Fort Assiniboine National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Assiniboine, Alberta
The Fort Assiniboine museum.
© Woodlands County, Musée Fort Assiniboine Museum, August | Août, 2009.
24 State Avenue, Fort Assiniboine, Alberta
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1823 to 1823
1877 to 1877
Event, Person, Organization:
Hudson’s Bay Company
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: 24 State Avenue, 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.
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.
Fort Assiniboine was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1935. It is recognized 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; Indigenous Peoples, their territories, and labour were foundational to the fur trade in North America. Posts were often built near existing Indigenous settlements, trading routes and/or meeting places and became important sites of economic, social and cultural exchange.
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, December 2020.
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.