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Victoria Settlement, Smoky Lake County, near Pakan, Alberta, T0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2001/05/09

Main (Free Trader's) House at River Lot 3, Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Resource (February 2006); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2006
View from southwest
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Other Name(s)

John Geiger Property
Free Trader's Homestead
River Lot Three - Victoria Settlement (McGillivray House)
River Lot Three - Victoria Settlement
RL 3, Victoria Settlement - Free Trader's House
Old McGillivray House
Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site and Area
Free Trader's Cabin (River Lot No. 3)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

River Lot 3 consists of four log structures on a property of 27.7 hectares on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. These include a one and one-half storey main residence constructed circa 1882, and a detached summer kitchen, store house, and barn built around 1903. The site also contains foundations of a fifth building, and remains of other structures as well as the former Victoria to Winnipeg Trail. The Lot is located adjacent to the Hudson Bay Company (H.B.C.) post Fort Victoria and the Pakan settlement in the Municipality of Smoky Lake.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of River Lot 3 lies in its association with the Victoria Settlement, one of the earliest in Western Canada, early Metis settlement, and the region's transition from a fur trade to an agricultural economy.

Occupation of the lot dates to the arrival of Metis settlers from Red River in 1865. The original purpose of Victoria Settlement was to supply food to employees of the fur trade. When the nine river lots were surveyed in 1884, buildings already existed on what became Lot 3. The house that remains, however, was erected sometime between 1873-96 by trader Edward McGillivray on Lot 7, and later reconstructed on Lot 3. McGillivray belonged to a prominent fur trading family; his grandfather, William McGillivray, was a chief partner in the North West Company (N.W.C.) and served the H.B.C. at various posts in the northwest before retiring at Victoria Settlement to work as an independent trader. In turn Edward's son, Simon, was the first operator of the river ferry at the rapidly growing settlement of Pakan. In 1902, ownership of River Lot 3 passed to James Alexander Kennedy, son of George Kennedy, the last clerk of Fort Victoria. James, who erected the store house and the barn, was a farmer, implements dealer and owner of a general store. Thus River Lot 3 reflects the transition at Victoria Settlement from an outpost of the fur trade to an emerging agricultural community.

River Lot 3 is also valuable for its representation of settlement buildings, including elements typical of fur trade-era construction (horizontal log construction with dovetail notches, and decorative beads on ceiling joists found in other H.B.C. buildings) and of prairie farm and ranch buildings (round log construction with saddle and dovetail notches). The site is a rare near-intact example of the river lot that characterized early Metis settlement in the northwest (compared to the rectangular lots of later surveys). It contributes to the historical character of the area, which includes the Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site with the Clerk's quarters of Fort Victoria, remains of the Methodist Mission, and the 1906 Pakan United Church.

(Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, File: Des. 1879)

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of River Lot 3 resides in such character-defining elements as:
- form, scale, massing and orientation of all structures;
- remains of road and trails.

Main House:
- end-gabled one and one-half storey log house with a steep pitched roof;
- orientation of building with front facade facing south toward the river;
- walls constructed of hand-hewn horizontal logs with dovetailed notches and gable ends finished with sidewall shingles;
- foundation of dry laid fieldstones;
- fenestration pattern with offset front door (south), central window and door (west), windows (east), and door that led to the summer kitchen (north). Windows on the first floor level are single hung two-over-two units; windows in the gable ends on the second level are six-over-six units with some original float glass;
- finished exposed square ceiling joists attached with half lap joints to the top logs of the north and south walls;
- decorative bead on each of the two exposed corners of the ceiling beams;
- second floor rafter and cross tie system, with frame system for gable ends, layered on the outside with shiplap sheathing under cedar shingles, on the interior with whitewashed shiplap material;

Interior features such as:
- main floor of shaped log joists and tongue and groove finish; second floor of single layer of tongue and groove material perpendicular to ceiling joists;
- staircase located in southeast corner with a closed riser;
- lath and mud plaster with whitewash and unfinished spruce;
- squared nails;
- chimney holes on east and west elevations;
- access hatch to the cellar dugout in the centre of the floor;
- wood partition dividing second floor into three areas;
- exterior logs, roof rafters, ceiling beams and gable end windows reused from original building as constructed on Lot 7.

Summer Kitchen
- single storey building of round poplar log walls with dovetailed notches and horizontal siding on a frame system in the gable ends;
- medium pitched roof clad in cedar shingles with remains of chimney;
- interior plastered and whitewashed.

- small rectangular structure of horizontal round logs with round saddle notches;
- low pitched cedar shingle roof on shiplap sheathing, with horizontal siding in gable ends;
- fenestration pattern including barn door and 4 four-pane windows (south elevation), six-pane window (west);
- stone rubble foundation.

Old Barn
- construction of horizontal logs with dovetail notches;
- fieldstone foundation;
- low pitched cedar shingle roof with framed gable ends clad in vertical rough sawn siding;
- simple barn door on south elevation.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Trading Post

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1879)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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