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Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1976/06/15

View of buildings inside the fort; Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003
buildings inside the fort
View of building and stockade catwalk inside the fort; Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2003
Stockade catwalk
View of Fort Carlton, 1871; Charles Horetzky, Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et archives du Canada, 1871
Exterior View

Other Name(s)

Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada
Carlton House
Carlton House
Fort Carlton
Fort Carlton

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2012/07/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada is located in Fort Carlton Provincial Park, approximately 100 kilometres north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The site consists of the remains of forts constructed here, on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, between 1810 and 1885. There are no visible remains of the 1810 and 1845 forts, but building foundations and other archaeological remains exist from the 1855 fort. The Province of Saskatchewan has created a reconstruction of Carlton House based on archaeological findings, which includes five buildings and a stockade. Surrounding the fort is a flat grassed area, woods, and the low foothills of the plains. Official recognition refers to a polygon measuring 30 metres surrounding the combined footprints of the three Carlton houses.

Heritage Value

Carlton House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because:
- as a major Hudson’s Bay Company post, it was strategically situated at the edge of the
buffalo-rich Plains on major transportation and communication routes;
- first established in 1795 below the forks of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers, it
moved to its present location in 1810 where it remained in continuous use until 1885 when it
was destroyed during the North-West Rebellion/Resistance;
- it was, for a time, an important fur trade and supply centre and a North West Mounted Police
post; and,
- Indian Treaty No.6 was signed here in 1876.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established the first Fort Carlton in 1795 below the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers. It operated there for nearly a decade before being relocated approximately 150 kilometres southwest. This new site was strategically located on major transportation and communication routes linking the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan River. Several generations of forts were constructed at this site including structures built in 1810, 1845 and 1855. The North West and Hudson’s Bay companies jointly established the 1810 fortified post in response to hostility from the Cree and Blackfoot Nations. The two companies operated as separate entities within a single palisade. The Hudson’s Bay Company portion of the joint fort was referred to as “Carlton House.” From then on, this name was used to refer to the site as a whole. The 1845 and 1855 forts were constructed after the union of the two companies to accommodate increased personnel and to repair structural deterioration. During its occupation, Carlton House was an important fur trade and supply centre; and, for a short time, the fort was leased from the Hudson’s Bay Company by the North-West Mounted Police as their main base in the Saskatchewan Valley region.

Between 1871 and 1877, following the purchase of Rupert’s Land, the Canadian government signed seven treaties with the First Nations peoples of the Northwest. Indian Treaty No.6 negotiations took place at Carlton House in mid-August 1876. The treaty was signed on August 23 by representatives of the crown and representatives of the Plains and Woods Cree. Carlton House remained in continuous operation until it was destroyed during the North-West Rebellion/Resistance in 1885.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements relating to the heritage value of the site include: - its remote location in Fort Carlton Provincial Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; - its setting near the North Saskatchewan river on a flat piece of land, sheltered by the high banks that bound the plains; - its strategic placement on major transportation and communication routes; - the remains of all three phases of the fort, in their location, extent and materials, both discovered and undiscovered; - any archaeological remains relating to the 1810 fort; - any archaeological remains relating to the six-sided or “lozenge-shaped” 1845 fort, including evidence of building foundations; - any archaeological remains relating to the 1855 fort, including evidence of its rectangular plan, foundations, cellars, stockades, remains from the eight log buildings located within the stockade, and remains of the various structures located beyond the stockade such as the lime kilns, stables, men’s houses, warehouses, blacksmith shops and gardens; - the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains including building foundations, artefacts and in situ vestiges belonging to the period of occupation from 1810 to 1885, in their original placement and extent; - the viewscapes to and from the Saskatchewan River and surrounding fields.




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)

1876/01/01 to 1876/01/01
1885/01/01 to 1885/01/01
1845/01/01 to 1845/01/01
1855/01/01 to 1855/01/01

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

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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