Northern Prairie Ships: City of Winnipeg

Built in 1875 and christened the Minnesota, the steamer was refurbished in 1881 and renamed City of Winnipeg. Its life was cut short, however, when it was wrecked in September 1881 on Lake Winnipeg. Charles Brydges, the Land Commissioner of the Hudson’s Bay Company, based at Winnipeg, described the loss to his superiors in England in a letter dated 1 October 1881:

“It became ... absolutely necessary to endeavour to get another boat on the [Saskatchewan] river by the opening of navigation next year, and to try & effect this, after arranging with Holcombe’s Co., the City of Winnipeg had her machinery taken out, and a large quantity of lumber put in her. Altho’ it was very late in the year, the urgency of the case caused us to decide to make the effort to tow her across Lake Winnipeg, but unfortunately a storm overtook her, and she had to be abandoned, and became a wreck. Her machinery was all safely landed at Grand Rapids and a good deal of her cabin work was saved, but the hull is a wreck.” [1]

View inside the passenger lounge of the steamboat City of Winnipeg on the Red River, by Duffin & Co., circa 1881.
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Transportation - Boat - City of Winnipeg - 3.


1. The Letters of Charles John Brydges, 1879-1882. The Hudson’s Bay Record Society, Winnipeg, 1977, page 205.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 February 2022