Altona is a town in southern Manitoba about 100 km south-west of Winnipeg and 133 km north of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The population at the 2011 Census was 4,123 residents. Altona was founded in 1876 by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from the Russian Empire. It is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Rhineland. Much of the surrounding area is devoted to farming and agriculture-based business.
Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from Russia began settling in Manitoba from 1874 through 1880 after signing a Privilegium with the Canadian government. The settlers initially were located in the Mennonite Reserve (largely now the Rural Municipality of Hanover). This area, east of the Red River and south of the Seine River, became known as the East Reserve when another block of land west of the Red River, known as the West Reserve was granted for Mennonite settlement in 1876, which included the land to become Altona. The first settlement at Altona was made in 1880, by Bergthal Mennonites from the East Reserve nearby. A southern spur of the Canadian Pacific Railway went through the Altona village area in 1882. A separate town-site, also named Altona, had its start in 1895 when the Canadian Pacific Railroad was extended to that point, with the village area later known as Old Altona. While Altona had a population large enough to support incorporation by the late 1920s, it took until 1946 for the community to be incorporated as a village. Its population at that time was 1065 residents. In 1956, population growth to 1698 residents prompted the village council to apply to the provincial government to change the status to town. This change became official on 24 October 1956blog comments powered by Disqus