Today we drove to Fort St James via Hwy 16 west to Hwy 27 north around 120 miles. Of course we had to stop at Tim Horton's in Vanderhoof for donut and coffee.
Fort St James established in 1806 was one of the first fur posts in the province. Originally it was the North West Co before merging with Hudson Bay Company in 1821. The company ceased operations in 1952. The post sits on Stuart Lake and is one of British Columbia's oldest permanent European settlements. The fort has been rebuilt four times and is now a National Historic site. Some of the buildings date back to 1880. It proved to be a lucrative location for fur trading. The territory was inhabited by the First Nations Dakelh.
|Signage for Fort Layout|
|Trade and Warehouse|
In those days, beaver skins were used for trading of items such as guns,food etc. at the trading store which was destroyed by fire in 1919. The building today is an authentic reconstruction.
|Trade Store & Office|
|Checking out some items|
The warehouse contained the goods for the Fort and surrounding outposts. Furs were stored here where they were baled for their journey by water and land to Victoria. From here they were shipped via Cape of Good Horn to Europe. The journey took 1 year with a return the same bringing goods back from Europe. I was taken aback viewing all the different furs still housed here.
|Warehouse & Fur Store|
|Lots of Furs|
|Explaining the Different Furs|
|Items for Trade|
|Overview of Warehouse|
The blockhouse looking building was known as the Fish Cache where dried salmon and bacon were stored.
|Dried salmon and bacon|
The Men's House served as a residence for employees, pack train hands, boat crews and visitors. It later served as a schoolhouse and private residence during the 30's and 40's. John decided to take a rest in an early lounger with footrest and buffalo cover.
|John Relaxing in 1800's Lounger|
The Murray House was the residence for the factor in charge and his family and has been restored as well.
Next to the Murray House is the chicken training area for Brahma Chickens. Had never seen this breed. They train them to race by placing one to a cage, then opening the slot and racing them down a separated racing lanes. They are really fast.
|At the Finish|
The interpreters do a wonderful job of educating on the life in the fort, especially about the trade.
We had lunch in the Cafe with a beautiful view of Stuart Lake.
For more info go to www.pc.gc.ca/stjames