Difficulty: Easy - Family
Fort Battleford National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Battleford is a National Historic Site of Canada, once operated by the North West Mounted Police, located near the banks of the Battle and North Saskatchewan Rivers in the Town of Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Battleford in 1876, before the formation of the province of Alberta, was the capital city of the Northwest Territories during the wild west era. That same year the Battle River Fort was built - only to be later named Fort Battleford.
The 1876 fort was built so to police the region's fur trade and to police the growing hostilities developing between the local First Nation people and the Canadian Government. It stayed in operation until 1924. Fort Battleford is one of the oldest national parks in Canada.
In the beginning Fort Battleford employed only 10 men and 16 horses. At the peak of the battles between the First Nation people and the Canadian Government the fort grew to 200 men and 116 horses.
The biggest battle being the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. It was an uprising created by the lack of progress of treaty negotiations, the poor treatment by the NWMP (North West Mounted Police) and the fast demise of their traditional ways of life.
Fort Battleford was a base for all police operations conducted in the Saskatchewan region. There were many battles in the late 1800s including Cut Knife Hill, Frenchman Butte, The hunt for Big Bear, Steel Narrows and the Battle at Fort Pitt.
Today, Fort Battleford is a paid attraction with a historic story to tell. The Fort Battleford National Historic Site of Canada measures over 22 hectares (54 acres) in size.
There are historic displays, heritage sites, events, exhibits and interpretive walking trails. The walking trails lead to 5 original fort buildings and building markers indicating the site of some of the original buildings of the past.
There are costumed actors providing interpretive guided tours. Some actors are dressed as First Nation, some are pioneer settlers and some are North West Mounted Police.
There are 5 original fort buildings with 4 of the buildings located inside the stockade walls. They include the horse stable, guardhouse, Commanding Officer's residence (oldest building) and the Officer's Quarters. The 5th building, Barracks 5, is located outside the walls and is currently operating as a museum with artifacts, exhibits and displays.
The reception area greets all visitors to the fort. There is a gift shop, information centre, washrooms and a concession serving snacks and drinks. Outside the reception building is a day use picnic area.