Friday, July 16, 2010

Memorial Boulevard at Colony Street - Lord Selkirk Monument

Lord Selkirk Monument
Title: Lord Selkirk Monument
Memorial Boulevard at Colony Street
October 1955

Roy Sellors


The triangular piece of land at Colony and Memorial was given to the city by the Hudson's Bay Company likely in the mid 1920s.

The desire to construct a monument to commemorate Lord Selkirk in Winnipeg began in the early 1940s, perhaps coincide with his designation as a person of national historical significance in 1943. The war, however, put the fundraising campaign on hold for a decade.

On August 17, 1953 city council approved an application from the Manitoba Historical Society and Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to build the Selkirk monument at this site.

Selkirk Monument

The design chosen was that of
architect and U of M Prof Roy Sellors. It is a wall 23 feet long and three feet high made of tyndall stone.

The passage "Neither a wild and visionary scheme nor a cloak to cover aggression" comes from a letter written by Selkirk in the month of his death. Convalescing in the south of France he was troubled by the fact that the British government was pressuring both the Northwest Co. and HBC (Selkirk was an HBC man) to merge their lands which could have a negative impact on the settlements. The entire passage reads:

"With respect to giving up the settlement or selling it to the North West Company, that is entirely out of the question ... I know of no consideration that would induce me to abandon it. I ground this resolution, not only on the principle of supporting the settlers whom I have already sent to the place, but also because I consider my character at stake upon the success of the undertaking, and upon proving that it was neither a wild or visionary scheme nor a cloak to cover sordid plans of aggression, charges which would be left in too ambiguous a state if I were to abandon the settlement at its present stage, and above all if I were to sell it to its enemies." (source).

June 23 1962, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1962 the city spruced up the park by adding 16 linden trees, benches and cobblestones.

Lord Selkirk Monument

In 2004 a plaque to honour
Peter Rindisbacher a young artist, a teenager in fact, who lived at Red River from 1821 - 1826 and was one of the first Europeans to document life in the new settlement through art was added.

The Lord Selkirk Settlement at Red River MHS

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