Look towards the distant, unseen river banks and imagine lifting your canoe, laden down with heavy packs of furs, and walking those last exhausting steps to the fort after weeks away in the forest. As the building blocks of a new country are put in place, picture the bustle of a busy trading post: tipis at the gates, the smell of firewood mingling with the scent of fresh bread from the bakery, the shouts of traders as furs are loaded in.
As you explore the archaeological remains of this now empty landscape, picture how things were in the 1800s: the wooden gates and the white-washed buildings of the Hudson’s Bay Company headquarters for the Swan River District, men are working the fields growing grain and potatoes, and raising cattle and pigs. But far away, decisions are being made that will change this life forever. The route of the cross-Canada railroad bypasses the area and faster American rail and steamship routes finally spell the end for Fort Pelly.