The town of Sanford is located in the Province of Manitoba on Highway 3 about 20 minutes south west of the capital city of Winnipeg. The Sanford Weather station is located within the community of Meadowbrook which is situated on the south edge of Sanford.
Land seekers in the early l870s found to the south and west of the La Salle River as far as the eye could see- stretches of treeless, unbroken prairie.
Along the north side of the river lay a timber belt from one to three miles in width of splendid oak, ash, elm and poplar This was fine arable land ready for the plough or pasture with fuel, water and shelter at hand.
A predominantly Anglo-Saxon community developed in this district, with the majority of early settlers being either eastern Canadians or recent immigrants from Great Britain. The years 1873 to 1880 saw an influx of settlers, many remaining only for a brief time, the bleakness and monotony of the open prairie presenting too much of a contrast to their pastoral surroundings In England and Ireland.
After the Macdonald Road was built from Winnipeg in 1887 (crossing the river by the present highway bridge) many families settled around the Sanford village Site. In 1891, a former Winnipeg merchant opened a post office in his home by the bridge. He called it Mandan, a name given to the early district by the Indians.
In 1901, the time when the railroad was built, the district was called Ashland, the post office Mandan and the church Blythefield. To counter this confusion, the railway chose to call the station Sanford. The community gradually accepted the new name. Some Americans had arrived before the railway came through; however, with the advent of the railroad, the problem of moving household effects, farm machinery and livestock eased somewhat. More North Dakotans made the journey by this time.
In 1908 another group of settlers arrived from Ontario. In 1908, one of the settlers described Sanford as he saw: "To me it seemed quite small, consisting of a railway station, a water tank, one general store, a municipal office behind the store, a blacksmith shop, United Grain Growers elevator, a lumber yard and a coal bin, a section house and the manse. The municipal hall which was used for all public meetings, fair activities and dances stood over on the fair grounds with the blacksmith shop a little to the west of it. The school was located in the bush. It consisted of a small one-room building, heated by a large barrel type Stove that burned four foot cordwood sticks..."
By 1919 Sanford had begun to show signs of permanence. New homes were built on Main Street and a boarding house on Railway Avenue. Today, Sanford is a friendly, growing and busy community, located on #3 Highway 20 minutes from Winnipeg. The La Salle River with its well-treed banks provides shade and shelter as it meanders through the village. Because of its central location in the municipality of Macdonald, the regional schools (K-12) are located here, as well as the Macdonald Emergency Services Department which combines fire and rescue.
Weather and climate
Winnipeg has a cold continental climate with a short, very warm summer and a long, cold winter. Despite the cold weather, Winnipeg’s skies are among the clearest in Canada and Winnipeg enjoys much sunny weather all year round.
Snow depths of greater than 1 cm are seen on about 132 days each year in Winnipeg, compared with about 10 days each year in Vancouver, 35 days in Penticton, 65 days in Toronto, 88 days in Calgary, and 120 days in Ottawa.
Winnipeg has a windy climate, which it owes to its prairie location. There are few natural barriers to prairie winds, allowing them to sweep down from the Arctic in wintertime.
The combination of very low temperatures and high windspeed is dangerous – and can be life threatening. Weather forecasters in Manitoba issue warnings not to venture out in such conditions.
Although Winnipeg endures lower winter temperatures than Toronto, people who live in Winnipeg claim their city’s dry winter cold is more pleasant than the damper cold in Toronto.
Science lends some support to these claims. Toronto is more overcast in winter than Winnipeg, so there is more radiant heating from the sun in Winnipeg than Toronto. Furthermore, the wet snow in Toronto is warmer than the powder snow in Winnipeg and as a result adds more moisture to the air. Moist air carries heat away from the skin more quickly than dry air does, hence Toronto can feel colder than someone from Winnipeg might expect.
The winter air in Winnipeg is so dry that many householders use humidifiers in their homes to add moisture back into the air. Many people feel uncomfortable in very dry air, and there can be problems with skin drying and cracking.