It was Design Weekend! I just happened to make my first visit to the historic site of Upper Fort Garry on design weekend when Mark Bauche one of the site designers was on hand to tell us about the fascinating process that continues to fuel this creative work in progress.
Instead of reconstructing the old buildings that once stood inside the fort, designers have installed raised gardens at the site of each structure. Engravings tell you what they were. You can use a special Upper Fort Garry app on your phone or go to their website to see sketches and photos of the actual buildings and learn more about them.
Upper Fort Garry is the site where representatives of all the Red River parishes met under the leadership of Louis Riel to set in motion the process that would lead to Manitoba becoming a province in 1870.
I was especially fascinated with this steel wall which depicts the history of our province during the time that the fort was operational.
I’m pointing to Lord Selkirk’s signature reproduced exactly as it was on the treaty he signed with chiefs and warriors of the Chippeway and Cree Nations in 1817 where Selkirk gained rights to a huge tract of land for one hundred pounds of tobacco.
And that’s just a taste. I need to go back and discover all the other symbols in the wall.
Upper Fort Garry is not your usual kind of reconstructed historical site, but it does tell the story of our province during a significant period in our history in a unique way. And according to designer Mark Bauche this is only the beginning. There are lots of plans to make the site an ever evolving place to learn about, and become a part of, history.