Riel House National Historic Site of Canada
330 River Road Winnipeg, MB R2M 3Z8
Posted August 05, 2022 | Author Desiree Rantala
If windows, walkways, and walls could speak, what would they say? Imagine the words they have heard, the things they have seen, and the people they have met. Step back in time to the heart of humble and hard working history that is the Riel District. Consider a day-trip or spend an afternoon with great historical attractions and learn about the Manitoba francophone community.
Get ready to walk the grounds of great voyageurs at Fort Gibraltar. Feel welcomed by friendly faces as you enter. Sounds... so many sounds. The crackling of wood in the outdoor kitchen fire, the chatter of village folk, the sharp pounding of steel in the blacksmith shop, and the shearing of wood shavings being crafted into paddles and pipes. Take in the ornate and intricate beauty of Indigenous fabrics, trade goods such as voyageur felts, and the making of provisions like pemmican.
Immerse yourself into the pages of a book, as written by one of Canada’s most influential francophone authors; Gabrielle Roy. Now a national historical site, you can visit the quaint and quiet homestead that is Maison Gabrielle-Roy. Learn about the personal past of this author’s life and feel drawn through a home full of spices, staircases and winding pathways. Be prepared for stairs... many stairs! Travel up two flights of historical staircases to explore different rooms of significance in the Roy home and discover the importance that the attic had on Gabrielle Roy’s adolescence and how it shaped her future.
As the oldest building in Winnipeg at 171 years old, stroll the halls of the largest oak structure in North America at the Le Musée de Saint-Boniface. Here is where a chapel, covenant, and community came together to pave way for Francophone culture. Learn about the sisters of charity, Louis Riel, and the many on goings of this historical building. Snag a souvenir in their gift shop, or stop by the snack shack outside for a tasty treat and enjoy your choice of flavour for a refreshing lemonade. Remember learning about pemmican earlier at Fort Gibraltar, and seeing how it is made? Try a piece of modern pemmican! With a few different options, the cracked pepper and blueberry was my personal favourite.
On the original river lot in which it was built, time stands still in 1886 at the Riel House National Historic Site. Occupied until 1968, Louis Riel’s family lived as dairy farmers, and unbeknownst to them, would navigate a long and difficult path of dignity, duty, and despair. Peer through the same windows as Manitoba’s man of mystery, see the staging of personal possessions, and hear tales of treachery, tumultuous acts, and the power of perseverance.
Just as jars can store savory and sweet substances that can provide sustenance for a long winter ahead, windows, walkways, and walls too can provide. They provide samples and pieces of our past.
Workshops, walls, walking tours, windows, and walkways; a world of wonder awaits you in the Riel District.
Travel Manitoba was hosted by Tourism Riel, who did not review or approve this story.
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