Fort Steele National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Forte Steele National Historic Site of Canada, formerly known as Kootenay Post, is located in the town of Fort Steele, British Colombia. The fort, established in 1887 as the first North West Mounted Police post in British Colombia, was strategically located on a bluff overlooking the Kootenay River. There are no original buildings of Fort Steele remaining on the site. Official recognition refers to the square footprint of the original site of the fort in the town of Fort Steele.
Fort Steele was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1925 because:
- built in 1887 by Superintendent “Sam” Steele, it was the first North West Mounted Police fort in British Columbia;
- the presence of this famous force secured peace and order in the country, leaving the area open for development.
Fort Steele was established during the summer of 1887 as the first North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) post in British Columbia by Superintendent Samuel B. “Sam” Steele. Originally called Kootenay Post, the fort was established when the detachment (‘D’ Division) of the N.W.M.P. was sent to the area to resolve a dispute between the local Ktunaxa tribe and European settlers. The presence of Sam Steele and the N.W.M.P. secured a peaceful solution and created order in the community, leaving the area open for development. By July 1888, the detachment had been sent on to Fort Macleod and Kootenay Post was abandoned. After Sam Steele left the region, the citizens of Galbraith’s Ferry renamed their town Fort Steele in appreciation of Steele’s work. By 1897, the town of Fort Steele had expanded to include the site of Kootenay Post.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1925; September 2009; Plaque Text, 1928; 1977.
The key elements relating to the heritage value of the site include:
- its location on a flat parcel of land in the town of Fort Steele, in British Colombia;
- its setting on a high bluff overlooking the Kootenay River;
- its historical relationship with the adjacent Fort Steel Heritage Town operated by the Province of British Colombia;
- 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 across the Kootenay River to an open forested landscape.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1888/01/01 to 1888/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
Function - Category and Type
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Superintendent Samuel B. “Sam” Steele
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec.
Cross-Reference to Collection