Historic Canadian Forts

Fort Edmonton

Fort Edmonton (also named Edmonton House) was the name of a series of trading posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1795 to 1891, all of which were located in central Alberta,  Canada. From 1795 to 1821 it was paired with the North West Company’s Fort Augustus. It was the end point of the Carlton Trail, the main overland route for Metis freighters between the Red River Colony and the west and an important stop on the York Factory Express route between London, via Hudson Bay, and Fort Vancouver in the Columbia District.

Fort Chipewyan

Fort Chipewyan is one of the oldest European settlements in the Province of Alberta. It was established as a trading post by Peter Pond of the North West Company in 1788. The fort was named after the Chipewyan people living in the area.

From about 1815 to 1821 the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) maintained a competing Fort Wedderburn (named after Andrew Colvile‘s family) on Coal Island a mile and a half from the North West Company’s fort.[8] This fort was established by John Clarke, and Sir George Simpson arrived here in 1820-1821, where he began to reorganize the fur trade.[5]

Sir John Franklin set out from Fort Chipewyan on his overland Arctic journey on 1820. In 1887 – 1888 there was a great famine. Electric lights did not arrive in Fort Chipewyan until 1959.[5]

Fort Victoria

Fort Edmonton (also named Edmonton House) was the name of a series of trading posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1795 to 1891, all of which were located in central Alberta,  Canada. From 1795 to 1821 it was paired with the North West Company’s Fort Augustus. It was the end point of the Carlton Trail, the main overland route for Metis freighters between the Red River Colony and the west and an important stop on the York Factory Express route between London, via Hudson Bay, and Fort Vancouver in the Columbia District.

Rocky Mountain House

Rocky Mountain House was the westernmost post on the North Saskatchewan and was within sight of the Rocky Mountains. The fort facilitated trade with the Blackfeet and Piegans as well as the Kootenays across the mountains. The Kootenays were prevented from reaching Fort Edmonton by the Blackfeet and Piegans who wanted to profit as middlemen and keep them from getting guns. The fort also served as a base for finding a pass across the Rocky Mountains. The post also produced pemmican and York boats.

Bow Fort

In an attempt to lure the Peigan and Blackfoot Indians away from American traders on the Missouri River, the Hudson’s Bay Company constructed a fort four miles north of this point in 1832. It had a brief existence for the Blood Indians, who were supposed to trade in Edmonton were jealous and would not let their allies come to trade. The fort was under danger of attack on several occasions and was finally abandoned in January 1834.

Old Bow Fort was also known as Peigan Post.

Fort Macleod

Fort Macleod, originally named Macleod, is a town in the southwest of the province of Alberta, Canada. It was founded as a North-West Mounted Police barracks, and is named in honour of the North-West Mounted Police Colonel James Macleod. It was known as the Town of Macleod between 1892 and 1912.

Upper Fort Garry

Fort Garry, also known as Upper Fort Garry, was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg. It was established in 1822 on or near the site of the North West Company‘s Fort Gibraltar established by John Wills in 1810 and destroyed by Governor Semple’s men in 1816 during the Pemmican War.[1] Fort Garry was named after Nicholas Garry, deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It served as the centre of fur trade within the Red River Colony

Lower Fort Garry

Fort Garry, also known as Upper Fort Garry, was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg. It was established in 1822 on or near the site of the North West Company‘s Fort Gibraltar established by John Wills in 1810 and destroyed by Governor Semple’s men in 1816 during the Pemmican War.[1] Fort Garry was named after Nicholas Garry, deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It served as the centre of fur trade within the Red River Colony

Fort Bourbon

Fort Bourbon was one of the forts built by La Vérendrye during his expansion of trade and exploration west from Lake Superior. Besides providing support for the important fur trade in what is now Manitoba, La Vérendrye wanted to conduct exploration of potential routes for what he believed was an interior western sea.

The name “Fort Bourbon” was also given to York Factory while it was occupied by the French.

Fort Good Hope

 Established by the North West Company in 1805, it was the oldest fur-trading post in the lower Mackenzie Valley. The settlement is known for its picturesque and unusual church, Our Lady of Good Hope, which was decorated with murals by a Catholic priest in 1878 and restored back to its original condition in 1993.

Fort Smith

Fort Smith was founded around the Slave River. It served a vital link for water transportation between southern Canada and the western Arctic. Early fur traders found an established portage route from what is now Fort Fitzgerald on the western bank of the Slave River to Fort Smith. This route allowed its users to navigate the four sets of impassable rapids (Cassette Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Mountain Rapids, and Rapids of the Drowned). The portage trail had been traditionally used by local Indigenous people for centuries.[7]

Fort Resolution

It is the oldest documented European community in the Northwest Territories, built in 1819, and was a key link in the fur trade’s water route north. Fort Resolution is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada as the oldest continuously occupied place in the Northwest Territories with origins in the fur trade and the principal fur trade post on Great Slave Lake.

Fort Langley

he original Fort Langley in 1827 at a location 4 km downstream from its present site. Fort Langley was intentionally constructed on the south bank of the Fraser River in the event that Fort Vancouver was lost to the Americans, then Fort Langley would secure British claims to both sides of the Fraser. By 1830, Fort Langley had become a major export port for salted salmon in barrels, as well as cedar lumber and shingles to the Hawaiian Islands.Fort Langley was named for Thomas Langley, an HBC director.

Fort St. John

The first, built by the North West Company and named Rocky Mountain Fort in 1794, was replaced with Fort d’Epinette in 1806 near the mouth of the Beatton River (renamed Fort St John by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821). The HBC fort was later relocated 3 more times near the site of the present-day city; the last one at Fish Creek.

Fort George

Faced with a declining supply of beaver and the increasing unrest of plains tribes at Pine Island Fort, the North West Company moved 120 miles upriver and established Fort George. It was one of the several places also known as Fort des Prairies. Angus Shaw, who came south from Moose Lake (Alberta) was in charge for most of its history. Two of his clerks were Duncan McGillivray and John McDonald of Garth. Sixty to eighty men were there and an almost equal number of women and children.

Brandon House

In 1793 Donald McKay le malin and John Sutherland of the Hudson’s Bay company established Brandon House about 100 yards away from the new NWC post. It was supplied from Fort Albany, Ontario on James Bay. McKay lived up to his nickname by shooting at Joseph Augé who ran the NWC post. From 1795 they traded with the Mandans. There were usually two trips per year, in October and January. Using dog sleds or horses, they followed the Souris River as far as Minot, North Dakota and then headed southwest across the prairie.

Pembina

A fur trader with the North West Company, Alexander Henry, wrote that the first Red River Cart appeared in 1801, at Fort Pembina on the Red River near the Canadian/ U.S. border. 

Rat Portage

About 1836, the Hudson’s Bay Company built a small fur-trading post on Old Fort Island situated below the falls on the eastern outlet of Lake of the Woods. The post was moved to the mainland 25 years later where it formed the nucleus of the community of Rat Portage, later renamed Kenora.

Fort William

Initially, the Nor’Westers used Grand Portage as their ‘rendezvous’ point near Pigeon River in what is now Minnesota. However, the establishment of the American border in 1783 and subsequent threat of customs duties forced the Nor’Westers to find another inland base in British-held territory. They resurrected the old French route at the Kaministiquia River in 1801 and held their first rendezvous at Fort Kaministiquia in 1803.

In 1807, the name of the fort was changed to Fort William, after William McGillivray, Chief Director of the North West Company from 1804-1821.

Chesterfield House

Located on the Alberta side of the Saskatchewan Alberta border. Peter fiddler helped establish the HBC trading post known as Chesterfield House. In 1801 Chesterfield house produced 1200 beaver, the best take of any post that year.

Ile a La Crosse

Île-à-la-Crosse is the second oldest community in Saskatchewan, Canada, following establishment of the Red River Colony in 1811. It sits at the end of a 20 km (12 mi) long peninsula on the western shore of Lac Île-à-la-Crosse, and is linked with Peter Pond Lake (historically Buffalo Lake) and Churchill Lake (historically Clear Lake) through a series of interconnected lakes, rivers, and portage routes.

Carlton House

Carlton House was a major Hudson’s Bay Company post, it was strategically situated at the edge of the buffalo-rich Plains on major transportation and communication routes. It was first established in 1795 below the forks of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers, it moved to its present location in 1810 where it remained in continuous use until 1885 when it
was destroyed during the North-West Rebellion/Resistance.