Battle of Seven Oaks National Historic Site of Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba
General view of the monument and plaque at the site of the Battle of Seven Oaks, 1965. (© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1965.)
General view
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1965.)
Address : 1611 Main Street at Rupertsland Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1920-01-30
Dates:
  • 1816 to 1816 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Cuthbert Grant  (Person)
  • Lord Selkirk  (Person)
  • Governor Robert Semple  (Person)
  • Hudson’s Bay Company  (Organization)
  • North West Company  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Battle of Seven Oaks  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2009-CED-SDC-027
DFRP Number: 12699 00

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  1611 Main Street at Rupertsland Boulevard, Manitoba

Here at the Frog Plain, on June 19, 1816, Robert Semple, Governor of the Red River Settlement, and about 26 men confronted a North West Company brigade from the Assiniboine River, led by the young Métis clerk, Cuthbert Grant. The Métis saw the Settlement as a threat to their way of life; Semple, brave but obstinate, was prepared to insist on his authority as Governor. Tempers flared, a shot was fired, and Semple and twenty of his men were cut down. Regardless of what Grant's plan had originally been, he was now committee to action, and went on to capture Fort Douglas, headquarters of the Settlement.

Description of Historic Place

The Battle of Seven Oaks National Historic Site of Canada is located in the urban setting of Winnipeg Manitoba, at the intersection of Main Street and Rupert’s Land Boulevard. The Battle of Seven Oaks occured near this location, on June 19 1816, between a group of Métis and a group of Red River Settlers. There are no known extant remains of the battle; however, in 1951, a plaque was put by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada on the monument erected by the Manitoba Historical Society near the 1816 site. The designation refers to the plot of land, located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Rupert’s Land Boulevard in the City of Winnipeg.

Heritage Value

The site of the Battle of Seven Oaks was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1920 because: on 19 June 1816, Robert Semple, Governor of the Red River colony, and about 26 men confronted a North West Company brigade, led by Cuthbert Grant. Semple and 20 of his men were killed; the Battle of Seven Oaks represents conflict between two different ways of life, that of the Métis and the Red River Settlers, in the history of the settlement of the Canadian west.

The Battle of Seven Oaks took place on June 19, 1816 north of the forks of the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers. It was a violent encounter between a party of Métis led by Cuthbert Grant and a group of Hudson’s Bay Company men and Selkirk settlers led by Governor Robert Semple. This battle was the culmination of a conflict between the Montréal-based North West Company and the London-based Hudson’s Bay Company, for control of the fur trade in the Northwest. Furthering the conflict was Lord Selkirk’s attempt to establish an agricultural colony at Red River, which the Métis saw as a threat to their traditional way of life. The battle began after negotiations over the pemmican supply failed, resulting in the deaths of Semple and 20 of his men. Grant, having suffered only one casualty, went on to take Fort Douglas and to expel the settlers from the region. Although the opposing companies would eventually merge, this event helped create a national consciousness for the Métis.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes 1920, 2009.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: its urban setting, located within the city of Winnipeg north of the forks of the Red River and the Assiniboine River; its siting, on the northeast corner of Main Street and Rupert’s Land Boulevard, encompassing the monument constructed by the Manitoba Historical Society which bears the Historic Sites and Monuments Board plaque; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent; the viewscapes from the site across the Red River.