The first building known as Government House was a residence inside the walls of Upper Fort Garry that was occupied by Louis Riel as President of the Provisional Government of Red River in 1869-70.

Manitoba became the fifth province of Canada in 1870 and the first Lieutenant Governor, Adams Archibald, arrived on September 2. He set up temporary quarters at Upper Fort Garry in Hudson’s Bay House, also known as the McTavish House, instead of occupying Silver Heights, the residence leased for him five miles from Winnipeg. However, the following spring, 1871, Archibald relocated to Silver Heights on the old Portage Trail near the Assiniboine River but was decidedly unhappy about the size of the house chosen as Government House and its distance from the capital. The problem was solved later that year when Silver Heights was sold, necessitating a new official residence.

The Lieutenant Governor relocated to Upper Fort Garry in early 1872 and established Government House in the residence of the last Governor of Rupert’s Land, owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company. A third storey was added in 1873 and Government House remained at Upper Fort Garry until 1883 when the current residence at 10 Kennedy Street was completed.