Manitoba Organization: Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba / Fort Whyte Nature Centre / FortWhyte Alive
Establishment of a facility for outdoor education in the Fort Whyte area of southwest Winnipeg began informally when the Principals of six schools in Greater Winnipeg approached Norman Wilde, Director of the Winnipeg School Division’s Science Centre for help in setting up a nature trail for their students. Wilde referred them to Allan Murray, Chief of the Manitoba government’s conservation education section and, after examining several potential sites, Fort Whyte was chosen due to its close proximity to Winnipeg, its relatively intact woodlands, protection from vandalism afforded by the fact the site was privately owned by the Canada Cement Company, and the presence of lakes (formed when pits excavated for clay used in the manufacture of cement) that attracted water birds.
Initially known as the Fort Whyte Waterfowl Sanctuary, a nature trail was established by Canada Cement employees, most notably Don Muir, along with members of the Lucky 13 Rod and Gun Club, and the Natural History Society of Manitoba. It opened in September 1966, its operation was assumed by the newly incorporated Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba.
Eventually, a small building was constructed along McGillivray Boulevard with financial support from the Devonian Foundation. In 1983, a larger Interpretive Centre was designed by Winnipeg architect H. H. G. Moody and constructed nearby.
“Wildlife bill moves,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 March 1966, page 30.
“Nature: The teacher” by Patrick Gordon, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 September 1967, page 70.
The Fort Whyte Story: Human. Nature. by Jake MacDonald, Winnipeg: FortWhyte Alive, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9813732-0-1.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 24 May 2023