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.

Fort Garry was featured on a 1938 20-cents Canadian stamp, Scott No. 243, from the Pictorial Issue, which was issued on June 15. It’s reddish-brown and has 12 perforations, with the famed fort standing proudly among some trees and shrubbery. The stamp is bordered on all sides, with the left and right sides each holding a column of six maple leafs.

The initial Assiniboia meeting was the first effort to provide governance over Rupert’s Land — land 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. But while both Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy were represented on the council along with Francophone, Metis and Anglophone-Metis (or “countryborns”, 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 after the Red River Rebellion, brought on by Louis Riel and the Metis.

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