Historic Sites of Manitoba: Selkirk Settlers Monument (Waterfront Drive, Winnipeg)

In Scotland, during the late 1700s and early 1800s, vast numbers of Scots—men, women, and children—were cleared off their ancestral lands, burned out of their homes, some sold into slavery, and many forced aboard “coffin ships” bound for destinations around the world. This was the direct result of a widespread movement to increase farm profitability by landowners which later became infamously known as “The Clearances”. These displaced and homeless Scots often migrated or were sent around the world to destinations including Canada, the United States, Haita, Cuba, Barbados, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

This monument, a twin of one erected in Helmsdale, Scotland and sculpted by Gerald Laing of Scotland, commemorates these people of Scotland who sought freedom, hope and justice beyond their native shores. One such group, with the support of Thomas Douglas, Fifth Earl of Selkirk, established the first agricultural settlement here in Manitoba, in present-day Winnipeg. The Scots cleared from lands in 1812, planted a bushel and a half of wheat brought over from Scotland, and established the first European agricultural settlement in Manitoba.

Selkirk Settlers Monument

Selkirk Settlers Monument (September 2009)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Selkirk Settlers Monument

Selkirk Settlers Monument (October 2021)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89706, W97.13370
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Lord Selkirk Settlers by William L. Morton
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 7, Number 3, April 1962


Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 May 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!