Fort Victoria
Fort Victoria, Alberta
Location in Alberta
LocationSmoky Lake, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates54°00′14″N 112°23′53″W / 54.00384°N 112.39810°W / 54.00384; -112.39810Coordinates: 54°00′14″N 112°23′53″W / 54.00384°N 112.39810°W / 54.00384; -112.39810
TypeNational Historic Site, Cultural landscape
WebsiteVictoria Settlement
Official nameVictoria District National Historic Site of Canada
Designated17 October 2001 (2001-10-17)

Fort Victoria, near present-day Smoky Lake, Alberta, was established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1864 on the North Saskatchewan River as a trading post with the local Cree First Nations.[1] It had previously been settled in 1862 as a Methodist Missionary site, on the location of an aboriginal meeting place.[2][3][4] Today, it is a historical museum known as Victoria Settlement.

Location and setting

Victoria was located on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, downstream from Edmonton House on the way to Fort Pitt, and also along the overland route between the two, part of the Carlton Trail system.[5] The fur trading post at Victoria was minor compared to Edmonton but soon attracted a small agricultural settlement around itself much like that at other Hudson's Bay Company. posts at this time.

History

Established by colonists as a missionary site in 1862-63, Victoria was the home for the McDougall missionary family. This site was chosen because of its popularity as a Cree gathering and hunting area[6]

Land in the area was divided in the customary French river lot system and a mixed community of First Nations, Métis, and Europeans developed. For several miles on each side of the present-day museum the river lot system is still in use, the farm here predating the large, square tracts of the Dominion Lands Act which surround them.[7][8] Fort Victoria serves as an example of communities shifting from subsistence on wildlife -- specifically bison -- to livestock and agriculture.[9]

In 1864 George Flett was given the job of opening a Hudson's Bay Company trading post at Fort Victoria.[10] Flett was of Orkney and Cree descent.[10] Flett and John Norris led the first brigade of Red River ox-carts from Winnipeg to Edmonton, taking three and a half months on the journey.[11] As clerk in charge of the post until 1866, Flett was responsible for arranging for construction of the buildings and for opening up trade with the local Indians. Flett was successful in quickly obtaining a supply of good-quality furs, which Flett and his assistants took by horse and dog train to Fort Edmonton.[10] The oldest building in Alberta still on its original foundations is the clerk's quarters at Fort Victoria, which dates from 1865.[12]

Later the site of the Fort became a hub for the early settlement of East-Central Alberta. It came to be called the Victoria Settlement and later, Pakan, after the Cree chief Pakannuk.[13] Still later, the settlement continued to serve as a Methodist mission to Ukrainian Canadian settlers in the region.[12]

The post was also a vital stop on the trail from Winnipeg to Edmonton. The section of the trail currently within the eastern part of the city of Edmonton is a now a paved road called Victoria Trail in honour of the fort and of this route's historic past as an indigenous trail and trade route.[14]

The Fort lies within the larger Victoria District, as well as the Kalyna Country ecomuseum. It has been designated a national historic site of Canada,[2] a provincial historic site of Alberta,[1] as well as municipally designated by Smoky Lake County.[15]

Victoria Park Cemetery

Plaque at Victoria Cemetery, near Smoky Lake, Alberta.
Plaque at Victoria Cemetery, near Smoky Lake, Alberta.

The Victoria Park Cemetery was established circa 1896 by the Methodist church and is located on a hill overlooking the river. It is the second of six cemeteries established in the settlement. It contains approximately 100 recognizable graves from both Native and Settler communities, likely including victims of an 1870 smallpox epidemic.[16] It was restored and rededicated in 1999.[14]

Victoria District National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Victoria and the Victoria Park Cemetery is situated within the larger geographic space of the Victoria District, which itself is currently one of twenty-three national historic sites in Alberta; only three, including the Victoria District, are north of Edmonton. Of these sites, the Victoria District is the only rural national historic site in Alberta.[2][17][18]

See also

Affiliations

The Museum at Fort Victoria is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.

References

  1. ^ a b "Alberta Register of Historic Places". hermis.alberta.ca. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  2. ^ a b c "Victoria District National Historic Site of Canada".
  3. ^ Losey, Timothy C.; Prager, Gabriella (1975). "A CONSIDERATION OF THE EFFECTS OF THE DEMISE OF BISON ON THE SUBSISTENCE ECONOMY OF FORT VICTORIA: A LATE 19TH CENTURY HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY POST". Bulletin (Canadian Archaeological Association) (7): 162–182. ISSN 0315-761X.
  4. ^ Sutherland, Paul. "Fort Pitt to Edmonton: the other route." Alberta History 60, no. 4 (2012): 17+. Gale Academic OneFile (accessed October 21, 2021). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A307917996/AONE?u=nysl_oweb&sid=googleScholar&xid=f1dcaf22.
  5. ^ Pyszczyk, H. W. The Fort Victoria Faunal Analysis: Considerations of Subsistence Change of the Fur Trade Era in North Central Alberta. Thesis. University of Manitoba, 1979, p. 1. Accessed 21 Oct 2021 at https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/bitstream/handle/1993/14332/Pyszczyk_The_fort.pdf?sequence=1
  6. ^ Ironside, R.G. and Tomasky, E. "Agriculture and River Settlement in Western Canada: The Case of Pakan (Victoria), Alberta," in Prairie Forum 1(1), April 1976: 7. Accessed 21 October 2021 at https://ourspace.uregina.ca/bitstream/handle/10294/128/PF_v1_no1.pdf?sequence=1
  7. ^ Jared (2021-08-06). "Métis Crossing and the historic Victoria Trail". RETROactive. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  8. ^ Ironside, R.G. and Tomasky, E. "Agriculture and River Settlement in Western Canada: The Case of Pakan (Victoria), Alberta," in Prairie Forum 1(1), April 1976: 3. Accessed 21 October 2021 at https://ourspace.uregina.ca/bitstream/handle/10294/128/PF_v1_no1.pdf?sequence=1
  9. ^ Pyszczyk, H. W. The Fort Victoria Faunal Analysis: Considerations of Subsistence Change of the Fur Trade Era in North Central Alberta. Thesis. University of Manitoba, 1979, p. 6. Accessed 21 Oct 2021 at https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/bitstream/handle/1993/14332/Pyszczyk_The_fort.pdf?sequence=1
  10. ^ a b c Block, Alvina (Spring–Summer 1999). "George Flett, Presbyterian Missionary to the Ojibwa at Okanase". Manitoba History. Winnipeg. 37. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  11. ^ Goyette, Linda; Roemmich, Carolina Jakeway (2005). Edmonton in Our Own Words. University of Alberta. p. 58. ISBN 0-88864-449-3.
  12. ^ a b Historical Walking and Driving Tours: Victoria Trail. Alberta Community Development: Alberta Recreation and Parks, 2003. P. 13. Accessed 21 October 2021 at https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/119929f7-9429-418d-8b88-24acb1ffc9b9/resource/fdd4bdd7-4ec0-40d0-a39e-1730392e2c41/download/tour-kalyna-victoria-trail.pdf
  13. ^ Historical Walking and Driving Tours: Victoria Trail. Alberta Community Development: Alberta Recreation and Parks, 2003. P. 7. Accessed 21 October 2021 at https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/119929f7-9429-418d-8b88-24acb1ffc9b9/resource/fdd4bdd7-4ec0-40d0-a39e-1730392e2c41/download/tour-kalyna-victoria-trail.pdf Categories
  14. ^ a b "Victoria Trail". Kalyna Country. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  15. ^ "Victoria Settlement". Smoky Lake. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  16. ^ Historical Walking and Driving Tours: Victoria Trail. Alberta Community Development: Alberta Recreation and Parks, 2003. P. 26. Accessed 21 October 2021 at https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/119929f7-9429-418d-8b88-24acb1ffc9b9/resource/fdd4bdd7-4ec0-40d0-a39e-1730392e2c41/download/tour-kalyna-victoria-trail.pdf
  17. ^ "Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site".
  18. ^ "Smoky Lake County Victoria District Area Structure Plan" (PDF).