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This weather vane topped the flagpole at York Factory in northern Manitoba before being removed and donated to the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection in September 1958. Weather vanes indicate the direction of the wind, although they are often more decorative than functional.
This particular example may have been the unfortunate victim of target practice by HBC employees with too much time on their hands — the tail of the weather vane has several bullet holes and is pockmarked with dents.
First built in 1684, York Factory was an isolated but active HBC post. Its location on Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Hayes River was ideal for the shipment of goods in and out of Rupert’s Land, making York Factory the primary HBC depot for more than two centuries. It was officially closed in 1957 and eventually became a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada.