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Upper Fort Garry Gate

130 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/06/13

Contextual view, from the northwest, of Upper Fort Garry Gate, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Contextual View
View, from the northeast, of Upper Fort Garry Gate, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Contextual view, from the southeast, of Upper Fort Garry Gate, and in the background of the Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Contextual View

Other Name(s)

Upper Fort Garry Gate
Governor's Gate
Porte de Gouverneur

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1853/01/01 to 1853/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Upper Fort Garry Gate is a multi-level shell structure, built of limestone and wood in 1853, with a reconstructed wooden section recalling the placement of the original fort walls. The site is located in downtown Winnipeg near the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The City of Winnipeg's designation applies to the gate on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Upper Fort Garry Gate, also called the Governor's Gate, is one of the few nineteenth-century structures that remain in Winnipeg to recall the city's earliest period of commercial development. The gate is a remnant of a large Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) complex, Upper Fort Garry, strategically situated on major river transport routes and for several decades in the 1800s the economic, political and social centre of the Red River Settlement. Within its walls were the facilities and personnel that supported the HBC's vast inland fur trade and the work of the territorial government. In 1869-70, as the headquarters of Louis Riel's provisional government, the fort also became the focus of several pivotal events in the course of the Red River Rebellion that coincided with the territory's transfer to Canada. The stone and wood gate, a shell structure added to the fort's northwest side near the Governor's House during a major expansion, is vernacular in style with hints of Norman and Italian Renaissance influences in its battlements, large archway and detailing. Designed by HBC employee Alexander Hunter Murray, the gate displays the grandiosity and dignity that befitted its occasional ceremonial role and distinguished it from the fort's other entrances and bastions. After 1870, Upper Fort Garry's commercial and political relevance quickly declined and its facilities were dismantled, leaving only the gate to be preserved in situ as a Winnipeg landmark and rare structural link to the city's colonial origins.

Source: City of Winnipeg City Council Meeting, July 15, 1991

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Upper Fort Garry Gate site include:
- the gate's location in a small park setting in downtown Winnipeg, in proximity to the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers (the Forks), predating its surroundings but associated with the historic Fort Garry Hotel and the Manitoba Club
- the many archaeological resources surrounding the site, recalling the eras of habitation of various groups in and around Upper Fort Garry

Key elements that define the gate's fortified vernacular character include:
- the symmetrical stone shell structure composed of a central tower flanked by reconstructed wooden walls and with reconstructed wooden doors
- the robust 4.57-metre-high tower of cut limestone blocks, enclosed on three sides and featuring a prominent round-arched entrance with stone voussoirs; heavily crenellated battlements; small rectangular openings and loopholes in the uppermost sections of the walls, some with stone surrounds or wood lintels; etc.
- the substantial one-metre-thick and three-metre-high walls of wood plank framing infilled with limestone rubble
- the minimal ornamentation restricted to the tower, including a modest smooth-cut cornice, quoins, etc.

Key elements defining the tower's open-air confines include:
- the stone walls splaying outwards from the entrance, although maintaining 90-degree angles on the exterior, to create an area that increases in size toward the rear (south)
- the stout second-storey gallery created by front and side stone walls and a log wall or embrasure spanning the rear, with small square loopholes and two centred segmental-arched openings, the largest of which is set below a smaller identical opening




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commemorative Monument


Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

Alexander Hunter Murray



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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