Sigfusson's Roads


249 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-920486-58-4
DDC 625.7'92





Reviewed by Susan Perks

Susan Perks, formerly a teacher and librarian, is a travel agent in
Thompson, Manitoba.


Svein Sigfusson was born in 1912 in Lundar, Manitoba. In 1941, he went
north to look into developing a fishing industry at Reindeer Lake. This
led him into freighting by tractor-train. Over the next 33 years, he
developed a winter road system extending 3500 miles across northern
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. In addition to his business
expertise, he has received numerous awards for the hammer and discus
throws, and in 1982 was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1974 he was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Sigfusson’s account of his experiences in northern transportation is
both fascinating and filled with examples of human resourcefulness:
“We were faced with a major mechanical crisis. . . . The pump’s oil
screen was beyond repair, so we made one from the cook’s flour
sifter.” A map depicts the Sigfusson winter road system, and the book
includes black-and-white photographs.

In addition to describing the building of the winter roads, the author
discusses the impact of the various political parties on northern
transportation, and how politics can “make or break one’s dreams.”
Rather than allowing Sigfusson to gain a hard-earned profit by building
and operating a winter-road freighting system annually, at no cost to
society, the governments of the day in all three provinces succeeded in
putting his company out of business.

This book, a finalist in the 1992 National Business Book Awards, is at
once gripping and enlightening, and will be a worthy addition to any


Sigfusson, Svein., “Sigfusson's Roads,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,