Chapter: Paying the Price

Section of Fence, Transcona Cordite Plant

"Stay out!"
WWII section barbed wire fence-Transcona Cordite Plant-munitions explosive manufacturer Cordite Plant fence section


For residents of Transcona and Springfield it seemed like almost overnight an entire new town was created. A complex consisting of 230 buildings including machine shops, offices, factories, residences, hospital, fire hall, telephone exchange, and a railway had appeared and became the Transcona Cordite Plant.

This was a top secret facility used to manufacture cordite, an explosive material used in munitions. During World War II the war effort was happening not only overseas but also on the homefront. At the peak of operations, the facility employed more than 2,460 men and women.

The barbed wire fence demonstrates how seriously security was taken at the site. An eight foot high metal fence with five guard houses to the mile and an electric light pole every 100 feet was built out of fear of spies and saboteurs.

Even more worrisome then spies was a fire, which could result in a massive catastrophe. To prevent fires, copper hammers were used instead of steel ones to cut down on sparks and smoking on the job not only could get you fired, but also sent to jail.

At the war's conclusion the complex disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared. However, for four months before its demolition it served as a Japanese Internment camp.