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The Northwest Territories or Rupert's Land had been granted to The Hudson Bay Company on May 1670 by Charter from King Charles II. The departure of MacDougall and Cartier for London in October of 1868 was intended to negotiate as good a deal as could be got from the HBC and the Imperial authorities in order to enable a railway link t the west coast and the potential entry of British Columbia into Canada.

Terms were agreed to in March of 1869 and a Deed of Surrender by the HBC was effected on November 1, 1869 which saw the transfer of the area to Canada in exchange for £300,000, retention of 450,000 acres around it's trading posts, another 7 million acres of land and the right to continue it's fur trade in the area. The terms of the deal delighted John A Macdonald as Canada absorbed nearly 4,000,000 square kilometres of land.

The Canadian government had not seriously considered the 11,500 white and Métis inhabitants the Fort Garry area or the aboriginal people of the entire area. While this was an attempt to prevent the lands from falling in to American hands as their influence was quickly spreading North from St Paul, an effective way of travelling to the west would have to be found or built.