In Winnipeg we have Grant Avenue, for which I have often thought that it was a bit peculiar that a Canadian city should have named a large avenue after a US president.

Cuthbert James Grant

I was wrong. Cuthbert James Grant was the person after whom was named this large avenue. So I went digging a bit further and came up with the following… Come on in.

Grant was the son of a Scottish father and Métis mother. He was born in 1793 at Fort Tremblant, a North West Company trading post located near the present-day town of Togo, Saskatchewan, where his father was a manager.

At a young age he was sent to Scotland for his education and in 1812 returned to the West in charge of a small outpost. In those times there were two big trading companies that disputed each other the fur trade on the territory of Canada as we know it today: the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company.

His qualities of leadership, added to his racial background, quickly made him one of the leaders of the Métis. The North West Company, then engaged in the struggle with the Hudson’s Bay Company, made him Captain-General of the half-breeds early in 1816.

Fort GibraltarFort Gibraltar in 1811

Some of his actions led to the death of 21 colonists from the Red River Colony. After Fort Gibraltar was destroyed in Winnipeg (nowadays a rebuilt version is used for the Festival des Voyageurs), he surrendered himself and went to Montreal to face charges of murder. He was acquitted.

In 1821, the Northwest Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company merged to form the Hudson’s Bay Company. Grant was  requested to head a colony of some 2000 Métis, 16 km from the Red River near the Assiniboine river by the new governor of the HBC, George Simpson.

By 1825, wheat was becoming important in the region and many farmers were growing it. Grant built a dam and a watermill on the Sturgeon Creek only a few hundred meters from the Assiniboine River.

Grant’s Mill Grant’s Mill

The exact location is not known, the original mill was destroyed by the waters of the Sturgeon Creek, today we can admire a copy of the watermill as we think it has existed.

Grant’s Mill

The bridge you can see in the background is today’s Portage Avenue, then it was called the Portage Trail. The dam that was used to retain the water for the mill was probably also used as a bridge to cross the creek.

The Sturgeon Creek proved to be a highly treacherous little creek; it washed away the dam for 3 years in a row. After these three years Grant abandoned the idea of having a watermill in this spot, dismantled it and moved the machinery to Grantown as was called St François Xavier in that time to use it in a windmill.

Grant’s Mill

Grant died in 1854 from the consequences of a fall from his horse. The Sturgeon Creek is still there today. It proves itself to be just as unreliable as 150 years ago.

Grant’s Mill

The creek inundated Portage avenue in 1974 and again in 1979. After that, the creek has had some “surgery”, i.e. it has been widened and thus the risk of a flooding in this area has been diminished.

Today I went to this place to take some pictures of Grant’s Mill. The fresh snow from last night made it nearly impossible to approach the site without sinking in the snow to my hips.  Stepping on the ice near the mill seemed also a bad idea, seeing the open water still there after 4 months of temperatures far below zero. So, more pictures should follow, but in a different season.

Until then, take care!

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Henk
2 days

Thanks :) !

sursohog
2 days 4 hours

---Very nice Blog Henk - some nice shots there...-:)

Henk
6 days 21 hours

Presets can speed up your workflow a lot, provided you have plenty of the same type of pictures. People doing weddings will a ...

Henk
6 days 21 hours

Hi, I hadn't noticed that the typing colour was that dark... changed it to pure white, that should do it ... Henk

'Dan..
6 days 23 hours

I certainly agree the use of presets will discourage people learning their own methods but they can offer a shortcut to fulfi ...

Henk
27 days 22 hours

Well, I was told so by a "pro" that later recanted... :-) I removed the name, so at least it is now correct.

josie brendle
29 days

nice blog but sorry the horses are not Clydesdales. Those are a little bigger. :)

Henk
29 days 13 hours

Test comment here

Henk Von Pickartz
29 days 18 hours

This is a comment. I will see if this works or if this will be taken over by spammers. If so, then I will take it down again.