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Red River Cart on Main Street in Winnipeg, 1883
Red River Cart on Main Street in Winnipeg, 1883
University of Manitoba, Archives and Special Collections, PC 18/5668/18-5668-001.

Red River carts were a very important means of long distance freighting in the latter half of the 19th century. Métis fur-traders invented these carts around 1800. Red River carts were constructed entirely of wood and usually pulled by oxen.

The carts are named after the Red River along which the Red River cart brigades travelled while freighting goods back and forth between Minneapolis, St. Paul and Winnipeg.

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Assiniboine Cart
Assiniboine Cart
Daly House Museum, P86-148-4.

This cart, called an "Assiniboine" cart after the Assiniboine River, was a smaller, later version of the Red River cart.

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Red River Cart, c. 1890.
Red River Cart, c. 1890.
Archives of Manitoba, Transportation, Red River Cart, 9.

The earliest roads were the dirt paths and trails that Native peoples and animals had used for thousands of years.

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