Fort Normandeau is a picnic and historical destination located in the community of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. The park is part of a larger park and trail network in Red Deer called Waskasoo Park.
A large interpretive centre building welcomes visitors to Fort Normandeau. There is a gift store, coffee shop and washrooms. A paid admission is required to access the fort but not to access the grounds.
The fort and the staff at Fort Normandeau tell the early stories of the three founding cultures of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada - the Blackfoot and Cree First Nation people, the Metis Buffalo Hunters and the early European settlers.
The picnic day use area on the grounds of the fort includes some picnic tables and fire pits. Located around the fort are sitting benches and monuments. Many of which include information and interpretive signs detailing the history of the region and the geography.
On the banks of the Red Deer River is a canoe launch for fishing and for canoeing. In the corner of the grounds are some horseshoe pits.
Long ago the area was referred to as the Red Deer Crossing Settlement. It was, at the time, the gateway between northern and southern Alberta for troops, pioneers, fur traders and settlers.
The main building of Fort Normandeau was the original hotel of the Red Deer Crossing Settlement which once serviced explorers traveling the Calgary-Edmonton Trail.
In 1885, during the North-West Rebellion, the hotel was overrun by troops led by Lieutenant Bedard Normandeau. The squad reinforced the walls, built towers and added a palisade transforming the log structure into a fort.
After the threat of war had subsided the fort changed hands operating as a police headquarters and a farm building. Many years later the fort was reconstructed and in 1974 Fort Normandeau was open for visitors.