On July 17, The Manitoba Museum and Parks Canada announced a collaboration that will help bring Canadians closer to York Factory, one of the oldest and most important national historic sites in Western Canada.
Under the agreement, The Manitoba Museum will increase York Factory content in its exhibits and galleries. Curators Kevin Brownlee and Amelia Fay will travel to York Factory, located on the Hayes River near Hudson Bay, this August. They will study the site and surrounding landscape in order to document this little-visited corner of Manitoba, building on years of archaeological and historical research by Parks Canada, for future Museum visitors and generations of Manitobans.
A videographer will travel with the curators with the goal of capturing the essence of the site for Museum visitors who are unlikely to see York Factory. The curators will also consult with the local Aboriginal communities of Fox Lake Cree Nation and York Factory First Nation to get a better sense of how they would like this site and narrative to be presented in our existing and future galleries.
Parks Canada is supporting the Museum’s access to York Factory National Historic Site, loaning artefacts and materials for the Museum’s exhibits and galleries, opening its records and archaeological collections to Museum staff and providing information about the site.
York Factory is a national historic site owned and operated by Parks Canada, which protects and presents Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. York Factory was built in 1684 by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a trading post at the mouth of the Hayes River, and became embroiled in a back-and-forth battle between the British and the French until the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which gave the HBC exclusive trading rights on Hudson Bay. York Factory’s role shifted from trading post to distribution centre as furs from inland Canada were brought there for distribution to European markets. It also served as the point of entry for European immigrants. York Factory was finally closed by the HBC in 1957.
“York Factory is one of Canada’s most remote national treasures, and we are extremely excited for this opportunity to showcase its history and its location”, says Claudette Leclerc, CEO of The Manitoba Museum. “Our research team will be sharing their work with all Canadians through the Museum’s website and social media channels. Together with Parks Canada we want to make sure this historical site is not forgotten.”
The Manitoba Museum is proud to partner with York Factory National Historic Site on an exhibit refurbishment project. More information will follow in coming months.