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Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site

St. Philips RM 301, Saskatchewan, S0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/08/21

View northwest from Fort Pelly #2 toward Fort Pelly #1 location in hay field, near-side of trees, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
Site Location
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Other Name(s)

Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site
Archaeological Site EkMl-1

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1824/01/01 to 1824/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site comprises 9.25 hectares of hay fields and wooded land near the Assiniboine River, approximately 13 kilometres southeast of the Town of Norquay. The property features the archaeological remains of a nineteenth-century Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site lies in its association with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the period following its 1821 union with the North West Company, and in the information the site’s archaeological remains reveal regarding life at the post.

Between 1791 and 1821, at least 16 posts belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, the North West Company and various independent traders had operated on the upper Assiniboine River. In some seasons, as many as five competed simultaneously. Following the 1821 union, the Hudson’s Bay Company began rationalizing its operations by closing posts and amalgamating administrative units. The two surviving posts on the upper Assiniboine were closed and the Swan River and Upper Red (Assiniboine) River Departments were combined. In 1824, Fort Pelly, named for Hudson’s Bay Company Governor J. H. Pelly, was built at the “Elbow” of the Assiniboine as the principal post of the newly enlarged Swan River Department. Although returns from the fur-depleted region were less than satisfactory, Fort Pelly was maintained, even expanded over the years, to discourage First Nations trappers from trading with American, Métis and other competitors. Fort Pelly operated on this site until 1856, when it was relocated to avoid periodic flooding of the Assiniboine River.

Archaeological excavations in the early 1970s uncovered structural remains that showed how the post was built, expanded over time, and rebuilt after a fire in 1843. The structural remains and over 15,000 recovered artifacts reflect the personal and domestic lives of the post’s inhabitants, the business of trading and transporting furs, and other important post industries and activities that included the manufacture and repair of trade goods, boat building, livestock raising, and gardening.


Province of Saskatchewan, Order in Council 870/86, August 21, 1986.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site resides in the following character-defining elements:
-the site's location on the floodplain of the Assiniboine River near the river's "Elbow";
-those elements related to the 1824-1856 Hudson’s Bay Company post, including artifacts, especially any material in its original location and context; and structural remains, such as cellars, foundations of buildings and palisades, fireplaces, forges, and a fur press.




Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Parks Act, s. 7

Recognition Type

Historic Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1824/01/01 to 1856/12/31

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

Heritage Conservation Branch, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, 3211 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 5W6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

GR 2251



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