Today taking advantage of the sunshine we drove to Victoria Settlement and Fort George Buckingham House a total of 400 miles rt and a 10 hour day. It was our intent to only visit Victoria Settlement and then visit the Ukrainian Heritage site nearby, but since we were only 100 miles from Fort George decided it would be better to continue rather than make a separate trip. The Ukrainian site is only 50 miles away and we can do that on another nice day.
Fort Victoria (Victoria Settlement) is near the town of Smokey Lake on the North Saskatchewan River off Hwy 855. It was established by the Hudson Bay Company in 1864 as a trading post with the local Cree First Nations. The Settlement is a story of missionaries, Metis settlers and fur traders. Reverend George McDougall founded a Methodist Mission to the Cree in 1862.In addition to converting and educating the Aboriginals, he also wanted to end warfare between the Cree and Blackfoot. In 1870 he and his wife lost 3 children to the smallpox epidemic and his wife died the following year after moving to Edmonton. The church still stands as does the Clerk's quarters. The clerk's quarters is the oldest building in Alberta still standing on its original foundation. The post was a vital stop on the trail from Winnipeg to Edmonton.Poor trade returns forced the closure of the post in 1883.
After a picnic lunch, we then traveled to Fort George and Buckingham House near Elk Point AB located near Hwy 41. This was the location of two competing fur trade posts from the 1790's. After visiting the interpretive center, the path to the two sites is about 1/2 mile through the woods. All that remains today are outlines of some of the buildings and interpretive signs. There is a beautiful view of the North Saskatchewan River and nearby farmlands. Buckingham House belonged to the HBC and Fort George to the North West Company. At one time Fort George housed 60-80 men and almost an equal number of women and children. By 1800 the beaver population has so declined that the fort was abandoned.Buckingham House was established in 1792 with fewer men and less trade goods than Fort George. This was also abandoned in 1800.
|Main House Buckingham|
|Main House Signage|
|North Saskatchewan River|
Rain is in the forecast for next few days and Monday we take the tow in for new thermostat. It has been a good car for our travels, but not without its problems from time to time. After all it does have 145,000 not including the 51,000 tow miles. We depart Thursday to Saskatoon SK. Received call that Provincial Park in Manitoba we were to stay is flooded. This was near Dauphin. We have been rebooked at Asessippi Provincial Park south on the Assiniboine River. Somewhat primitive, but Ok for 3 nights.
From there we will travel to Winnipeg for a week. Keeping a close watch on weather as flooding has been reported in some areas.