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The Forks National Historic Site of Canada

Variety Heritage Adventure Park Map

The Fur Trade

Children playing in the trade store and bastion in the Fur Trade zone of the Variety Heritage Adventure Park Visit the trade store or climb into the bastion in the Fur Trade area!
© Parks Canada

Fun Stuff to Try!

  • Take a trip in a Hudson’s Bay Company York boat
  • Scale the walls of Fort Gibraltar I
  • Visit the North West Company trade store and learn the value of a beaver pelt!

Did You Know?

The Forks was given its modern name by an explorer called La Vérendrye in 1737. He saw the spot where the Assiniboine River met the Red River, and thought it was one river splitting into two, so he called it La Fourche (The Fork)!

The first Europeans to arrive at The Forks were explorers in the 1700s. As they searched for a passage to Asia, they followed the land and water routes already in use by Aboriginal people. The European travellers noticed that Canada had lots of something that was in high demand back home: furry animals, especially the beaver. Their fur was used to make fashionable top hats.

Beginning in 1738 and spanning over 100 years, 4 different fur trading posts were built at The Forks: Fort Rouge, Fort Gibraltar I, Fort Gibraltar II (renamed Fort Garry), and Upper Fort Garry.

The first Fort Gibraltar was built on this very spot in 1810 by the North West Company (NWC). It was an important place for Aboriginal and European traders: all kinds of goods and supplies came through this post on their way across the continent. The post had a tall wooden fence; all of the buildings were made of wood, including two houses, two stores, an icehouse (for storing meat), a watch-tower, and more.

What happened to the Fort? In March of 1816, Fort Gibraltar I was captured and destroyed by men working for the rival Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The NWC replaced it with a new Fort Gibraltar, closer to the junction of the two rivers. In 1821, this fort was renamed Fort Garry when the two companies joined forces as the HBC. Fort Garry was badly damaged by the 1826 flood—the largest flood in recorded history.

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Adventure Zones: The First Peoples | The Fur Trade | The Métis | The Settlers 
The Iron Horse | The French Quarter | The Metropolis