Where in Manitoba can you get both fur trade history and the golden (chrome?) era of the 1950s all in one day? This quick day trip will take you north of Winnipeg to the area surrounding Lockport and St. Andrews - where you will find an eclectic mix of 1850s fortifications and retro eats.
Peruse the past at Lower Fort Garry
Start your day within the historical stone walls of Lower Fort Garry, located approximately 40 minutes north of Winnipeg. As Canada's oldest collection of fur trade buildings (some dating back to the 1830s), you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of trappers and traders of the Hudson's Bay Company. It's easy for locals (ie. my partner who grew up in the area) to take historic sites like Lower Fort Garry for granted, but I highly recommend any and all Winnipeggers take some time to reconnect with places that they may not have visited since the days of school field trips.
Lower Fort Garry is also the site where Treaty 1 was created and signed by the the Crown, the Anishinaabe, and the Muskegon Cree peoples in a historic event that is commemorated each year at the fort.
Check the schedule of guided tours on their website. Normally, throughout June tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. During July and August, buildings are open to the public for self-guided tours, with costumed interpreters to share information along the way.
Lunch it at Half Moon Drive In
While there is quite the debate among locals regarding which drive in is the best in Lockport (basically, Skinners vs Half Moon vs Sonia's), this particular day trip took us to the retro-tastic Half Moon Drive In. This popular establishment serves all the usual suspects: from burgers and curly fries to banana splits and milkshakes. Fun fact: This was my first ever banana split (I don't have a good explanation as to why I've avoided them thus far, other than to say I regret waiting this long) and boy oh boy was it good. Who knew bananas were the perfect match for ice cream and whipped cream? Everyone except me, apparently.
The interior will charm and delight you with its awesome 1950s aesthetic; or you can head out back and enjoy your food on the banks of the Red River. Picnic tables are available!
Drive down River Road
Ready for your drive back to Winnipeg? Not so fast. Once you've had your fill of burgers and shakes, take the scenic route back down River Road: a historical ox-cart route that is still speckled with hints of the past. Enjoy the views of the Red River as you drive past historic homes like the Hay House and the Captain Kennedy House, and be sure to stop at the St. Andrews on the Red Anglican Church. Dating back to 1845, the stonework on the building is credited to Duncan McRae, one of the most prolific masons of the day. The cemetery is the final resting place of HBC officers and settlers (including Captain William Kennedy)! Across the way at the St. Andrew's Rectory, you can get a closer look at the history of the region with a number of exhibits.