Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 56: Winnipeg, MB

Location: Winnipeg, MB

Up at 10:30 am, I handled business until 2:30 pm, then set out to check the St. Andrew's Rectory National Historic Site and Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.

I travelled north out of Winnipeg, along the Red River.

The first stop was the St. Andrew's Rectory National Historic Site, which I actually found to be a bit boring. Basically in the 1820s, Christians moved in to teach their ways to the trading post people and first nations folks. This church burnt down, and was replaced by the stone rectory in 1854. It was one of the first stone houses built along Red River, which became the architectural trend for the area. Oh, there was a harmonium which was used until 1888.

I made a stop at the St. Andrews Dam where boaters could be seen driving up the post-dam rapids trying to catch fish. I found it interesting was that the water was running North, which goes against my conventional wisdom. But then I remembered that when I drove from Thunder bay to Winnipeg, I passed the line of the Artic Watershed

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site was more interesting. They had a ton of employees, all of whom were expected to act as if they were from the days when the fort was build. Some pulled it off in the laid back style I like, others were too laid back or too over the top.

Lower Fort Garry's buildings were completed in the 1840s, and are one of the finest collections of early stone buildings in Western Canada.

Its central purpose was to support the trade of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Later the buildings served as training grounds for North-West Mounted Police, a provincial penitentiary, and a mental health facility.

Apparently, the warehouse of the 1800's included plastic mannequins and wooden guns. :)

What I find most striking is the impact the fur trade had on aboriginal people. Two hundred years ago, this land belonged to them... Evidence has shown they were the people of the land as far back as 1240 AD. In Edmonton, I was chatting with Arlo Maverick & Mother Peace about the new evidence that has surfaced regarding the "taking the native out of the children" practice enforced by schools a hundred years ago. It leaves me conflicted and wishing there was more going on to encourage the growth of the first nation cultures. Why should they have to adapt to us?

Of course, any trading post had a store. They couldn't have liquor in the store, so out back is where the rum, gin, brandy, port and sherry was stored.

And of course, any trading post also had a furloft.

Around 6 pm, I met up with my friend Dave, who was umpiring a couple ball games. I tagged along and managed to sub on with one of the teams, 'Beer Garden Bound', for two games. We won the first 3-0, and lost the second 7-5 despite my two out last inning RBI double. :)

Afterwards we headed to this prairie restaurant called Earl's, which is renown for their beautiful lady employees. I had some sushi and a few cocktails with Dave, Cheryl, Johnny, Steven, Matt and Alanna. It was nice. I forgot my camera though.

Sleep now. Thunder Bay tomorrow...


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