Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Day 750

     Winnipeg, Canada, lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, a location now known as “The Forks”. The city is named after the nearby Lake Winnipeg. The name comes from the Cree words for muddy water. And that is exactly what the water looks like.

     Tidbit of Information: a confluence occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join together to form a single channel. The opposite is a distributary, a river that branches off from and flows away from the main river, sometimes referred to as a fork.

     French traders built the first fort on this site in 1738. A settlement was later founded by the Selkirk settlers of the Red River Colony in 1812 (commonly referred to as The Red River Settlement), a colonization project set up in 1811 by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk. The nucleus of this settlement was incorporated as the City of Winnipeg on November 8, 1873.

     These French traders married the local Indian women. The children of these mixed marriages were known as Métis. By mid 1800’s the majority of the population at Red River were Métis. 

     Louis David Riel, a Métis, was born October 22, 1844 in the Red River Settlement, in what is now Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Riel was educated by Roman Catholic priests at Saint-Boniface, and the convent of the Grey Nuns. He ultimately became the leader of the Métis people here. In 1869 he led a rebellion that took control of the area. The resulting rebellion led to Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province on July 15, 1870. He led a violent political career and was ultimately hanged for treason on November 16, 1885.  His remains were laid in the churchyard of the Saint-Boniface Cathedral. Today, he is considered the father of Manitoba.

     The church of Saint-Boniface was first built in 1819. The convent, which housed the first group of Grey Nuns to come to the west, was built around 1845.

     The church, now called a cathedral, suffered 4 fires over the years, the last on July 22, 1968. Only the facade, sacristy, and the walls of the old cathedral remained.             Inside the walls and facade of the old cathedral, a new, modern looking one, was built. 

     We walked along the red river and saw a gaggle of geese,

     followed by a gaggle of geese poop.

     Do you know what this is?

     It is a tinder box. On top of the box is a piece of glass, like a magnifying glass, you place tinder ( a small quantity of dry, finely divided fibrous matter such as hemp) in the metal box, and shine the sun through the glass, which ignites the flammable tinder, to start your fire. Tinderboxes fell out of general usage when friction matches were invented.

     Because of the two rivers, the Forks had been a meeting place for hundreds of years. Treaties have been signed here, and rebellions started here. In the center is a circle with these devices around the perimeter. You look through the markings at designated times to see a particular star or constellation. 

Technical Stuff:

Sifton, Manitoba, Ca. to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: 152.5 miles

2 hours 59 minutes

11.2 MPG

Diesel: $1.23 Canadian/liter

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