A Creative Way to Share History- Upper Fort Garry

designer-shows-us-upper-fort-garryIt 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. 

children building forts at upper fort garryAs an example of that creative process children who were visiting the fort on Saturday were designing forts of their own with these huge cardboard boxes. 

raised gardens upper fort garryInstead of reconstructing the old buildings that once stood inside the fort, designers have installed  raised gardens at the site of each structure. fur store upper fort garryEngravings 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.  

map of upper fort garryUpper 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. 

bison-huntYou can see the bison hunt. 

lord selkirk's signatureI’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. 

york boatThere’s the outline of one of the York boats used by the Hudson’s Bay Company to carry furs and trading goods. The Hudson’s Bay company built the fort. 

sent to residential schoolHow heartbreaking is this illustration of Indigenous children being taken away from their parents to residential school?

settlers-plowingSettlers are plowing the land around the fort. 

paddleboat-red-riverSteamships and paddleboats ply the waters of the Red River. 

red-river-cartA Red River cart was a popular mode of transportation on the prairies during the time the fort was at its busiest. Notice how this one’s wheels are caked with mud. 

And that’s just a taste.  I need to go back and discover all the other symbols in the wall. 

upper fort garryUpper 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.  upper-fort-garry-siteAnd 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. 

Other posts…….

The Dakota Boat

Photographed Just in Time

A Different Perspective


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Filed under History, WInnipeg Art Gallery

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