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Fort Vermilion National Historic Site of Canada

Southeast corner of River Road and 45th Street, Fort Vermilion, Alberta, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1968/11/28

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Other Name(s)

Fort Vermilion National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Vermilion
Fort Vermilion
Fort Vermilion II
Fort Vermilion II
Fort Vermilion

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/04/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Vermilion National Historic Site of Canada is located on the riverbank of the Peace River in the community of Fort Vermilion, Alberta. The fort was moved to its current location between 1828 and 1831, from which it continued to operate until the mid-20th century. The sole surviving component of the site is the Old Bay House, constructed between 1906 and 1908, which is the only Hudson’s Bay Company factor’s house on its original location in Alberta. Official recognition refers to the circle with a 100-metre radius centred on Old Bay House.

Heritage Value

Fort Vermilion was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1968 because:
- it commemorates the importance of the Fort Vermilion posts to the fur trade in the Athabasca region.

The heritage value of Fort Vermilion lies in its evocation of the fur trade posts known under the name Fort Vermilion I and II, both located in the Athabasca region. Until its amalgamation with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, the North West Company, through a succession of trading posts called Fort Vermilion, dominated the fur trade in the region. The Beaver and other Dene peoples, and the Cree First Nation, supplied furs, provisions, and leather for trade and company use west of the Rockies at posts in New Caledonia.

In 1788, Charles Boyer built the first post, from which there are no known remains, near Peace River to trade with the Beaver peoples. Between 1828 and 1831, Fort Vermilion moved 90 kilometers to its current location on the southern bank of the Peace River, where it formed the nucleus of the village of Fort Vermilion. From this post, the newly merged North West and Hudson’s Bay Companies continued to operate into the 20th century, aiding in the gradual evolution of the site from a fur trade post to a settled community.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1968; Dec 2009.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
- its location in the community of Fort Vermilion, Alberta;
- its setting along the riverbank of the Peace River;
- the irregular two-and-a-half storey massing of the Old Bay House, clad in wood siding, topped with a gable roof, and featuring varying fenestration;
- the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent;
- viewscapes from the site of the Peace River.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1798/01/01 to 1798/01/01
1828/01/01 to 1831/01/01
1906/01/01 to 1908/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Trading Post

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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