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Kootenae House National Historic Site of Canada

Westside Road, Invermere, British Columbia, V0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1934/05/28

General view of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada cairn and plaque commemorating Kootenae House.; Parks Canada Agency | Agence Parcs Canada
General view
View of the landscape at Kootenae House including the cairn and plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.; Agence Parcs Canada | Parks Canada Agency, 2005.
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Other Name(s)

Kootenae House National Historic Site of Canada
Kootenae House
Kootenae House
Fort Kootenae
Fort Kootenae

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1807/01/01 to 1812/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/07/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located just north of Invermere, British Columbia, Kootenae House National Historic Site of Canada is an archaeological site at the confluence of Toby Creek and the Columbia River. Some above ground remains, as well as surface depressions, mark where this trading fort once stood. The open grasslands, stands of Douglas Fir, and defensible terrace over the water evoke the qualities of the landscape at the time that Kootenae House stood on this location. The official recognition refers to the 0.77 acres that surrounds the remains of Kootenae House.

Heritage Value

Kootenae House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1934 because:
-built in 1807, Kootenae House was the first trading post in the Columbia Basin;
-it served as David Thompson’s base of exploration of the Columbia River and its tributaries; and,
-its establishment led to contacts and trade with First Nations throughout the region.

In 1806 the North West Company clerk, Jaco Finlay, blazed a trail over Howse Pass from the Saskatchewan to the Columbia River. The next year, David Thompson followed this route to the Columbia, then turned up river and built Kootenae House below Windermere Lake in order to trade with the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) people. Using this fort as a base, he explored the upper Columbia and Kootenay rivers, and established a chain of posts on the Columbia watershed. Kootenae House was used periodically until 1812, when the hostility of the Peigans east of the pass forced abandonment. The land where Kootenae House stood was donated to the Government of Canada by Mrs. Alice M. Hamilton in 1935 in honour of her husband Basil G. Hamilton.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, July 2005; Commemorative Integrity Statement.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
-the archaeological remains in their current location, including the remains of stone chimneys, palisade trenches and building foundations, as well as middens and some unidentified depressions;
-the archaeological remains of Contact Period Aboriginal campsites;
-the remains of an historic trail on the south side of the site;
-in situ features and artefacts;
-the location of the site on a promontory over looking the junction of Toby Creek and the Columbia River;
-the landscape qualities, the terraced edge, of open grassland and stands of Douglas Fir trees; and,
-views of the Columbia Valley contained within the Rocky Mountain Trench flanked by the Stanford Range to the east and Mount Nelson an the Purcell Mountains to the west.




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)

1807/01/01 to 1809/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Peopling the Land
Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Commerce / Commercial Services
Trading Post

Architect / Designer



David Thompson

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation and Commemoration Directorate, Documentation Centre, 3rd Floor, Room 366, 30 Victoria St, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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