Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Forks and Riel House NHS

29 July 2016

Today we visited "The Forks National Historic Site" in downtown Winnipeg and the Riel House NHS.

The Forks is steeped in 6,000 years of history. It is here that the Red and Assiniboine Rivers  meet known as the gathering place for  peoples. Today it is a bustling central market with many shops, restaurants, cafes,skate park, children's play area, water park and children's museum. You can walk the many trails, cross the pedestrian bridge to South Point park, take a boat cruise on the river and ride the elevator for a spectacular view of Winnipeg.

In the winter it transforms into a winter wonderland with ice skating on the Red River. It is also home to the Arctic Glacier Winter Park featuring toboggan runs, snow sculptures,snowboard park, furniture made out of snow etc.

The Riel House commemorates the life of Metis leader, Louis Riel.politician, activist and child of the Red River Settlement. He led the province of Manitoba into Canadian Confederation while fighting to preserve the rights and culture of the Metis people. He organized a military resistance that escalated into the North-West Rebellion of 1885 which ended in his arrest for treason and hanging on the order of Prime Minister MacDonald.

The site of the house today is only 0.8 hectares from the original 97 hectares. The farm stretched from the Red River to the Seine River. The house today is presented as it was in 1886 during a mourning  period a few months after his death. It was here in 1885 that his body was returned to his family and lay in state for two days.

St Norbert PHS,Fort Dufferin,Pembina and Gingras Trading Post

28 July 2016

On our way to Fort Dufferin in Emerson on the border with North Dakota, we stopped at St Norbert Heritage Park in Winnipeg containing restored homes and some in the process representative of post 1870 era of the Metis settlement.


St Norbert Plaque

Red River

At one time the land was occupied by Aboriginal peoples evolving into a French speaking Metis settlement, then a French Canadian Agricultural community of the pre WW I era. The park sits on the junction of the LaSalle and Red Rivers.

The Bohemier House(1883) which has been restored was the home of Benjamin Bohemier (1848-1926) and his wife Marie Louise and occupied by descendents for 84 years. In 1973, the land it stood on was purchased to construct an apartment building. It was then moved to the present location.

Bohemier House

The Turenne House built in 1871 by Joseph Turenne.  It was located  on the west bank of the Red River north of the convent and parish church. Turenne and his family lived in the home with the surviving 5 of 8 children for almost 10 years. After the family moved to St Boniface in 1882, the house was occupied by newcomers and the Grey Nuns. The house was occupied until 1971 and restoration completed in 1986.

Turenne House

Two homes are being restored on the site..Delorme and Henderson.

Restoration in Progress

We then drove down to Emerson, MB to visit site of Fort Dufferin located on the west bank of the Red River. During 1873 it became a NWMP command post. Last used as a barracks during the winter of 1874-75 it then became home to Mennonite settlers until they could move onto their homesteads. In the mid 1880's it was used as a quarantine station for livestock imported through the customs station. Few buildings remain. The site is now a memorial to NWMP. No battles fought here as it was a staging area.

Fort Dufferin Site



We then drove across the border to Pembina and Walhalla. At Pembina we found only a marker for the fort and in Walhalla we visited the Gingras Trading Post in service from 1843-1873. The store served the Metis of the northern Red River Valley. It was at his store that the Dakota Territory was organized. Gingras supported the Metis separatist movement in Canada and when that failed, Riel who was their leader sought protection from Gingras.

Pembina Visitor Center

Fort Marker

Entrance to Gingras Trading Post


Trading Store


Returning back to Manitoba, we stopped at the Visitor Center.

Map of Trans Canada Trail

Museum of Manitoba

27 July 2016

After visiting Forts Gibraltar and Douglas we visited the Museum of Manitoba. This is the largest museum in Winnipeg. The museum features extensive collections of artifacts in human and natural history in some 9 galleries.We specifically wanted to view the Hudson Bay Company and Nonsuch exhibits.

Map of Museum

The HBC gallery tells the story of one of the oldest commercial businesses still in existence and its impact on Canadian History. It tells the stories of the people who worked in the fur trade, the quest for the North West Passage and the establishment of the trading empire stretching from Labrador to Vancouver Island.

Bison Hunt

About the Red River Cabin

Red River Cabin

La Verendrye Exhibit

Red River Cart

First Nations Tepee

Working the Fields

Harvesting the Grain

HBC Trade Goods

HBC Trade Goods

Caribou Inuit Outfit

York Boat

The Nonsuch (a 1650 ketch) sailed into Hudson Bay in 1668 in the first trading voyage for what was to become the Hudson Bay Company two years later. The name means "none such" ..unequalled. It was originally built as a merchant ship and latera Royal Navy ketch. Because her size was small she could be sailed up river after arriving in Hudson and James Bays.

On display is the replica crafted from tools and materials similar to the 17th century construction. When completed in 1970, she was placed on the M.V. Halifax City and carried to Canada. The Nonsuch then sailed down the Atlantic Coast, through the Great Lakes and was placed on a semitrailer and taken to Seattle  for a voyage down the Pacific Coast. It was then presented to the citizens of Canada and placed on permanent display at the Museum after a 90ft gallery was built to house it.

Nonsuch Voyage Map

Replica of Nonsuch

John on Board

Also featured in the Museum is a moving tribute to Terry Fox. I wrote about him in a previous blog when we visited his memorial in Thunder Bay. The traveling exhibit titled "Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada", tells of his incredible story and his determination to run across Canada beginning in Newfoundland and ending in British Columbia. Unfortunately, while in Thunder Bay his cancer returned and his life cut short. His legacy lives on in the Terry Fox runs that have raised money for the cure and his inspiration.

Terry Fox