Historic Sites of Manitoba: Fort la Reine Museum (Saskatchewan Avenue East, Portage la Prairie)
This large museum at Portage la Prairie comprises over 25 buildings. Most were moved from farms or villages around the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie; a few are replicas of period buildings. They have several homes progressing through the ages, starting with a trapper’s log cabin all the way to a 1940s home. Each building is filled with period items. Other buildings in the village include offices of a dentist, doctor and lawyer, a small wooden fort, the one-room West Prospect schoolhouse, two churches, and a general store.
Two large buildings contain a large collection of Allis-Chalmers farm equipment -- the largest collection in the world. A building moved to the site from Southport, a former military base south of Portage la Prairie, houses displays of the military history with such items as photographs, uniforms, equipment, metals, and a wall honouring the community’s war dead. Also on display is a railway car once used by William C. Van Horne during construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
One of the building on the site is the Hamilton House, now described as the Paul House. Built from timbers cut along the Assiniboine River by John Wark, this log cabin was occupied from 1879 until 1920 by Wark’s daughter and son-in-law, Joseph Hamilton. The Alex Paul family occupied the 18-foot by 24-foot structure for the next 42 years, soon after which it was moved to Fort la Reine. Standing just a few years away from the Paul House is the Philip Hourie House, built in 1890 and an original part part of Manitoba’s “Farm of the Century” which was selected in 1970 as the province’s oldest farm that had been continued by the same family. The Hourie property was first homesteaded in 1859 in the High Bluff area. The Hourie and Paul Houses are both filled with furnishings of the period, as well as detailed histories of each building and owner.
The West Prospect United Church was originally located north of Portage la Prairie. Built in 1881 as a Methodist church, it became a United Church in 1925. Closed in 1958, the former church building was moved to the museum.
Photos & Coordinates
This page was prepared by Maria Zbigniewicz, George Penner, and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 September 2020