Historic Sites of Manitoba: Cranberry Portage Monument (Cranberry Portage, RM of Kelsey)

This monument at Cranberry Portage, in the Rural Municipality of Kelsey, was erected in 2003 by Project Discovery.

The three-kilometre portage between First Cranberry Lake and Lake Athapapuskow has been used for over 2,000 years by people travelling from the Grass River watershed to the Saskatchewan River watershed. This route was part of the Upper Track, one of three routes used by First Nations and Metis people to reach Hudson Bay. The first European to use the route was probably trader Joseph Smith, in 1763.

After competition forced the Hudson’s Bay Company to establish inland posts in 1774, the portage here was used extensively. By 1800 the route was abandoned in favour of the deeper waters of the Hayes River and Nelson River systems, which accommodated the larger freight canoes and York boats.

Trappers and prospectors continued to use the portage until the arrival of the railway in 1928, when a permanent village developed nearby. Much of this portage lies under the village roads and is still in daily use. Today this route is called “Portage Road.”

Cranberry Portage Monument

Cranberry Portage Monument (July 2013)
Source: Alan Mason

Cranberry Portage monument

Cranberry Portage monument (October 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Cranberry Portage monument

Cranberry Portage monument (October 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Cranberry Portage commemorative plaque

Cranberry Portage commemorative plaque (October 2023)
Source: Glen Toews

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N54.58305, W101.38703
denoted by symbol on the map above


We thank Glen Toews for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Alan Mason and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 October 2023

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. The information is offered for historical interest only.

Browse lists of:
Museums/Archives | Buildings | Monuments | Cemeteries | Locations | Other

Inclusion in this collection does not confer special status or protection. Official heritage designation may only come from municipal, provincial, or federal governments. Some sites are on private property and permission to visit must be secured from the owner.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the MHS Webmaster at webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

Search Tips | Suggest an Historic Site | FAQ

Help us keep history alive!