Discover Edmonton’s fashion-driven origins and its role in the 19th-century fur trade when you explore this impressive living history museum.
Fort Edmonton Park is one of the largest living history museums in Canada, recreating four key eras in local history. Both original and rebuilt structures sit in the 65 hectares of parkland, and costume performers re-enact daily life as it was 100 to 150 years ago. Learn all about the events that have shaped Edmonton as you see it today, and try your hand at many activities from the era from routine household chores, to the most common amusements and pastimes.
The attraction is divided into four sections, each covering a separate period of the city’s history. You can chose to tour with a historical interpreter, or alternatively take things at the pace and in the order of your choice with a self-guided tour. Information packs can be downloaded from the official website, or picked up at the Train Station entrance.
Fort Edmonton is the section that represents the earliest era. By 1846, the demand for fashionable shiny felt top hats in Europe was fuelling a boom in the trade for beaver pelts. This Fort became one of the key trading posts of the Hudson Bay Company. You’ll discover the labourers’ quarters, the large trade store, as well as a replica of a York boat used to transport the large 40 kilogram bales of fur back to England.
The next three sections of the park show the future city taking shape, albeit from very humble beginnings. Exploring 1885 Street, you’ll be able to pick up a freshly backed snack from the Jasper House Bakery, learn to use a water pump (the only source of fresh water) and watch the blacksmith and wheelwright at work. Move onto 1905 Street, and you’ll see that the small settlement has now become a bustling hub, complete with commercial centres such as Reed’s Bazaar. Finally, 1920 Street depicts a fully functioning town. Take tea at the Hotel Selkirk, admire vintage cars at the Motordome or catch a show at the Capitol Theatre.
Fort Edmonton Park is a 20-minute drive from downtown Edmonton, south of the North Saskatchewan River. The park is open daily during spring and summer, and for special events only the rest of the year.