Detailed Description: Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada is the site of some of Western Canada's oldest restored stone buildings dating back to the 1850s. It is the only intact stone fur trading post in North America.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada is located on the banks of the Red River just south of the community of Selkirk, Manitoba. It first operated as a (HBC) Hudson's Bay Fur Trading Post - a commercial centre and transportation port for trade, services and travel for the region.
For the most part HBC played host to fur traders, soldiers, First Nation people and fur trappers. A rowdy bunch too. In the 1870s the post became a political centre for native negotiations and for planning further western exploration efforts.
It was here on the Red River where the government of the day signed "Treaty No. 1" with the Anishinaabe and Ininew First Nation people establishing a set of guidelines for both sides. The fort was also the first training base for the North West Mounted Police. A police force preparing to move west and establish law and order.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada is a popular destination today for sightseeing, tours, guides and history. Throughout the historical attraction are actors dressed in period costumes going about their day. Again, the 1850s has returned tot he fort with fur traders, trappers, First Nation people, towns folk and soldiers roaming the grounds.
A Visitor Centre (reception) greets all visitors. Admission is required to access the historical site. In the reception building there are information services and maps. Some of the facilities include exhibits, theatre, washrooms, gift shop, tours with interpretive guides, boat cruises, cafe and day use picnic area.
Exploring the fort can be self guided or with a tour group. From the reception building a series of loop trails explore the fort grounds connecting to an open field and the fort itself. The trails are gravel, level and easy going. There are sightseeing and resting benches along the trails.
The first grouping of historic sites and buildings are located outside the stone walls of the fort in an open field. The buildings include the Ross Cottages, Industrial Complex, Farm Manager's House, access path to the docks, First Nation's camp and a blacksmith shop.
The 1850 Ross Cottages were homes for long term guests. The 1860 Industrial Complex was the site where York Boats were built and stored, as well as, the site of a malt house, a distillery and gristmill. The 1830 Farm Managers Home is one of the last Red River frame structures still standing in Canada. The blacksmith shop is interactive with a blacksmith on site.
In the distance the paths connect visitors to the stone walls of the fort. In each corner of the fort is a bastion. Each bastion has a purpose. In this case the southwest bastion was used for storage.The southeast bastion was once an icehouse.The northeast bastion was used to store gunpowder. The northwest bastion was used as a bake house for breads.
From the field the paths lead visitors to the east gate and to the entrance of the fort. Inside the walls at last. The first to greet you is the Big House and the museum. Surrounding the Big House are loop paths leading to other buildings. Most impressive are the Warehouse and the Furloft.
The Big House was the centre of attention in Lower Fort Garry during the day. It was the main house and home for the officers and the HBC (Hudson's Bay Company) business executives. The museum building is a reproduction of the 1873 retail store which once serviced the fort. The 1831 Furloft was the trading hub of the fort. The 1850 Men's House was the sleeping quarters for tradesmen and workers.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada, Manitoba, Canada
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada