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KISBEY

Village, pop 185 (2006c), 199 (2001c), is situated southwest of Moose Mountain Provincial Park, 14 km west of Arcola on Hwy 13, the Red Coat Trail. The Moose Mountain Creek flows approximately 2 km south of the village en route toward the Alameda Dam, and then on to its confluence with the Souris River near Oxbow. The Pheasant Rump First Nation has small land holdings immediately to the north and the south of the community. The name of the village honours Richard Claudius Kisbey, who, with his brother, William Dennington Kisbey, emigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1881. They took the train to Brandon, where they purchased a yoke of oxen before travelling via Cannington Manor to settle in the area southeast of present-day Carlyle. Richard Claudius Kisbey invested in land in the region and after the CPR extended its line between Arcola and Stoughton in 1904, it was a tract owned by Kisbey that was purchased for a townsite. Thus, the origins of the community’s name. The steam locomotives that began running through the locale took advantage of an abundant water supply, a supply which continues to be an asset to the village, and an interesting perk of living in Kisbey today is that residents do not pay for water as each household has its own well. Shortly after the coming of the railroad, the townsite was surveyed. The post office was established on May 1, 1905; the first school opened for classes in July that year; a Board of Trade was organized in 1906; and, on May 8, 1907, the Village of Kisbey was incorporated. One of the first tasks of local officials was grading streets as most of the townsite at the time was still natural prairie. A major improvement to the appearance of Kisbey took place in the spring of 1920 when 1,000 trees were planted along the village streets. While the community’s population peaked at close to 400 around 1916, it levelled of at close to 300 in the 1920s, and it remained close to that mark until the mid-1960s, at which point it slowly, but steadily, began to decline. Modern Transportation, the consolidation of rural services, and shopping trends would slowly lead to the erosion of the local business community and would present challenges to residents’ sense of social cohesion. In 1964, high school students, the first of succeeding grades, began to be transferred to Arcola to attend classes. In 1969, the CPR station was removed. For years, three Grain Elevators lined the tracks at Kisbey, but in the mid-1980s the Kisbey sentinels were closed then demolished. In 1990, the rail line through the community was abandoned. The tracks were torn up and now only the remains of the rail bed runs along the south side of Railway Avenue. Kisbey remains a pleasant, well-kept, albeit quiet, community. Today, all village children attend school in Arcola. The nearest hospital is located in Arcola; the nearest police service (the RCMP) is located in Carlyle. With few local businesses left in Kisbey (a number of forlorn-looking abandoned buildings line the streets), many residents shop in these centres, or the town of Stoughton, 26 km west. Kisbey retains a branch of the Stoughton Credit Union, a trucking company, the post office, an insurance broker, an Anglican Church (1914), and a United Church (1927). The community has a volunteer fire department. Village facilities include a recreation centre and rinks for skating, Hockey, and Curling, as well as a playground and a park. Moose Mountain Provincial Park, a short distance to the northwest, provides Kisbey residents with a wide range of recreational facilities and opportunities. Crop production, Ranching, and oilfield-related businesses provide the basis of the area economy. Pump jacks dot the farmland surrounding the village. Kisbey serves as the administrative centre of the RM of Brock No. 64.

David McLennan

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