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Winnipeg Free Press
Love Letters to Manitoba


Upper Fort Garry Hertiage Provincial Park

Upper Fort Garry - Supplied

Dearest Manitoba, 

If I were to write you a letter, I would tell you that a must-see in Winnipeg is Upper Fort Garry! It was a Hudson's Bay Company trading post at the confluence of the Red & Assiniboine rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg. It was established in 1822 on or near the site of the North West Company's Fort Gibraltar established by John Wills in 1810 and destroyed by Governor Semple's men in 1816 during the Pemmican War.

Fort Garry was named after Nicholas Garry, deputy governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. It served as the center of fur trade within the Red River Colony. In 1826, a severe flood destroyed the fort. It was rebuilt in 1835 by the HBC and named Upper Fort Garry to differentiate it from "the Lower Fort," or Lower Fort Garry, 32 km downriver, which was established in 1831.

Throughout the mid-to-late 19th century, Upper Fort Garry played a minor role in the actual trading of furs, but was central to the administration of the HBC and the surrounding settlement. The Council of Assiniboia, the administrative and judicial body of the Red River Colony mainly run by Hudson's Bay Company officials, met at Upper Fort Garry.

In 1869, the Hudson's Bay Company agreed to surrender its monopoly in the North-West, including Upper Fort Garry. In late 1869 and early 1870, the fort was seized by Louis Riel and his Métis followers during the Red River Rebellion. After the Rebellion, the area around the fort continued to grow. In 1873, the city of Winnipeg was established and the name Fort Garry was no longer used. In 1881-1884 the majority of the fort was demolished to straighten Main Street (it was at Main Street and Assiniboine Avenue).

Although only the main gate of the fort remains today, the name "Fort Garry" lives on through various institutions and businesses. An area or division of Winnipeg running along the Red River south of the original fort is called Fort Garry. The hotel beside the fort is called the Fort Garry Hotel, which was originally constructed for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway company. The two streets on either side of the hotel are Fort Street and Garry Street. Many companies have adopted the name, such as Fort Garry Industries and the Fort Garry Brewing Company. The Fort Garry Horse has been a component of the Winnipeg military garrison throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries.

Quite the interesting history!! 

Give yourself some time to check out an read the monuments at Upper Fort Garry! 

And so I thank you Manitoba!

You have had an incredible 150 years, and I can't wait to be a part of the next several decades!! 

Best regards, 

Tara



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