Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

 

The Passage

 The Passage - plaq0901

Installed 1992
Berkley Street and
Assiniboine River
Winnipeg

The eroded banks and shallow waters of the Assiniboine River at this point indicate that this was a suitable place for the bison herds to cross. This spot was probably used in the distant precontact times; during the fur trade era, Native hunters guided European traders to this ford.

Governor Miles Macdonell of Red River visited The Passage in 1812. Thereafter, this short-cut was used primarily by those wishing to bypass the Forks. Cuthbert Grant and his followers crossed here in 1816, trying to avoid the confrontation that resulted in the Battle of Seven Oaks. Lord Selkirk's troops met Chief Peguis at The Passage in 1817 before recapturing Fort Douglas. Independent fur traders, defying the trade monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company, headed to Pembina via this route.

After 1860, the trail remained a cut-off for travellers from Pembina heading west. Pioneer families such as the Hogues and Beauchemins settled near The Passage where a ferry was operated between 1870–1908. Ironically, the low water that made The Passage a good fording site rendered it a poor choice for a ferry crossing.