Looking for an historic adventure? Our readers share their picks of Canadian forts to add to your must-see list
They were built over the last two centuries to defend our young country, and now they stand as a testament to the history of Canada. Across the country, our forts offer a glimpse back into our past… Not to mention some beautiful views and fun activities for all ages.
In Canadian forts to visit, we offered a small sampling of historic forts — including Fort Anne in Nova Scotia, Fort George in Ontario, British Columbia’s Fort Langley and Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan. Naturally, our readers chimed in with their favourites forts.
Here are their top 10 picks:
Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Victoria, British Columbia
Why you’ll love it: This fort gets the nod from readers for its beautiful views. With the coastline and mountains as a backdrop, the fort and nearby Fisgard Lighthouse offer some fantastic photo ops. Built in the 1890s, this coastal artillery fort was intended to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base, and today visitors can explore the underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, and barracks.
Highlights: Get in on the action with Historic Military Encampment in May and July’s Annual Historic Garrison Camp. Antique car buffs won’t want to miss Annual Old English Car Affair in the Park each September.
Fort St. James National Historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia
Why you’ll love it: One of the first permanent fur trading posts in the West built in 1805-1806, Fort St. James now offers a look at life in 1896 — including a fur warehouse and storage facility, tramway, trade store and gardens. Its location on the shores of Stuart Lake offers fun for outdoor enthusiasts too, including hiking, sailing, fishing and mountain biking.
Highlights: Foodies won’t want to miss the local fare at Salmon Day (July 17) — with its “iron chef” salmon cook off — and Harvest Day (August 28) which highlights local agriculture.
More information: Parks Canada.
The Town of Fort Macleod, Alberta
Why you’ll love it: Nestled in the Rockies along the Edmonton River Valley, this town thrives on preserving its past. Here you’ll find the Fort Museum of the North West Mounted Police and First Nations which documents the early history of the NWMP (later to be known as the RCMP) . You can also visit the Northwest Mounted Police 1884 Barracks Provincial Historic Site and nearby Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump while you’re in town.
Highlights: Starting July 1st, catch the NWMP Musical Ride on show four times a day at the museum. Combine your museum visit with a tour of Historic Main Street too.
More information: Fort Macleod
Another favourite spot: Fort Edmonton Park. Though not technically a fort, it’s known as “Canada’s largest living museum” for good reason. One reader calls it a “A great introduction to the history of this part of Northern Alberta.”
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