THE LORD SELKIRK ASSOCIATION

of RUPERT’S LAND

Incorporated 1910

Red River Selkirk Settlement Bicentenary – 2012

The Bicentenary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement Committee was formed in 2011 with a mandate to bring together various organizations and levels of government to plan an appropriate commemoration for this historical milestone.  Events were held throughout the year and included the launch of a commemorative stamp by Canada Post at historic Ross House, the first post office in Western Canada; an academic symposium at Dalnavert, displays at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives and a special exhibit at the Manitoba Museum.

In addition, 16 events were held during the period of August 31 – September 9, 2012 which were attended by Lord Selkirk, descendants of the settlers, and those who were representative of all who were in the Red River settlement 200 years ago. Lord Selkirk came from Scotland to attend the week of activities.
The activities kicked off on the Labour Day weekend with the Red River Gathering/Bargefest at the Forks which included wonderful entertainment and the annual Settlers Parade on Sunday.
Other events included an event hosted by the Premier of Manitoba at the Legislative Building in which the he unveiled the commemorative bronze plaque which now hangs on the second floor of the Legislative Building. In addition, he announced that a new strain of sugar maple has been named the Lord Selkirk Sugar Maple in honour of the contribution made by Lord Selkirk’s ancestor in bringing the settlers to Red River.
On Sept. 4th in La Verendrye Park, an historical re-enactment of the transfer of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to Lord Selkirk’s representatives took place, marking exactly 200 years to the day.
On Sept. 5, 2012, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba hosted Lord Selkirk and descendants of the original settlers at a reception at Government House giving the many who gathered an opportunity to meet and thank Lord Selkirk for the role his ancestor, the 5th Earl played in bringing their ancestors to the Red River Settlement.
The events moved to Selkirk, Manitoba, on Thursday, September 6th and included the rededication of the Peguis monument at historic St. Peter’s Dynevor church.  The original monument was erected in 1924 by The Lord Selkirk Association of Rupert’s Land to acknowledge the contribution of Chief Peguis and his people to the survival of the settlers.
On Sept. 7th, the settlers’ arrival was acknowledged by the City of Winnipeg with a reception at City Hall. A Pageant and Dance entitled “Story of the Selkirk Settlers in Dance, Song and Narration” was held at Lower Fort Garry that evening.
The focus moved to historic Kildonan Presbyterian Church on September 8th. The church which was built by the settlers in 1854 is the oldest stone church still standing in the City of Winnipeg.
A wonderful gala dinner and evening of entertainment was held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Sept. 8, and was attended by 700 guests.
The week of events closed with a Service of Thanksgiving at St. John’s Cathedral on Sunday, September 9th. Many of the early settlers are buried in this historic Winnipeg cemetery. Other events were held during the balance of the year, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presentation of The Red River Suite in Winnipeg and Brandon, highlighting the music of Winnipeg over the past two hundred years. The City of Winnipeg changed the name of Waterfront Drive Park to Fort Douglas Park. This park located on the banks of the Red River close to the actual site of Fort Douglas, was constructed between 1813-15 and named in honour of Lord Selkirk’s family name.
An agriculture sub-committee of the Bicentenary Committee is currently working with Prairie Public Television on the production of a five part series on the history of agriculture in Western Canada starting with the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers.  This production is expected to be completed by January, 2015.
The beautiful Selkirk Settlers Monument on Waterfront Drive will be lit with funding from the Bicentenary Committee and the City of Winnipeg. This was an initiative of members of the St. Andrew’s Society.
A series of three books on the history of the Red River Settlement have been placed in Manitoba public schools with a dedication to young scholars on behalf of the Bicentenary Committee.  These books were written and published by Barry and Judy McPherson of the Manitoba Living History Society and highlight the lives of those in the Red River Settlement in the early years.
The Department of Canadian Heritage provided a grant in the amount of $453,011 and was the main donor for the commemoration. Other sponsors included the Winnipeg Foundation, the Government of Manitoba, CTV and the dedicated work of the volunteer members of the committee who are named below:

Co-Chairs:

Lawrence Prout (St. Andrew’s Society) Phyllis Fraser (The Lord Selkirk Association of Rupert’s Land)

Committee:

Lisa Blake (City of Winnipeg) Judy Burns (Seven Oaks Historical Society) Rob Chennels (Lord Selkirk Boys Pipe Band) Harry Duckworth (Manitoba Historical Society) Elaine Embury Recording Secretary Tim Flook (St. Andrew’s Society) Gordon Goldsborough (Manitoba Historical Society) George Hamilton (Manitoba Highland Dance) Colin Harris (Pavilion of Scotland) Wendy Land (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society)

 

Dwight MacAulay (Manitoba Government) Mike McAndless (Agriculture) McPherson, Barry and Judy (Manitoba Living History Society) Rick Morgan (The Lord Selkirk Association of Rupert’s Land) John Perrin (St. Andrew’s Society and Scottish Heritage Council of Winnipeg, Inc.) Andrew Ross, Chartered Accountant Rob Tisdale, (St. Andrew’s Society)