Description provided by Editors
Today it is a vibrant people place known as The Forks, where shops, outdoor activities, festivals and entertainers all come together at the juncture where the Assiniboine River flows into the Red. It is the city’s main waterfront area and without a doubt has become the city’s most popular destination. But this wasn’t always the case. While archaeological evidence suggests that indigenous peoples first gathered here 6,000 years ago for trade and commerce, for most of the 20th century this area was an uninhabited railyard. The Forks has come a long way since 1738, when Pierre de La Vérendrye was the first European to establish a fur trading settlement here. That first settlement, known as the Red River Colony, was a hub for the fur trade until the 1880s, when grain production became the principal industry in Western Canada. Upon completion of the cross-country rail line, the newly incorporated city of Winnipeg became the “gateway to the West” and enjoyed a thirty-year growth boom. But not the Forks site, which languished, interlaced with railway tracks and used as a storage yard. That changed in 1987 when the land was turned over to the city. Thus began an award-winning development of the site. Paved paths now connect The Forks to the towering Esplanade Riel, a spectacular pedestrian corridor along the Provencher Bridge which leads across the Red River to the city’s French Quarter.