Fort Dufferin Memorial
(credit: Rose Kuzina/MHS)
History of Fort Dufferin
From 1872 to 1874, Fort Dufferin was the headquarters and winter home to the British-Canadian contingent of the International Boundary Commission. In mid-1874, a contingent of the newly-formed North West Mounted Police (later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), assembled here prior to its march into what is now Alberta.
One of the buildings that once sat at the site still exists. A monument at the entrance to this site, near Emerson in the Municipality of Emerson-Franklin, bears two plaques. One plaque, erected in 1997 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, describes the westward march of the North West Mounted Police. The other plaque commemorates two constables in the force, W. C. Brown and A. McIntosh, who died in 1874 at Fort Dufferin and are buried in unmarked graves near the site.
A monument at Fort Dufferin was erected in 2015 by the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society, Boundary Trail Heritage Region, and Post Road Heritage Group. It commemorates more than 18,600 European and eastern Canadian (including Mennonite) immigrants who came to Manitoba aboard Red River steamboats in the period between 1875 and 1879.
It was at Fort Dufferin where Mennonites organized themselves, confirming their church leader, the Aeltester (Bishop) Johann Wiebe, and appointing а settlement director (Obervorsteher), Isaak Mueller.
WestMenn is proud to partner with the Post Road Heritage Group in developing a permanent interpretive display regarding the Mennonite experience at Fort Dufferin. Eleanor Chornoboy, John Giesbrecht, Graham Schellenberg, Conrad Stoesz, Lawrence Klippenstein, and Sean Goerzen all contributed to its development. The display is set to be unveiled later in 2020.
Many celebrations have taken place at Fort Dufferin, now a National Historic Site of Canada. In 2000 the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society celebrated the 125th anniversary of Mennonites in Manitoba at Fort Dufferin, and the 140th anniversary in 2015.