Russell, Manitoba, incorporated as a village in 1907 and as a town in 1913, population 1669 (2011c), 1590 (2006c). The Town of Russell is an agricultural service centre 350 km northwest of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. Homesteading began in the area in the late 1870s. Russell was founded in 1880 by Charles Arkoll Boulton and was first known as Shell River. Charles Boulton, who formed the Boulton's Scouts during the North-West Rebellion (see also Louis RIEL) renamed the community in 1889 after a British commander of the Canadian forces, General Alexander George Russell. The community became a regional shipping point with the arrival of the Manitoba and North Western Railway in 1886. The CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY followed in 1908 and built a roundhouse.
Dr Thomas John Barnardo, controversial British philanthropist, established an industrial training farm southwest of Russell (1887-89). One of many Barnardo facilities for destitute British children, the centre trained several hundred boys for work on prairie farms before it closed in 1908 (seeIMMIGRANT CHILDREN).
Known as the Banner County since 1893, contemporary Russell has several agriculture-related industries and services for a market area of grain (particularly barley), oilseed and cattle farms, including an oilseed crushing plant. Key hunting, fishing and wetland resources are nearby, including Asessippi Provincial Park on the reservoir, Lake of the Prairies.