Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site officially opens for the 2023 visitor season on May 23

News release

Relive history this summer with immersive programming and activities for the whole family

May 23, 2023             Treaty No. 1 Territory, St. Andrews, MB          Parks Canada

The vast network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of stories from coast to coast to coast.

Many Manitobans have fond memories of visiting Lower Fort Gary National Historic Site (Lower Fort Garry) as a child on a school field trip or with their family. Parks Canada invites visitors to rediscover Lower Fort Garry, bring someone new, or experience it for the first time when the summer season kicks off on May 23, 2023.  

A Walk Through History, the fort’s staple offering, takes visitors back to the booming 1850s fur trade era with costumed interpreters, historical demonstrations, artifacts, and storytelling across the site. Explore the structures at Gabeshiwin, including a birch bark wigwam and buffalo hide tipi, before learning about the events that lead to the creation of Treaty No. 1 - the first of the numbered treaties - signed at Lower Fort Garry in 1871.

While the sparks fly at the blacksmith shop (a nostalgic favourite), hear tales about the fort’s historic tradespeople that helped to build the Tyndall Stone walls and other structures that make this a historic site.

Next, pop into the fur loft to feel the pelts tripsmen would have brought to the Hudson’s Bay Company after travelling for months at a time. Imagine what the journey might have been like navigating the York Boat on display, portaging over rivers to your destination.

End your adventure with a bang in the warehouse. With the help of an interpreter, put together the pieces of historic firearms that served the various troupes, including the West Mounted Police, who stayed and trained at Lower Fort Garry.

Specialized hands-on activities, including candle making, bannock baking, and blacksmithing, will immerse visitors further into the varied and fascinating history of this cultural treasure.

National historic sites reflect the rich and varied heritage of Canada and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about its diverse history. At Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, visitors can learn more about the Indigenous peoples who traded, worked, and lived near the fort. This summer, Parks Canada is proud to host a summer-long Knowledge Sharing series at Gabeshiwin to connect visitors to stories, culture, and history from an Indigenous perspective, including traditional planting methods, ceremonial teachings and protocol, singing, and drumming.

To make the most of their Parks Canada experience, visitors are asked to plan their trip in advance, by visiting the Parks Canada website and signing up for the e-newsletter, to be among the first to find out about new and noteworthy events and activities, special offers, trip planning ideas and much more – all delivered directly to their inboxes! Visitors can also download the Parks Canada app, listen to Parks Canada’s new podcast ReCollections, and follow Parks Canada on social media for destination inspiration and to help plan their perfect visit.


Additional multimedia

Left image: From blacksmithing to bannock making, there are plenty of immersive experiences at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site this summer. Photo: Parks Canada / Right image: Storytelling plays a key role in recounting the varied history of this treasured cultural place. Photo: Parks Canada
Gather at Gabeshiwin to learn more about Indigenous history, perspectives, and stories relevant to the site where Treaty No. 1 was made. Photo: Parks Canada


“As we near summertime, I encourage everyone to connect with nature and culture and make lasting memories at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. National historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer where Canadians and visitors to Canada can explore nature and learn about Canada’s history. The vast network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada has something for everyone to enjoy.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“The visitor season coming into full swing at Parks Canada’s administered places is always an exciting time of year. The Parks Canada team works extremely hard to provide visitors with high quality and meaningful experiences across the country. We look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors to Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site to create lasting memories!

Ron Hallman
President & Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada 

Quick facts

  • Just north of Winnipeg, on the banks of the Red River, Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site’s original 1830s buildings and limestone walls stand as a bastion of history. From hosting the signing of the first of the Numbered Treaties to serving as a Hudson's Bay Company stronghold to being the first training base for the North West Mounted Police, Lower Fort Garry has had a varied and fascinating history.

  • The fur loft, men’s house, and Ross cottage will be open for the 2023 season after a year-long restoration effort. The big house restoration will be ongoing through the early portion of the season but should be open to the public before the end of summer.

  • As part of Parks Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Open Doors Program, Parks Canada and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) are proud to offer free access to Lower Fort Garry to MMF citizens. Parks Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Open Doors Program provides ease of access, by removing entry fees, to people who have traditional ties with Parks Canada sites as a way of encouraging their reconnection to these heritage places.

  • In celebration of diversity, Parks Canada continues to offer free admission to new Canadian citizens for one year through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Canoo mobile app. Visiting Parks Canada’s national heritage places is a great way for Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn more about our environment and heritage.

  • Want the ultimate ticket to nature, history, and adventure? The Parks Canada Discovery Pass provides unlimited admission for a full year to over 80 destinations across the country. Visitors can purchase their Parks Canada Discovery Passes online, on-site, and at partner retailer locations across the country.  

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary     
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Carly Walsh
Public Relations and Communications Officer     
Parks Canada

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