A view of the Nonsuch ketch, a full-sized replica, from a pier-like exhibit space. The ship is dry-docked and you can see the white paint of the hull, as well as the blue stripes and carvings around the portholes along the side. There are two masts with the sails hanging down and the 1668 Red Ensign flag flies off the stern.

Nonsuch Gallery

The Nonsuch was originally built as a merchant ship in 1650. The name refers to “none such,” meaning “unequalled.” 

As you enter the Nonsuch Gallery, listen to Elder Louis Bird as he recounts a story of first contact between European explorers and the Omushkegowak (Swampy Cree) of Hudson Bay area. Then step back in time to 17th century Deptford, England where Nonsuch has recently docked after a 16-month voyage to what we now call Canada. Explore the buildings and board the ship! 

Learn about how the original Nonsuch sailed from England in 1668 to trade for furs in Hudson Bay. The success of this trip encouraged investors to establish the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670. Immerse yourself in the Nonsuch replica, built in England in 1968 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Built using hand tools of the 17th century, it is considered one of the finest replicas in the world, and sailed 14,000 kilometres of salt and fresh water before arriving at the Manitoba Museum in 1974. 

Take a peek inside!

A young visitor is seated on the bench exploring the touchscreen function of the audio experience while a adult looks on. The room is a cozy alcove with a mural depicting ice on Hudson Bay, blue sky and white puffy clouds, and ship off in the distance.

Visitors can choose to listen to an oral history from Elder Louis Bird (in English, French, or Cree) about the first ships entering Hudson Bay. Image ©Manitoba Museum/Ian McCausland

Two adults are standing next to a child who is using a brass telescope to look at the Nonsuch ship.

Use the telescope on the pier to explore the Nonsuch rigging in detail after spending some time aboard the ship. Image ©Manitoba Museum/Ian McCausland

Dark blue walls offset the brightly-lit exhibit cases that feature artifacts related to nautical history and scientific collecting. Wooden framed windows look out over the Nonsuch Gallery.

Take the elevator in the HBC Gallery up to the Nautical Balcony to explore more of HBC’s nautical history alongside artifacts and specimens connected to HBC’s role in scientific collecting. Image ©Manitoba Museum/Ian McCausland

Exterior of the Manitoba Museum, with the Museum, Museum sign, and Planetarium dome in view.

Make your event historic! 

The Manitoba Museum is unique in Canada, as it is the only heritage and science centre to offer a combination of world-class history galleries along with a science gallery and planetarium theatre.

Host your next cocktail reception or dinner in the Nonsuch Gallery and enjoy a guided tour aboard the Nonsuch.

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