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Exploring the Past in New Manitoba

Archaeology and History Sites in Manitoba

Bannock Point Petroforms

Located within the Whiteshell Provincial Park, the Bannock Point Petroforms are a series of designs laid out in stones on the floor. They take the form of both geometric designs and a series of animals such as snakes, turtles, and a thunderbird. There is still much about these monuments that archaeologists do not understand, although it is believed that they are several centuries old and may have been used in healing ceremonies.

Fort Dufferin

Built only a short distance from the U.S. border, Fort Dufferin started life in 1872. Initially, the fort provided a base for the North American Boundary Commission as they were engaging in drawing up boundary regulations with the U.S. After their work ceased, the North-West Mounted Police took the fort on, using it as their Manitoba headquarters until 1875. It then briefly served as an immigration station before being abandoned in 1879.

Fort Gibraltar

Established in 1809, Fort Gibraltar in Manitoba started out as a North West Company fur trading post. In 1821 the Hudson’s Bay Company absorbed the North West Company and took control of Fort Gibraltar. Since 1925, the government have classed Fort Gibraltar as a National Historic Site. In the 1970s, a timber reconstruction was erected in Whittier Park that now serves as a living history attraction. Reenactors in period costume appear at various special events.

Gimli Glider Museum

In 1983, the Air Canada Flight 143 – better known as the Gimli Glider – ran out of fuel mid-flight and was forced to make an emergency landing in Gimli that captured international press attention. The airplane is now the centrepiece of the Gimli Glider Museum, which also brings together a range of memorabilia from that famous incident and a flight simulator that visitors can use to get an insight into piloting such a vessel.

Inglis Grain Elevators

Recognised as a National Historic Site since 1996, the Inglis Grain Elevators represent a row of five such timber elevators standing along the old Canadian Pacific Railway track. Four of these were built in 1922, the same year that the railway came to Inglis. As so many of these structures have been destroyed across Canada, this collection retains particular importance and its components have been restored to ensure their preservation.

Linear Mounds

The Linear Mounds are a series of three prehistoric burial mounds dating from between circa 900 and 1400 CE. Standing near to the Souris River, they are part of what archaeologists call the Devil’s Lake-Sourisford Burial Complex and which includes hundreds of burial tumuli stretching from North Dakota up across the Plains to Saskatchewan. Since 1973 the government have classified the Linear Mounds as a National Historic Site.

Lower Fort Garry

Built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1830, Lower Fort Garry in St Andrews served as a replacement for the previous Fort Garry, which was heavily damaged in an 1826 flood. It was here that members of the Ojibwa, the Swampy Cree, and the Canadian authorities signed Treaty 1 in 1871. Today, Lower Fort Garry boasts the country’s oldest collection of stone fur trading buildings and is a registered National Historic Site.

Prince of Wales Fort

The Prince of Wales Fort in Churchill stands overlooking Hudson’s Bay. In 1717, a wooden fort was established here, utilised by the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the 1730s a stone fort replaced its timber predecessor. In 1782 French forces seized the fort and partially destroyed it. Many of the ruins nevertheless survive to this day, a reminder of the 18th century history of this area. In 1920 the government declared it a National Historic Site.

The Forks

The Forks is an area of Winnipeg near the confluence of the Red River with the Assiniboine River. Archaeological investigation has revealed evidence of human habitation at the site for 6000 years. From the 18th century European fur traders used it as a base for interactions with indigenous peoples while in the 19th century the railways were established here. Marking this diverse heritage, since 1974 it has been a National Historic Site.

Ukrainian Labour Temple

Run by the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg has been one of the National Historic Sites of Canada since 2009. Ukrainians were among the European migrants who settled in Manitoba during the late 19th and 20th centuries and this labour temple was built to serve as a cultural centre for them. Constructed over the course of 1918 and 1919, the project was spearheaded by the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party.

Museums in Manitoba

Arborg and District Multicultural Heritage Village

Standing on the southern bank of the Icelandic River, the Arborg and District Multicultural Heritage Village showcases rural life in the Interlake region as it existed prior to 1930. A particular focus are the different cultural groups that inhabited the region, reflected in the various buildings that have been brought together at this open-air museum. Many of the structures are furnished with authentic antique material to give them an early 20th century appearance.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Opened to the public in 2014, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights focuses its attentions on various genocides and other human-inflicted examples of mass suffering across the world. Topics covered include the Holocaust and the treatment of Canada’s indigenous communities. Largely financed by the philanthropist Israel Asper, it occupies a state of the art, purpose-built structure. The museum also features a range of special exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Fire Fighters Museum

The Fire Fighters Museum in Winnipeg delves into the important history of the Winnipeg Fire Brigade, stretching back to its formation in 1882. The museum occupies an old fire station, designed by Alexander and William Melville, that was built in 1904. The museum’s collection includes a range of historic equipment and vehicles used in combating fires. This small museum is open on Sundays and is staffed by various retired fire fighters.

Marion and Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada

Opened in 1998, the Marion and Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada in Winnipeg explores the cultural heritage of the Jewish Canadian community in Manitoba. Based at the Asper Jewish Community Campus, the small museum showcases a range of artefacts and photographs. A Holocaust education centre works toward raising awareness of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people. A research library is also of utility to historians and genealogists.

Manitoba Agricultural Museum

Operating since the 1950s, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin focuses attention on the agricultural equipment of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The equipment supplements a range of historic farm buildings which have been moved here from various parts of Manitoba. Its founder, Don Carrothers, was concerned that without efforts at preservation, many historic agricultural vehicles would be destroyed for scrap, thus depriving future Manitobans of their agricultural heritage.

Manitoba Museum

Previously known as the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, The Manitoba Museum occupies a purpose built 1960s building in Winnipeg. The museum has a rich archaeological collection of over 2.5 million objects, primarily from within the province itself. Stretching deep into prehistory, these artefacts help us to learn more about the history of this region. The museum also has exhibits devoted to a science and boasts a functioning planetarium.

Mennonite Heritage Village

Opened in 1967, the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach is an open-air museum devoted to the lives of the Russian Mennonite communities who settled in Manitoba during the late 19th century. Among its outdoor displays are a range of 19th and early 20th century buildings, among them barns, churches, and a windmill. The heritage village also boasts ownership of a segment of the Berlin Wall. Special events take place throughout the year.

New Iceland Heritage Museum

The New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli splits across two separate sites. Its main centre stands on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, from where it helps visitors explore the lives of those Icelandic migrants who settled in Manitoba and other areas of North America. The museum showcases a range of material culture once belonging to these early settlers. Open during the summer months, when various special events also take place here.

St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Museum

The St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Museum in Winnipeg preserves and showcases the cultural heritage of Manitoba’s Ukrainian Catholic community. Launched in 1967, much of its collection comprises material obtained by the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Displays include a range of ceremonial ritual used in Roman Catholic ritual practices as well as a diorama of an early 20th century Ukrainian Catholic church.

Woodlands Pioneer Museum

Visitors to Woodland should be sure to check out the Woodlands Pioneer Museum, established in the 1970s. The small open-air museum brings together six historic buildings moved here from various parts of Manitoba, including a log house, a metal shed, and a church. These are furnished with a range of authentic historical artefacts to give the impression of life in the early 20th century. Also present is a memorial cairn erected in 1998.

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