Upper Fort Garry heritage park development set to begin

Work is starting this week on a heritage park at Winnipeg's Upper Fort Garry site, an area known as the birthplace of Manitoba.

Group still needs to raise $15M to $18M for heritage wall, interpretive centre

Park landscaping at the Upper Fort Garry site in downtown Winnipeg will start soon and should be complete by the fall. (Google Street View)

Work is starting this week on a heritage park at Winnipeg's Upper Fort Garry site, an area known as the birthplace of Manitoba.

Heavy machinery will be moving onto the site, located on Main Street between Broadway and Assiniboine Avenue, according to the Friends of Upper Fort Garry.

"You'll see, obviously, a lot of sidewalks and all the plinths that demarcate the buildings, the old buildings' foundations. The area around the gate is going to be completely landscaped and upgraded," said Jerry Gray, who chairs the group's board.

Since coming up with a plan for the site in 2008, the Friends of Upper Fort Garry has raised $10 million for the project.

However, the fundraising campaign has recently stalled.

Gray said the group still needs to raise another $15 million to $18 million to build a heritage wall and interpretive centre, but he's confident enough money will be raised and construction of those structures can start next year.

Gray said he is still excited to see work will begin soon on landscaping and the marking of old fort buildings.

"It will be good because it's going to be a very, very wonderfully designed park with some interpretive things on the park. But it would not be complete without the heritage wall and the building," he said.

The landscaping work should be complete by this fall.

Erected in 1835 under the orders of George Simpson, then-governor of the Hudson Bay Company, Upper Fort Garry served as the centre for trade in the west and was the site of significant events in Manitoba's history.