Historic Photos of Fort Edmonton

The Hudson’s Bay Company originally established Fort Edmonton back in 1795 along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The fortified trading post was strategically built next to their rivals, the North West Company’s Fort Augustus. Eventually, in 1821, the two companies were amalgamated, leaving Fort Edmonton as the leading centre of the fur trade within the Saskatchewan District. Over the ensuing years, the fort was relocated and rebuilt several times as it attempted to find the most successful location for trade with local First Nation groups.

Fort Edmonton
View of the fort with Legislature Building behind, Edmonton, Alberta, 1912

After serious flooding, the fort was reconstructed on higher ground in 1830. This new location was near the present-day Alberta Legislature Building, as you can see in some of these photos. John Rowand, a former fur trader who went on to become Chief Factor, was in charge of Fort Edmonton between 1826 and 1853. The fort thrived under his management, but after the HBC surrendered Rupert’s Land, the fort slowly fell into a state of disrepair and was eventually dismantled in 1915.

Fort Edmonton
The fort, Alberta, 1906

Today, the memory of Fort Edmonton lives on in its namesake park in southwest Edmonton. The park features a reconstruction of the original fort as a tribute to the city’s roots. The park is operated by the City of Edmonton.

Fort Edmonton
Hudson’s Bay Company fort, Edmonton, Alberta, 1914
Fort Edmonton
Legislative Buildings and the fort, Edmonton, Alberta, 1915
Fort Edmonton
View of the fort, showing southeast bastion, 1871
Fort Edmonton
View of the fort in winter, looking west from the flats, 1871
Fort Edmonton
View of the fort in winter, looking west from the flats, 1871
Fort Edmonton
Chief factor’s house, Alberta, 1871
Fort Edmonton
Hudson’s Bay Company fort, Edmonton, Alberta, 1912
Fort Edmonton
View of Fort Edmonton, Alberta, 1900
Fort Edmonton
View of the fort from across the river, Alberta, 1879
Fort Edmonton, Alberta, 1872
View of the fort from across the river, Edmonton, Alberta, 1884
Southwest stockades from inside the post, 1884
View of the Bastion, Alberta, 1884
Interior view of the yard, Alberta, 1884
Group outside Richard Hardisty’s home inside the fort, Alberta, 1880s
As viewed from across North Saskatchewan River, Alberta, 1871
The exterior, 1904. Object #A5474
Exterior view of one of the buildings at the old fort, n.d. Object #A10632
Two women sitting on a stagecoach inside the fort, 1912. Object #A17921

For additional photos and information about other historical forts that are found within Alberta, please refer to my previous posts; Fort Walsh National Historic Site, Fort Calgary, Fort Whoop-Up, Fort Normandeau, and From Police Outpost to Modern City.

View of the old Hudson’s Bay Company fort buildings with the Legislative buildings in the background, 1913. Object #A10631

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. If you search the object number that can be found in the photo captions, you will find additional information about the photographs on the Provincial Archives website. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 183 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.