Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fort Alexander, Winnipeg River

Sunday 8th July, 1827

Stared at 6am and passed several high limestone cliffs. Took breakfast on a low sandy shore where, in small still waters there was abundance of Utricularia in blossom.

Remained on shore an hour and then proceeded for 12 or 14 miles when a stay was made for changing linen [to smarten up for arrival at the Fort].

Arrived at the establishment on the River Winnipeg (Fort Alexander), the Riviera of the voyageurs. We were welcomed there by Mr John McDonald, a brother of the person who crossed the Rocky Mountains last autumn, on his way to Canada [what was then known as Upper Canada and today is the Niagara/Great Lakes area]. Became acquainted with the Rev Mr Picard [Jean-Luc?] of the Roman Catholic Mission at Red River, on his way to Canada.
Wikipedia tells us - Fort Alexander is a community in Manitoba, Canada, located on the Sagkeeng First Nation, on the south bank of the Winnipeg River. The Sagkeeng area, or the mouth of the Winnipeg River, was originally settled with native camps used for fishing, hunting, and trade. During the fur trade era, La Vérendrye built a trading post, named Fort Maurepas, on the north side of the river; this post was abandoned near the end of the French period. In the year 1792, a clerk for the North West Company, Toussaint Lesieur, built a post on the south side, which became an important provisioning post for the canoe brigades. Bags of pemmican, brought from the North West Company's posts on the upper Assiniboine, were stored here and taken as needed by the canoe brigades passing between Grand Portage (later, Fort William) and the far northwest. This post was usually referred to as Bas de la Rivière, because of its location at the bottom of Winnipeg River, and it seems to have functioned as the capital of the Company's Lake Winnipeg district. The Hudson's Bay Company operated its own post here for a few years between 1795 and 1801. In 1807, the North West Company partner Alexander Mackay rebuilt the post on a nearby site. Beginning in 1808, the new post was known as Fort Alexander. After the Northwest and Hudson's Bay Companies merged in 1821, Fort Alexander was operated as a trading post for the natives in the region.

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