The Voyageurs of the North West Company
St. Boniface – sometimes called the French Quarter of Winnipeg – boasts the largest French speaking community West of the Province of Quebec. This community celebrates the spirit of "joie de vivre" all year round and each February with the Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada’s largest winter festival. One of the City’s main attractions is Fort Gibraltar (the site of the exquisite snow sculptures during the Festival).
A key characteristic of the early 19th century fur-trading era was the intense competition between the Hudson's Bay Company (based in London, England with a distinctly English culture) and the North West Company (based in Montreal with a cultural mix of French, Scottish and native).
The voyageurs of the North West Company were a highly mobile group of fur traders. The sound of their paddles and their songs echoed from the banks of rivers and lakes from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. They were the backbone of the fur-trading endeavour by the NWC; expert woodsmen, canoe handlers and hunters with 150 years of North American experience resulting in a high level of cultural integration with native groups. They were widely respected for their skills and hard work but even better known for their "joie de vivre" - the capacity to enjoy life to the fullest even under conditions of extreme hardship.
The North West Company traded from temporary encampments in the forks region that later became Winnipeg up until 1809 when it built Fort Gibraltar. This fort, erected right under the nose of the Hudson's Bay Company's continental headquarters (Fort Douglas) proved to be to the HBC, for the following decade, an unbearable irritant and led to many conflicts between the British population of the Red River valley and the NWC employees (mostly French-Canadians). Fort Gibraltar was captured March 17th, 1816 and destroyed shortly thereafter by Colin Robertson, NWC ex-employee and leader of the Selkirk Colony (Lord Selkirk was a major shareholder of the HBC). The capture was deemed illegal by British authorities, and the North West Company was given permission to rebuild it in 1817.
At the height of the fur-trading era, the North West Company had 97 trading posts compared to the 84 in Manitoba that flew the Hudson's Bay Company standard. The two rival companies merged March 26, 1821 under the name of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Fort Gibraltar has been a gathering place since 1809 make your special event part of our history. We offer an unexpected, beautiful setting for a unique and inspired wedding that is personally yours.Situated on the banks of the Red River, Fort Gibraltar’s natural beauty will take you back 200 years to the period of the voyageurs and the fur trade in the Northwest.Indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions are made even more special with historical music and entertainment options.Beautiful tent weddings set up on our park like grounds on the banks of the RedRiver with one of the best views of Downtown Winnipeg.
Fort Gibraltar is the perfect setting for your perfect day, offering an unexpected, beautiful setting for a unique and inspired wedding that is personally yours. Indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions are made even more special with historical music and entertainment options, and the extraordinary tastes of Gibraltar Dining Corporation