Prince of Wales Fort II took more than 40 years to build, from 1731 to 1771, at the mouth of the Churchill River on Hudson Bay. The popular European ‘star’ shape construction with four protruding bastions was selected but its massive size and small construction crew made for slow progress. Prince of Wales Fort outer walls were 6.5 meters high, 11 meters thick and were divided from the inner wall by an earthen rampart. Forty cannon were mounted within the embrasures along the parapet and commanded every approach to the fort, hence the name ‘flanker fort’. The main gate was protected from direct attack by a stone structure called a ravelin.
The fort still stands today as an important memorial of the French-English rivalry for control of Hudson Bay and its resources. In 1920, it was designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Cape Merry and Sloop Cove were added to the designation in 1933. An HSMBC plaque on the southeast wall of the southwest bastion, unveiled in 1936, commemorates explorer Samuel Hearne.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Matonabbee Plaque (Prince of Wales Fort, Churchill)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Early Science in Canada’s North and the Hudson’s Bay Company (Prince of Wales Fort, Churchill)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Plaques for Persons, Events and Sites of National Historic Significance
“The Healthiest Part in the Known World”: Prince of Wales’s Fort As Fur Trade Post and Community in the Eighteenth Century by Michael Payne
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 35, 1978-79 Season
Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site of Canada, Parks Canada
Historic Sites of Manitoba: York Factory Powder House (Hayes River, Northern Manitoba)
Financial support for research reported on this page was provided by Manitoba Heritage Grant 18F-H49829.
This page was prepared by Tim Worth, Christian Cassidy, and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 March 2022
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.
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