Erik Nitsche: Lower Fort Garry/Manitoba
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Much of the early history of Canada is based on the exploits of the fur trappers and traders who explored and settled the Canadian frontier. Perhaps the most famous of the fur trading companies was the Hudson Bay Company. Not only did the Hudson Bay Company trade for and process furs for shipment back to England, but frequently financed the establishment of forts at many strategic locations to protect the waterways used to ship the furs to the York factory on Hudson Bay. One such fort was Fort Garry which was built at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in 1821 on the site of the present day city of Winnipeg. However, several years later a great flood severely damaged the fort. Consequently, the fort was rebuilt on the Red river nineteen miles from the original site and renamed Lower Fort Garry. This new fort became an important trading center for supplying goods to northern fur trading posts and packing furs for shipment to the York Factory. The fort, constructed from large blocks of limestone, also provided protection from the threat of unfriendly Indians and other enemies. In the 1840s British troops were posted at Lower Fort Garry as a precaution against the threat of American expansion. As strategic as Lower Fort Garry was, there was never a battle fought at the fort. Today, the Lower Fort Garry is a National Historic Park and has been reconstructed.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Canada 34¢ Fort Lower Garry stamp issued June 28, 1985.
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