Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park
Links and documents
1877/01/01 to 1878/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Historic Dunvegan site comprises roughly 11.6 hectares of land situated within Dunvegan Provincial Park, along the north bank of the Peace River. The site includes a Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) Factor's House dating from 1877-78 and the archaeological remains of former North West Company (NWC) and Hudson's Bay Company structures. The Factor's House is a whitewashed, squared log construction featuring a hipped roof. Historic Dunvegan is adjacent to the historic St. Charles Church and rectory which are not included in this designation.
The heritage value of the Historic Dunvegan site lies in its connection to the operations of the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company in the Peace River District. The site also possesses heritage value for its example of early architecture in Alberta and its archaeological resources.
Historic Dunvegan possesses a long and storied association with the fur trade. In 1793, trader and explorer Alexander Mackenzie commented favourably on the site during his famed journey to the Pacific Ocean. Archibald Norman McLeod of the North West Company founded the first fur trade post at Dunvegan more than a decade later, in 1805. Between 1805 and 1821, the NWC and the HBC engaged in a vicious struggle to control the trade along the Peace River; in 1821, after years of ruinous competition in present-day northern Alberta and elsewhere, the two companies merged into the new Hudson's Bay Company. Following the merger, Dunvegan became a significant post in the HBC's Peace River region, serving as a source for furs and provisions and as a trans-shipment centre for the brigades. After some tumult in the area following the reorganization of the HBC under George Simpson, Dunvegan emerged as a consistently profitable fur trade post. In addition to acquiring furs from the local Natives, the traders at the post also capitalized on the fertility of Dunvegan's alluvial flats to grow grains and vegetables for local use and export to other posts. In 1878, changes in the transportation network of the area prompted a reordering of the trade along the Peace River. Dunvegan became the new headquarters for the Athabasca District. The post's new significance resulted in a campaign of building and improvements. Dunvegan's regional importance in the fur trade, however, was short-lived: in 1886, the HBC reconsidered its decision and moved the headquarters of the district to Lesser Slave Lake. The fur trade at the post diminished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with changes to the area's transportation network, economy, and society. In 1918, the HBC closed Fort Dunvegan.
The Factor's House at Dunvegan is a simple structure featuring whitewashed, squared timber construction with a hipped roof. Though largely typical of the frontier buildings erected during the fur trade period, the building is distinguished by its use of dovetailed corner construction as opposed to the post-on-sill method of building commonly employed for HBC structures. The Factor's House is one of the earliest buildings still extant in Alberta and forms a vital link to the history of the Hudson's Bay Company in shaping the early society and economy of the province.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 698)
The character-defining elements of Historic Dunvegan include such features as:
- location on the fertile alluvial flats on the north bank of the Peace River;
- archaeological remains.
- mass, form, and scale;
- rock foundation;
- whitewashed squared log construction with dovetailed joins;
- cedar-shingled hipped roof;
- fenestration pattern and style, including 6-over-6 sash windows;
- pattern and style of doors, including main entrance door with transom window.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Trading Post
Architect / Designer
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. 698)
Cross-Reference to Collection