This area, the White Horse Plains, played a central role in the early history of Manitoba.
Before Canadian Confederation and before Manitoba became a province, St Francois Xavier (then Grantown) was home to the Metis community of Grantown led by Cuthbert Grant. At the time, competition over the fur trade led to conflict between the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company.
Explore this exciting history through day trips from the White Horse Escape. Maps and picnic lunch available.
Lower Fort Garry (Hudson Bay Company) 45 minutes North-East
Step back in time to the 19th century fur trade at the oldest stone fur trading post still intact in North America. Costumed interpreters will take you back to the mid-1800s as they re-enact events of the early days of this Hudson's Bay Company post. Stone walls encircle the fort's enclosure, the largest group of original 19th century fur trade buildings in Canada.
Fort Gibraltar (North West Company) 45 minutes East
The voyageurs of the North West Company were a highly mobile group of fur traders. The sound of their paddles and their songs echoed from the banks of rivers and lakes from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. They were the backbone of the fur-trading endeavour by the NWC; expert woodsmen, canoe handlers and hunters with 150 years of North American experience resulting in a high level of cultural integration with native groups. They were widely respected for their skills and hard work but even better known for their "joie de vivre" - the capacity to enjoy life to the fullest even under conditions of extreme hardship.
Riel House 45 minutes South-East
As its name implies, this national historic site of Canada has close ties with Métis leader and a founder of Manitoba, Louis Riel.
Fort La Reine 45 minutes West
The original Fort was built in 1738 by the French-Canadian explorer, Sieur de la Verendrye. It served as his headquarters for 15 years while he explored the territory. The museum contains a replica of the original fort.
The Forks during the fur trade 1738-1880 40 minutes east (City Center)
The first Europeans came via canoe in 1738, when La Vérendrye erected Fort Rouge, the first of many forts and trading posts erected in the area. Known as the Red River Colony, the forts were within striking distance of The Forks because of its significance as an Aboriginal meeting place. The region provided rich food resources along an important transportation route including fish, waterfowl, game and, most importantly, bison, along an inportant transportation route. The Forks was the hub for the fur trade until the 1880s, when grain production became western Canada’s principal industry.