Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan
View of buildings inside the fort © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003
buildings inside the fort
© Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003
View of buildings inside the fort © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003View of building and stockade catwalk inside the fort © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003View of Fort Carlton, 1871 © Charles Horetzky, Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et archives du Canada, 1871
Address : Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1976-06-15
Dates:
  • 1810 to 1810 (Construction)
  • 1876 to 1876 (Significant)
  • 1885 to 1885 (Significant)
  • 1845 to 1845 (Addition)
  • 1855 to 1855 (Other addition)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Indian Treaty No.6  (Event)
  • North-West Rebellion/Resistance  (Event)
  • Hudson Bay Company  (Organization)
  • North West Company  (Organization)
  • North-West Mounted Police  (Organization)
  • Cree First Nation  (People, group)
  • Blackfoot First Nation  (People, group)
  • Métis  (People, group)
Other Name(s):
  • Carlton House  (Designation Name)
  • Fort Carlton  (Other Name)
  • CARLTON HOUSE  (Plaque name)
Research Report Number: 1968-029, 1976-SUA, 2009-SDC-CED-070, 2010-027

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan

An important fur trade post and supply depot, Carlton House was strategically situated at the edge of the buffalo-rich Plains on major transportation and communication routes. It was first built below the forks of the Saskatchewan River in 1795, and relocated twice before this site was chosen in 1810. Here Cree, Assiniboine and Métis peoples traded furs and provisions for European goods. In 1884, the North-West Mounted Police garrisoned the post, then also known as Fort Carlton. The next year, during the North-West Resistance, it was abandoned and destroyed by fire. Approved Inscription 1996

Description of Historic Place

Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada is located in Fort Carlton Provincial Park, approximately 100 kilometres north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The site consists of the remains of forts constructed here, on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, between 1810 and 1885. There are no visible remains of the 1810 and 1845 forts, but building foundations and other archaeological remains exist from the 1855 fort. The Province of Saskatchewan has created a reconstruction of Carlton House based on archaeological findings, which includes five buildings and a stockade. Surrounding the fort is a flat grassed area, woods, and the low foothills of the plains. Official recognition refers to a polygon measuring 30 metres surrounding the combined footprints of the three Carlton houses.

Heritage Value

Carlton House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because:
- as 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;
- 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;
- it was, for a time, an important fur trade and supply centre and a North West Mounted Police
post; and,
- Indian Treaty No.6 was signed here in 1876.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established the first Fort Carlton in 1795 below the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers. It operated there for nearly a decade before being relocated approximately 150 kilometres southwest. This new site was strategically located on major transportation and communication routes linking the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan River. Several generations of forts were constructed at this site including structures built in 1810, 1845 and 1855. The North West and Hudson’s Bay companies jointly established the 1810 fortified post in response to hostility from the Cree and Blackfoot Nations. The two companies operated as separate entities within a single palisade. The Hudson’s Bay Company portion of the joint fort was referred to as “Carlton House.” From then on, this name was used to refer to the site as a whole. The 1845 and 1855 forts were constructed after the union of the two companies to accommodate increased personnel and to repair structural deterioration. During its occupation, Carlton House was an important fur trade and supply centre; and, for a short time, the fort was leased from the Hudson’s Bay Company by the North-West Mounted Police as their main base in the Saskatchewan Valley region.

Between 1871 and 1877, following the purchase of Rupert’s Land, the Canadian government signed seven treaties with the First Nations peoples of the Northwest. Indian Treaty No.6 negotiations took place at Carlton House in mid-August 1876. The treaty was signed on August 23 by representatives of the crown and representatives of the Plains and Woods Cree. Carlton House remained in continuous operation until it was destroyed during the North-West Rebellion/Resistance in 1885.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements relating to the heritage value of the site include: - its remote location in Fort Carlton Provincial Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; - its setting near the North Saskatchewan river on a flat piece of land, sheltered by the high banks that bound the plains; - its strategic placement on major transportation and communication routes; - the remains of all three phases of the fort, in their location, extent and materials, both discovered and undiscovered; - any archaeological remains relating to the 1810 fort; - any archaeological remains relating to the six-sided or “lozenge-shaped” 1845 fort, including evidence of building foundations; - any archaeological remains relating to the 1855 fort, including evidence of its rectangular plan, foundations, cellars, stockades, remains from the eight log buildings located within the stockade, and remains of the various structures located beyond the stockade such as the lime kilns, stables, men’s houses, warehouses, blacksmith shops and gardens; - the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains including building foundations, artefacts and in situ vestiges belonging to the period of occupation from 1810 to 1885, in their original placement and extent; - the viewscapes to and from the Saskatchewan River and surrounding fields.