History of Fort Gibraltar

The fort was built at its original location, the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, in order for the Northwest Company (NWC) to better control the region’s pemmican traffic. Pemmican, a mix of dried bison meat and bison lard, was the voyageurs’ major source of food and energy during their long trips.

The first Fort Gibraltar, built in 1810 by a team of twelve men, was surrounded by an 18-foot high palisade and was comprised of approximately twelve buildings. Guns could also be mounted on top of the walls to control the traffic on the rivers.

The fort was used as the NWC’s headquarters for the pemmican traffic of the Red, Qu’Appelle and Assiniboine rivers as well as for the company’s resistance against the HBC’s colonisation of the region. The NWC took this colonisation as a serious threat to the company’s profits.

Following the ‘Pemmican Proclamation’, the NWC’s actions towards the Selkirk settlers became more aggressive and the hostilities between the two companies grew in intensity. Things were so bad that in 1816 the HBC went as far as tearing down the original version of Fort Gibraltar.

Shortly thereafter, the NWC rebuilt Fort Gibraltar closer to the fork of the two rivers. The fort was then renamed Fort Garry after the amalgamation of the NWC and HBC.

The Modern Fort

During the latter part of the 1970s, Festival du Voyageur’s administrators starting dreaming of building permanents facilities in Whittier Park, where they planned to relocate the winter festival. Provencher Park, the location that was being used for the festival, had become too small and could no longer accommodate the growing number of festival-goers.

The dream became reality in 1977 when construction began on a log cabin in Whittier Park. The cabin would eventually be known as the ‘Maison Chaboillez’ and was the first of many construction projects that would eventually be completed in the park.

Here is a list of the major construction projects undertaken by the Festival du Voyageur in the area where Fort Gibraltar stands today:
  • 1977

    FDV builds the ‘Maison Chaboillez’ and reconstructs an old log cabin, originally built 100 years before, known today as the ‘Winterers’ Cabin’.

  • 1978

    Another log cabin is erected; however this one is destroyed by vandals during the following winter.

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The fort was built at its original location, the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, in order for the Northwest Company (NWC) to better control the region’s pemmican traffic. Pemmican, a mix of dried bison meat and bison lard, was the voyageurs’ major source of food and energy during their long trips.

The first Fort Gibraltar, built in 1810 by a team of twelve men, was surrounded by an 18-foot high palisade and was comprised of approximately twelve buildings. Guns could also be mounted on top of the walls to control the traffic on the rivers.

The fort was used as the NWC’s headquarters for the pemmican traffic of the Red, Qu’Appelle and Assiniboine rivers as well as for the company’s resistance against the HBC’s colonisation of the region. The NWC took this colonisation as a serious threat to the company’s profits.

Following the ‘Pemmican Proclamation’, the NWC’s actions towards the Selkirk settlers became more aggressive and the hostilities between the two companies grew in intensity. Things were so bad that in 1816 the HBC went as far as tearing down the original version of Fort Gibraltar.

Shortly thereafter, the NWC rebuilt Fort Gibraltar closer to the fork of the two rivers. The fort was then renamed Fort Garry after the amalgamation of the NWC and HBC.

The Modern Fort

During the latter part of the 1970s, Festival du Voyageur’s administrators starting dreaming of building permanents facilities in Whittier Park, where they planned to relocate the winter festival. Provencher Park, the location that was being used for the festival, had become too small and could no longer accommodate the growing number of festival-goers.

The dream became reality in 1977 when construction began on a log cabin in Whittier Park. The cabin would eventually be known as the ‘Maison Chaboillez’ and was the first of many construction projects that would eventually be completed in the park.

Here is a list of the major construction projects undertaken by the Festival du Voyageur in the area where Fort Gibraltar stands today:
  • 1977

    FDV builds the ‘Maison Chaboillez’ and reconstructs an old log cabin, originally built 100 years before, known today as the ‘Winterers’ Cabin’.

  • 1978

    Another log cabin is erected; however this one is destroyed by vandals during the following winter.

1980 (fall)

Two more buildings are constructed, those known as the ‘Trading Post’ and the ‘Workshop’.

1982

Construction is completed on the cabin that will house the forge.

 

1983

A Katimavik project is approved for the construction of the palisade. With 178 person-hours from Katimavik and a significant grant from Destination Manitoba, FDV can begin working on the walls in June of 1983.

1985 (spring)

The construction of the palisade, the towers and the doors are completed.

 

1998

One more log cabin in build inside the fort and will eventually be known as the ‘Warehouse’.

2001

Construction of the Maison du Bourgeois is under way in February and the doors officially open in October of the same year.

 

2013

Fort Gibraltar’s walls and three of its cabins (the trading post, the workshop, the winterers’ cabin and Maison Chaboillez) have deteriorated and are in dire need of repair. Thanks to financial support from the provincial and federal governments, Festival du Voyageur is able to rebuild the walls and repair the cabins. Construction began on the walls in March and ended in October. As for the cabins, they should be ready in time for Festival du Voyageur 2014.

 
 

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