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1. Introduction2. Birth of a Police Force3. The March West4. Establishment of the Force5. The Railroad and the Rebellion6. The Growth of the Force7. Establishment of a National Police Force8. Biographies
 
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Lower Fort Garry

Lower Fort Garry

The Hudson's Bay Company built two forts at present day Winnipeg, Lower Fort Garry and Upper Fort Garry. Upper Fort Garry, at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, proved to be the better of the two forts and after a short stay at Lower Fort Garry, the Hudson's Bay Company moved back to its upper fort. Lower Fort Garry continued to be used as a supply depot for the local Native and Metis population and occasionally, to house the military.

The first NWMP arrived at Lower Fort Garry on October 22, 1873. "At the Stone Fort we were soon settled fairly comfortably in the store buildings which had to answer for barracks. The officers were quartered in the Hudson's Bay Company's Officers' mess, which still stands in the centre of the square, and as soon as all were located Lt.-Col. Osbourne Smith came down from Winnipeg and swore us in, each man being given a warrant with his name and rank, the first and last issued to the force."
Sam Steele



Travel from Lower Fort Garry in winter was by dog team.
Travel from Lower Fort Garry in winter was by dog team.

Training began in earnest in early November. The men learned to ride, to march in formation, and to carry out the daily routine without question. "Our work was unceasing from 6 am until after dark. I drilled five rides a day the whole of the winter in an open ménage, and the orders were that if the temperature were not lower than 36 below zero the riding and breaking should go on." Sam Steele

Life at Lower Fort Garry was not entirely taken with training for the March West. The growing town of Winnipeg was nearby and many people had already settled in the area. The men were invited to balls and parties, and on warmer days, to shooting competitions. There were weddings and funerals to attend, cricket matches and sports days. The men received mail fairly regularly and books and magazines were also available.

On June 7, 1874, the NWMP left Lower Fort Garry to march south. They would meet the rest of the force at Fort Dufferin to muster for their long trek west.

With the NWMP gone, Lower Fort Garry returned to the command of the militia.

Today, Lower Fort Garry is a national historic site with interpreters in period costume recreating the fur trade years of the early 1800s.

 
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4. Establishment of a Police Force


Daily Life and Routine at the Posts
Development of Communities Around NWMP Posts