Fort Edmonton (1795-1915) - A Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) fur trading post first established in 1795 near present day Edmonton, Alberta. Named after an estate in England owned by HBC Deputy Governor, Sir James Winter Lake. Moved to four different locations and consolidated with the North West Company, (NWC), Fort Augustus when the companies merged in 1821. Abandoned in 1915. Also known as Edmonton House and Fort Sanpareil.
History of Fort Edmonton
Site #1 (1795-1802)
The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) established Fort Edmonton in 1795 at the junction of the Saskatchewan and Sturgeon Rivers. The selected site was close to the North West Company (NWC) post known as Fort Augustus.
Site #2 and #3 (1802-1830)
By 1802 the fur trade had declined and the firewood supply was exhausted at the first site so the forts were relocated about 18 miles upriver. The new site was located at a traditional native meeting site and campground now known as the Rossdale Flats in Edmonton.
From 1810 to 1813 an attempt to relocate the forts some 50 miles down stream (site #3) failed and site #2 was reoccupied.
In 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company merged under the HBC name but the Fort Augustus name was dropped in favor of the Fort Edmonton name. A series of floods at this site caused the Chief Factor to move the site to higher ground several hundred feet away.
Site #4 (1830-1915)
The final site of the HBC post is now occupied by the grounds of the Alberta Legislature building and the remaining HBC buildings were removed in 1915 to make way for that building. By that time the HBC had converted from a fur trading operation to a retail goods operation and there was no need for fortified trading posts. Retail stores and other buildings replaced the old facilities.
John Rowand was the Chief Factor at Fort Augustus from 1804-1806 and 1808-1821. After the merger he was a Chief Trader until he became the Chief Factor at Fort Edmonton from 1823 until his death in 1854.
Must See! A replica of the 1846 HBC fort has been created as a part of the Fort Edmonton Park in Edmonton, Alberta. This is not the actual site of the fort. The replica includes a massive stockade with four bastions and a watch tower. The centerpiece of the interior is the four story chief factor's residence known as the Rowand House. The central square includes replicas of the clerks quarters, the trade store, the mens quarters and blacksmith quarters/shop. Other buildings including a boat shed surround the central buildings. Admission charge includes all of the attractions and a vintage train ride to the entrance of the 1846 HBC fort.
Besides the 1846 fort, the park includes three other time period recreations of Edmonton development including representations of a 1885 street, a 1905 street and 1920 street.
The actual site of the last Fort Edmonton is marked by concrete pillar and marker at the northeast corner of the lawn bowling court on the Legislature Building Grounds on the north side of the river. This marker was placed at the location of the northeast bastion. A second marker is located along the sidewalk at the location of the northwest bastion.
Visited: 11 Jul 2014