Lower Fort Garry has been the learning piece of history for every Canadian and on July 7th the Filipino Journal hosted our “bagong dating” (new immigrants) to the beginnings of Manitoba history.
This historic place, now called as Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada, is a must see for everyone, thanks to the National Parks and National Historic Sites which protect the country’s national and cultural treasures.
Since its construction started in 1830 and its completion in 1840s, the Lower Fort Garry had been the centre of trade of the Hudson’s Bay Company. After moving from the Forks where the original Fort Garry once stood, Lower Fort Garry had become an essential supply and distribution centre for fur and trade goods.
Industrial complex was in use during the 1860’s Thus, Lower Fort Garry’s thriving agricultural and industrial production provided many of the materials needed in the fur trade. This is also the site where the treaty was made between the chiefs and representatives of the Aboriginal people and the Crown.
Part of the this vast historic site, the Big House was the dwelling for the Hudson`s Bay Company`s officers or business executives. It remains today as one of the more elegant examples of such a house and is considered the oldest building in the complex.
Our tour of Lower Fort Garry started by the Fur Loft with Yzah Macalintal dressed in 1830’s period costumes, a 2nd year UBC student working at Lower Fort Garry who’s part of a federal student work employment program.
Each part of the site has costumed tour guides and they talk in the present tense as if it were 1850’s when people came and engaged in business at Lower Fort Garry. The group visited the Farm Manager’s house, Blacksmith Shop, the Retail Store/Museum where you can still find those goods sold during those years; followed by looking at the Men’s House which served as the residence for the laborers and tradesmen who came from other communities and abroad.
“This is a great project which the Filipino Journal has embarked for it is the best way to introduce the new comers to Canadian history,” Larry Vickar, president and CEO of Vickar Autogroup, one of the event sponsors, said during the tour with his wife, Tova Vickar. Larry was invited to have a tea with the lady of the house. The guide even played a special piano piece for Larry and Tova, It seems that the day is not enough to grasp the historical significance of the Lower Fort Garry. As one of the new comers said: “Thank you po, for letting us know the history of Winnipeg, and I will not forget this day because I have gone to this historic place. Parang “Fort Santiago.”