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Fort Pitt Provincial Park

Frenchman Butte RM 501, Saskatchewan, S0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/05/26

View south at site location on low ground, middle of frame, right of road, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
Fort Pitt Provincial Park
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Other Name(s)

Fort Pitt Provincial Park
Archaeological Site FjOk-1

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1829/01/01 to 1829/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/06/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Pitt Provincial Park comprises 10.4 hectares of land on the west bank of the North Saskatchewan River, approximately 40 kilometres north of the City of Lloydminster. The property features the archaeological remains of a nineteenth-century Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. There is a log structure and a memorial cairn on the property that are non-contributing resources.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of Fort Pitt Provincial Park resides in its status as the location of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post that operated from 1829 until 1890. Established in the years following the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 1821 union with the North West Company, Fort Pitt was built as a provisioning post and transportation and distribution centre. Located near prime bison range, the post’s main trade was for pemmican and other bison products vital to the Company’s operations. Built mid-way between Fort Carlton and Fort Edmonton on the North Saskatchewan River, the region’s principal water route, Fort Pitt was also well-situated for its role as a distribution centre and trans-shipment depot. Fort Pitt’s importance as a transportation hub increased after 1860, when the Carlton Trail, the overland route between Fort Garry and Fort Edmonton, became the Company’s main route to the interior. Among the many travellers who would have passed through Fort Pitt were notables such as explorer John Palliser, geologist J.B. Tyrrell, and renowned artist Paul Kane.

Heritage value also exists in Fort Pitt’s association with important political events occurring in the North-West Territories during the 1870s and 1880s. On September 9, 1876, Fort Pitt became one of two primary sites (the other being Fort Carlton) for the signing of Treaty No. 6 between the Crown and several Bands of Plains and Wood Cree. Fort Pitt continues to be valued by First Nations for its association with the Treaty, and has been the site of gatherings held in commemoration of the Treaty signing.

Through the early 1880s, dissatisfaction at their treatment by the Canadian government was growing among First Nations and Métis in the West. As tensions mounted, a small detachment of North-West Mounted Police under the command of Inspector Francis Dickens was stationed at Fort Pitt in 1883. Violence broke out on April 2, 1885, when some of Big Bear’s (mistahi-maskwa) Cree, hungry, frustrated, and now under influence of the more militant Wandering Spirit (pápamácákiwéw), entered the settlement at Frog Lake in present-day Alberta, looted the stores and killed nine inhabitants. Survivors fled to Fort Pitt which, 12 days later, found itself under siege by Wandering Spirit’s followers. After a stand-off and negotiations, during which a Police constable was killed, Inspector Dickens and his troops abandoned the post, fleeing by river to Battleford. The civilians were taken away by the Cree, eventually to be released after a long pursuit by the authorities. The fort was pillaged and burned. It was partly rebuilt later that year following the cessation of the 1885 hostilities. By 1890, faced with declining business, Fort Pitt was closed and the buildings were moved to a more prosperous settlement at Onion Lake.

Source:

Province of Saskatchewan, The Parks Act, May 26, 1986.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of Fort Pitt Provincial Park resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reveal information regarding the Hudson’s Bay Company and North-West Mounted Police occupations of the site, including artifacts; structural remains such as cellars and foundations of buildings and palisades; nineteenth-century grave sites; and the spatial relationships and environmental context of the archaeological remains;
-elements that speak to Fort Pitt’s role as a transportation and distribution centre, including the park’s riverside location in the North Saskatchewan River valley;
-elements that reflect Fort Pitt’s cultural significance to First Nations, including access to the park for First Nations commemorative or ceremonial purposes.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Parks Act, s. 4

Recognition Type

Provincial Park

Recognition Date

1986/05/26

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1885/01/01 to 1885/12/31
1829/01/01 to 1890/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Park

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Trading Post
Government
Treaty-Making Site

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: GR 846

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

GR 846

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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