walking tour with the Brandon General Museum and Archives group.

Museum Administrator, Keith Waterfield says their displays share a walk through the history of Brandon since it was incorporated in 1882.  It's history of the past 142 years includes the fur trade along the Assiniboine River and the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  But they do more to bring attention to the rich history in the streets and buildings that surround them.

The Brandon General Museum works together with the Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation (BNRC) to facilitate their summer walking tours with students leading the way!

"Our partnership with them includes a downtown walking tour that starts at Princess Park in downtown Brandon and then we do a loop down downtown to end up back at the museum here," explains Waterfield. "We go through the history of Brandon's unique buildings throughout the walking tour."

Waterfield says often folks walk past these buildings and don't actually stop and consider what they once were, the reason they were built in the first place. As well, many motorists are busy watching traffic and pedestrians and don't get the chance to notice what's passing them by."

"They may not just simply look up and don't notice these wonderful buildings that are around us and that tie the history together."

A unique aspect of the tour is the attention brought to old advertisements that were painted on the sides of buildings, known as 'ghost signs'.

"These are old advertisements from say the late 1800's and early 1900's of businesses that used to populate downtown Brandon at the time," explains Waterfield. "And so, you'll see these painted signs on brick walls for pharmacy, some clothing stores, and optometrists, and others. So, they're quite neat to see but sometimes they have to be pointed out to people."

The tours continue throughout the summer and may take on different themes, one of which is the dark history of downtown Brandon, the not so nice stories of bank robberies and horse thievery.

"We talk about some of the crimes of Brandon's past and certain tragedies of the downtown area," he adds. 

"All of our walking tours are quite popular, and we try to do as many walking tours as possible."

The Brandon General Museum walking tours are expected to start later this month.

Please visit their website HERE and their Facebook Page HERE to keep your eyes on the upcoming walking tours in downtown Brandon.

(Photo credit below The Manitoba Historical Society)