Tracking the pre-asylum days in Manitoba

Stop 2: Lower Fort Garry & Stony Mountain Penitentiary

It’s hard to think of it as a “research” day when you’re walking around the grounds of an early fur trading post listening to high school kids in costume tell you about the history of various buildings. But the animated tour of the Hudson Bay Company‘s post allowed us to go inside the buildings on the Fort grounds that were used at one point as both a prison and an asylum as well as the small building that was built for Dr. Young, the first medical superintendent of the Selkirk Asylum (pictured left).

The fact that the property was used for an asylum was, to my surprise, actually included on the guided tour of the property! I was very pleased! Though, I’ll admit, I was less impressed by some of the comments made by our young tour guide about the state of treatment during the period. Worse though were the inaccuracies on the descriptive poster in Dr. Young’s building. I think I may write a letter to Parks Canada….

Overall it was a very interesting visit. On our way back to our campsite we drove by Stony Mountain Penitentiary (pictured right) – opened in 1876 and still in operation today. It was also used to house the insane prior to the opening of the Selkirk Asylum.


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