Places of Historic Interest - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Posted by Rebecca on November 16, 1999 at 09:14:52:

In Reply to: Re: Places of Historic Interest - In YOUR home town? posted by MMMMarcia on November 16, 1999 at 08:00:17:

So, you want to know about Edmonton? Well, compared to Scotland our city's history is hardly developed.:)
The photo is of Fort Edmonton Park a replica of the original Fort..As you will find out below ,the Fort was moved three times from it's original location.Here is some of our history:

"The first European to reach Alberta was the fur trader Anthony Henday,who explored the region of present day Edmonton and Red Deer in 1754-55. Henday spent the winter with a tribe of Blackfoot Indians, with whom he went buffalo hunting and traded.

The fur trade was the primary factor in drawing Europeans to Alberta.In the early 1800s, the North West Company (NWC) sent explorer David Thompson to survey and make maps of the region. The fur traders needed a safe canoe route to the Pacific and Thompson provided the first reliable guides to Western Canada.
While the fur trade was flourishing in the Eastern provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the newly formed Company of Adventurers Trading into Hudsonís Bay (later became the
Hudsonís Bay Company) started to look west as the eastern streams were trapped out. Towards the end of the 18th century,the Hudsonís Bay Company built Fort Edmonton beside the North Saskatchewan River. In 1834 it was rebuilt in what is now Albertaís legislature grounds and it has been moved three times. A replica of the Fort stands near the river today, 3 km from the original site. It is believed that Fort Edmonton was named after the birthplace of Sir James Winter Lake, who was a high ranking official in the Hudson's Bay Company.

Also during the late 1700s, the North West Company, a rival of the Hudson's Bay Company,became a strong presence in the west. The traders took routes throughout Alberta that followed the rivers, Lake Athabasca to the north and by the Saskatchewan River to Fort Edmonton. In 1824, a road was built from Fort Edmonton to Fort Assiniboine on the Athabasca as part of the land route to the Pacific Ocean. Trade routes were established from all directions, with Edmonton as an important junction.

In 1821 the NWC merged with the Hudsonís Bay Company and HBC took
control of the entire Northwest. The company discouraged settlers, but they did allow missionaries. In 1838, the first Roman Catholic missionaries passed through Fort Edmonton on their way to open a mission at Fort Vancouver. In 1840, Methodist Minister Robert Rundle arrived at Fort Edmonton to permanently settle.

The quest for gold played a minor role in the early development of Edmonton. In the late 1800s, rumors of gold in the North Saskatchewan River attracted American prospectors headed for the Yukon. The Klondike Gold Rush was the most famous although short lived but was important in expanding Fort Edmonton from a simple fur trading post to a junction for services and trade routes.

In 1867, Canada became a nation that included the Eastern Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In 1870, the entire Northwest was turned over to the new confederation of Canada by the HBC. The government implemented policies to encourage settlement and economic expansion of the plains and formed the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP)in 1873 to keep the law and order. The Mounties established their first post in Alberta in 1874 at Fort MacLeod.
The missionaries welcomed the NWMP because they forced out American whiskey traders .A trail from Montana had been the route for whiskey and fearing the Northwest may be taken over by the US,the Mounties were designated to put a halt to this. This was quite a step for such a young country because the police had always been a provincial, not a federal responsibility. Red uniforms were chosen to differentiate them from the blue ensemble of the American cavalry. This color was distinct so the Natives would not be as alarmed by their presence.

The way of life of the tribes at this point in time had almost been destroyed as a result of the fur trade. Overhunting of the buffalo had depleted this resource and the natives found their lives had drastically altered. In a series of treaties with the government, the original inhabitants gave up virtually all of their land and moved onto reserves...."

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