Fort Assiniboine National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Assiniboine, Alberta
The Fort Assiniboine museum lies immediately east of the Legion Hall and the cairn
for Fort Assiniboine NHS. © Woodlands County, Fort Assiniboine Museum, August 2009.
The Fort Assiniboine museum.
© Woodlands County, Fort Assiniboine Museum, August 2009.
The Fort Assiniboine museum lies immediately east of the Legion Hall and the cairn
for Fort Assiniboine NHS. © Woodlands County, Fort Assiniboine Museum, August 2009.The fur trade route promoted by Governor Simpson as being the more efficient and
faster route to the Pacific. © Peter J. Murphy et al, 2007.The cairn and HSMBC plaque for Fort Assiniboine NHS. The legion building is behind the cairn. © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 1989
Address : Township Road 661, Fort Assiniboine, Alberta

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1935-05-29
Dates:
  • 1823 to 1823 (Construction)
  • 1877 to 1877 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Hudson’s Bay Company  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Fort Assiniboine  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2009-CED-SDC-065, 1968-029

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque: In front of the Legion Main Street, Fort Assiniboine, Alberta

A fur trade post was built here by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1823. Two years later, with the completion of a road from Edmonton House, Fort Assiniboine became a key trans-shipment point in a new continental transportation system. From this time the principal route across western British North America was via the Saskatchewan River to Edmonton, overland to Fort Assiniboine and from there up the Athabasca River to the Athabasca and Yellowhead passes, which connect to the Pacific watershed. In the mid-1850s the Company abandoned its transmountain system, and closed this post in the late 1870s.

Original Plaque:  Fort Assiniboine, Alberta

A trading post built here in 1823 by the Hudson’s Bay Company was fortified in 1825 and became a relay station on a new, faster, less dangerous and less expensive fur trade route. Thereafter voyageurs came here by horse from Edmonton and continued by canoe towards the North and the West. The scarcity of furs, the centralization of company administration and the security of the Canadian-American frontier led to the abandonment of the fort in 1842.

Description of Historic Place

Fort Assiniboine National Historic Site of Canada is located on the banks of the Athabasca River in the community of Fort Assiniboine, Alberta. The newly amalgamated Hudson’s Bay Company built the fort in 1823 as part of a safer southern trading route connecting the Saskatchewan and Athabasca River systems. There are no known above ground remains of the fort. Official recognition refers to a polygon of land surrounding vestiges relating to the fort.

Heritage Value

Fort Assiniboine was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1935 because: built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1823, Fort Assiniboine became a key trans-shipment point in a new, faster, less dangerous and less expensive continental transportation system linking the Saskatchewan and Assiniboine rivers.

Fort Assiniboine was built following the merger of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company in 1823. The fort was fortified, in 1825, after a road was completed between Fort Edmonton and Fort Assiniboine, creating a safer and faster southern route connecting the Saskatchewan and Athabasca river systems. It remained an important post for a quarter century until the Hudson’s Bay Company again changed its shipping routes, excluding the fort. The scarcity of furs, the centralization of company administration, and the security of the Canadian-American frontier led to the abandonment of Fort Assiniboine in 1842. It was closed in 1877 and the abandoned shells of the buildings were burned down a short time later.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1968, September 2009.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: its setting on the Athabasca River in the community of Fort Assiniboine, Alberta; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains relating to the fort, which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent; the viewscapes from the site across the Athabasca River.