In the early 19th century there was intense competition in the fur trading business in Western Canada between the London-based Hudson’s Bay Company and the Montreal-based North West Company.
In order to compete with the Hudson’s Bay Company, the North West Company built Fort Gibraltar at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River in Manitoba in 1809. This trading post, created in direct competition to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Douglas, resulted in much conflict and strife between the British of the HBC and the French-Canadians, Scottish and First Nations peoples of the NWC.
Fort Gibraltar was captured and destroyed in 1816, rebuilt a year later and destroyed by the Red River flood in 1852. Rebuilt in Saint-Boniface across the river from its original site in 1978, today the site honors the importance of the fur trade from the early 19th century and its influence in shaping the Red River Valley and Manitoba.
Tours around Fort Gibraltar, which features characters living their lives like it was 1815, are available Monday through Friday from mid-May through late June, and Wednesday through Sunday from early July through late August. Admission is free on Canada Day (July 1). While Fort Gibraltar offers tours during the summer, the site is available year-round for meetings, weddings, banquets and more.
Fort Gibraltar is operated by Festival du Voyageur, a community non-profit whose mission is to promote joie de vivre (joy of living) and extend the reach of the French language and culture that helped shape the region.