Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lake Manitoba Narrows (Municipality of West Interlake)

Although Lake Manitoba was named lac des Prairies in 1738 by La Verendrye, Aboriginal people knew these waters as the “narrows of the Great Spirit” (in Cree, “Manito bau”). In stormy weather, waves crashing on the limestone rocks of the narrows resounded eerily, and people believed the sound came from a huge drum beaten by Manitou.

In 1868, Thomas Spence of Portage la Prairie attempted to create a republic outside the District of Assiniboia to be named Manitobah. His plan failed, but a year later when he joined Louis Riel’s council at Fort Garry, Spence’s choice was selected as the name of the new province, and the letter H was dropped.

A commemorative monument was erected by the Manitoba Heritage Council.

Lake Manitoba Narrows bridge

Lake Manitoba Narrows bridge (April 2019)
Source: George Penner

Lake Manitoba Narrows bridge

Lake Manitoba Narrows bridge (October 2021)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Lake Manitoba Narrows commemorative monument

Lake Manitoba Narrows commemorative monument (2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N51.08206, W98.77843
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

An Over-Simplified Plaque, Origin of Manitoba by C. V.
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 15, Number 2, Winter 1970

How Manitoba Got Its Name by Frank Hall
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 15, Number 2, Winter 1970

What’s in the Name of Manitoba by Henry McKay
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 15, Number 2, Winter 1970


We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 November 2021

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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