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Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada

Wooden Plough

Wooden plough held in profile view by a historical interpreter in period dress.  This plough, made by the stonemason Duncan McRae, may be one of the oldest still in existence in Western Canada.
© Parks Canada

Maker: Duncan McRae
Iron and Wood
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

Location: Warehouse, First Floor

This wooden plough with an iron ploughshare, bridle, and struts, was made by local stonemason Duncan McRae. Stonemasons were in high demand in the early days of the Red River Settlement: McRae was hired to work on the construction of Lower Fort Garry and other significant buildings in area, such as St. Andrew’s Church and Rectory. Alexander Lillie, the original owner of the plough, was the first farm manager at Lower Fort Garry. The plough was among the first to be made at the Fort, and it is likely one of the oldest surviving ploughs in Western Canada.

Around the mid-19th century this type of ox- or horse-drawn plough was widely used in the Red River Settlement. Ploughs like this were pulled through farmers’ fields in long straight lines, creating ridges and furrows in the earth: this process loosened and turned up nutrient rich soil in preparation for seeding the crops.

Site Collections Staff conduct regular cleaning and inspections of the plough to ensure its continued preservation.