The Pas, Manitoba

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The Pas (pronounced /ðəˈpɑː/) (French: Le Pas) is a town in Manitoba, Canada, located in Division No. 21, Manitoba in the Northern Region, some 630 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, Winnipeg, near the border of Saskatchewan. It is sometimes still called Paskoyac by locals. That was the official name of the town until it was incorporated in 1912 and its name was changed. The word "Paskoyac" comes from the European transliteration "O'Paskoyac", an attempt to render phonetically the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Known as "The Gateway to the North", The Pas is a multi-industry northern Manitoba town serving a district population of over 15,000 (including the Opaskwayak Cree Nation). The main components of the region's economy are agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing, tourism, transportation, and services (especially health and education). The main employer is a paper and lumber mill operated by Tolko Industries. The Pas contains one of the two main campuses of the University College of the North.

The Pas is bordered by the Rural Municipality of Kelsey, as well as part of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

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History

The area's original inhabitants were the Cree. They are thought to have migrated from the southeastern prairies over 9000 years ago[citation needed].

The first European recorded to encounter the Cree here was Henry Kelsey, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company. He travelled through the area between 1690 and 1692 on his way to the Canadian prairies.

During the years of New France, La Vérendrye, the first western military commander, directed the construction of Fort Pascoyac near here. It was named after the Opaskwayak Cree nation, or their word pasquia meaning "wooded narrows".

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