What makes the museum stand out is that the Historic Dawson Road runs in front of the museum.
The Dawson Trail, or Dawson Road as it is known in the community, starts at Lake Superior and follows rivers and portages to the Lake of the Woods. On the West side of the Lake of the Woods, it begins at the North West Angle, at the boundary between Canada and the U.S.A., near Harrison Creek.
This land and water route from Fort Williams to Red River was Canada’s first attempt to provide an all-Canadian Highway linking the east with the prairies.
Most settlers arrived by The Dawson Trail, built between 1867 and 1871 by surveyor and engineer Simon James Dawson. This also made the Dawson Trail the first Federal Government funded road.
Much of the way west is through “bottomless swamp,” or where the Dawson Road crosses the Caribou Bog it is built on corduroy, that is, logs laid across wise, or in some places three layers, crosswise, lengthwise, crosswise in order to carry the Red River carts which were the mode of travel in the 1800s. In the early 1870s, families traveled by carts, covered wagons, and horseback.
The Dawson Trail was designated a historical route by the Province back in April 1995, and in 2008 the Rural Municipality of Ste Anne designated the Church of the Enfant-Jésus Heritage Site a Municipal Heritage Site and paved the way for the transition of the church to the Dawson Trail Museum in the summer of 2013. Many families donated items to be kept in the museum for future generations to visit.
The building and grounds remain in beautiful condition with the awe-inspiring, towering spire, fascinating century-old cemetery, and artifacts and displays that tell the stories of daily life for people that lived in the community a hundred years ago.
Through various events and programs, you can experience another side of this organization. With their Artisan Sales or Farmers Market, the Museum presents local artisans and makers, bakers, and growers. From exciting activities like beautiful yarn crafts and woodworking to kids’ crafts, there’s always tons to do. With Up-cycled treasures, bath and beauty products, local jewelry, and delicious, sweet treats, you’ll find countless treasures to take home with you.
Their annual Spring Craft Market is on May 1, 2021, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Their Farmers Market is every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM from July 3, 2021, to September 25
The Dawson Trail Museum also offers guided tours of the site by appointment for $5.00 per person.
The Dawson Trail Museum will be opening on June 1, 2021, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Their open season ends on September 4, 2021. Find out more by visiting their website https://dawsontrailmuseum.ca/