From its historical and ancient beginnings through to modern times the Winnipeg River has played a significant part in the lives of the people who live near and travel on it. It is the significance of the Winnipeg River, the interaction of the River with the people, and the ultimate impact on the history of Canadian settlement, which is the primary focus of the Winnipeg River Heritage Museum. Part of the impetus for this development is to allow the communities to benefit through economic growth and revitalization that would be associated with a facility of this kind.
Musée Saint-Georges Museum sits on the edge of the Winnipeg River on land donated by one of the first Quebec homesteaders on the river. The museum has been an institution in the community for generations. It is the repository of family memories and community stories. The St-Georges Historical Society Inc. Board of Directors was in the process of redeveloping its exhibits when disaster struck in May 2014. The central block of the museum burned to the ground. A wealth of artifacts were lost in the fire but many were saved.
Today the Winnipeg River Heritage Museum board is planning to rebuild the museum based on the refocused theme that tells a more complete story of the region. This theme is:
Nous, les gens de la rivière!
We are the people of the river.
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The new Winnipeg River Heritage Museum will provide access to the rich cultural history of the area along the Winnipeg River Corridor and tell the story of the people of the Winnipeg River.
For centuries the Winnipeg River was an important east-west trade and travel route, first for the First Nations and later the fur trade. It was a dangerous route with fast moving water and huge waterfalls to portage around. Its wild beauty, rich resources and well established travel route, made the Winnipeg River a natural place for communities to put down roots. Cree and Ojibway, and later the employees of fur trading families like the La Vérendryes, made the Winnipeg River their home. The river became one of just a few major routes into what would eventually become Manitoba.
The Winnipeg River is widely recognized and sought for its historic significance and attractions and strives to become a Regional Destination Attraction as one of Canada’s Heart Beats. Community pride in our heritage fuels a collective passion to promote the area and its diverse history of how life developed along the Winnipeg River through its rich story telling including photos, exhibits, and interactive programming.
The Winnipeg River has a significant, and often unsung, place in the story of Manitoba.
Trade posts such as Fort Bas de la rivière, Fort Maurepas and Fort Alexander drew adventurous Easterners and Europeans. Missionaries like Father Joachim Allard stationed at Fort Alexander, encouraged Quebec families to come settle here on “the most picturesque spot on the Winnipeg River,” which would become Saint-Georges. As communities grew along the Winnipeg River, the people enjoyed the natural resources it had to offer. Fishing and forestry became staples along with farming.
The Winnipeg River played a pivotal role in the settlement of the western part of Canada. Prior to the “fur trade” and the arrival of the European settlers, the Winnipeg River was a key component to the travel and commerce of the Aboriginal peoples who populated the areas around the River and stretching to the shores of Lake Winnipeg and farther to the west, the south and the north. It also brought the peoples of north western Ontario in contact with the people of Lake Winnipeg, just as in later years it was to become the primary fur trade to and from the East, providing access to the shores of Lake Winnipeg and the land beyond in all directions.
Thank you for your generous support:
- Gil Hallgrimson, President
- Mike Boulet, Past President
- Laurette Sundstrom, Vice-President
- Diane Dubé, Treasurer
- Nicki Blatz, Secretary
- Daniel Boulet
- David Parker
- Linda Desrosiers
- Margie Bonekamp
- Ken Courchene