OTD: Manitoba’s Fort Garry hosts first council meeting

On today’s date in 1835, the first meeting of the council of Assiniboia was held at Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Man.

The initial meeting was the first effort to provide governance over Rupert’s Land—an area owned by the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) but granted to Lord Selkirk’s settlers—which in the mid-1830s stretched across most of what is now central Canada.

While both Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy were represented on the council along with Francophone, Metis and Anglophone-Metis (or “country borns,” as they were known at the time), the Council of Assiniboia wasn’t the responsible government its members had hoped for. There were no elections, and most members of council were also doing business with the HBC.

The council was eventually abandoned and replaced by the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia following the Red River Rebellion, which was spurred on on by Louis Riel and the Metis.

1938 FORT GARRY STAMP

In 1938, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) featured Fort Garry on a 20-cent stamp (Scott #243) from the Pictorial Issue. The stamp depicts the famed fort standing proudly among some trees and shrubbery. It’s bordered on all sides with the left and right sides each holding a column of six maple leaves.

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