Fort Carlton Provincial Historic Park
Fort Carlton, in the Historic Park of the same name was built in 1820 at the bottom of a valley by a natural ford of the North Saskatchewan River.For 75 years it was an important outpost, lying as it did at the junction of a main waterway, the North Saskatchewan River, with an important overland route - the Carlton Trail - which linked Winnipeg with Fort Edmonton.In its early years the fort's main task was to provide the river patrols and other posts of the Hudson's Bay Company with supplies. It obtained meat, lard, furs and skins from the Indians and other traders, in exchange for rifles, tobacco, clothing, blankets, pearls and metal goods such as cooking utensils, axes, knives and traps.Even when canoe patrols, York boats and steamships came west the fort remained an important trading center and continued to look after the settlers who arrived in the 1870s.Officers of the Northwest Mounted Police were sent to the fort to negotiate with the Indians.East of the fort a stone pyramid marks the spot where a treaty was signed under the terms of which the Cree Indians renounced their claim to 320,000 sq. km (123,500 sq. mi.) of land.Using the fort as a base Commander Crozier of Battleford first led his troops into battle near Duck Lake against the insurgents in the Northwest Rebellion in 1885. The police troops suffered heavy losses and retreated to the fort. As they were unable to defend it the post was surrendered and the troops withdrew to Prince Albert. During the hastily organized evacuation fire broke out and destroyed large parts of the fort.Earlier this century archaeologists examined the site and as a result it has been possible to carry out a partial reconstruction of Fort Carlton as it once was. In 1967 the historical provincial park was opened.The period around 1860 is also reflected in the rebuilt wooden houses and stockade fences. At one end stands the largest building, a Hudson's Bay Company store, equipped with the type of goods needed in those days, such as blankets, rifles, pearls, pipes and snowshoes. Also displayed here are agricultural products, dried meat and lard which formed the basis of the fur-traders' diet.Another wooden shack, fitted out with old furniture, gives a good idea of how the Hudson's Bay Company's employees lived in the late 19th c.A press has also been installed, such as was used to press skins and hides into compact bundles.Various kinds of furs are exhibited in another wooden shack, together with information about the fur trade.A short path leads to the river where the fur-traders tied up their boats and stored goods and provisions.
The Carlton Trail starts behind the picnic site and threads its way over hills and through woods, where the old trappers' path can still be seen.