Fort Carlton

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Fort Carlton
Southwest of Prince Albert and west of Duck Lake in Canada along the North Saskatchewan River
DC2 Stills-050807-043.jpg
Site information
Controlled byHudson's Bay Company
North-West Mounted Police
Site history
In use1810-1885
Battles/warsBattle of Duck Lake
Official nameCarlton House National Historic Site of Canada

Fort Carlton was a Hudson's Bay Company fur trade post from 1795 until 1885. It was rebuilt by the Saskatchewan government as a provincial historic park and can be visited today. It is about 65 kilometers north of Saskatoon.


First called Carlton House, two previous posts were established in 1795 and 1805 respectively, before being abandoned for the third and permanent fort.[1]

Three Locations[edit]

  • The first Fort Carlton (1795-1801) was built at a safer site near the old French post of Fort de la Corne in 1795 following the destruction of South Branch House. James Bird was in charge;[2] James Sandison (Sanderson)[3] was his assistant; and John Peter Pruden[4] was an apprentice. From 1799 to 1801, Joseph Howse (Howes)[5] was the writer in charge. The NWC had a nearby post called Fort St. Louis. It produced few furs and was closed in 1801.
  • The second Fort Carlton (1805-1810) was built on the South Saskatchewan River six miles upstream from the former South Branch House. Joseph Howse (Howes)[5] was a trader. There was a nearby NWC post. In 1810 both companies abandoned the South Saskatchewan and moved to the third Fort Carlton.
  • The third Fort Carlton (1810-1885) was built on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan at the Great Crossing Place, a ford of that river. John Peter Pruden[6] was master (1814-1815), master and trader (1815-1820) and chief trader (1821 - 1837) except for a brief furlough to London in 1824-1825. The area was prairie and not beaver country, but there were plentiful woods nearby and even a supply of limestone. The NWC had its Fort La Montée inside the same stockade as Fort Carlton. In 1816 the Nor'Westers moved out and established a second Fort La Montée on the north bank 3 miles upstream. With the union in 1821 La Montée was abandoned and whatever could be salvaged was rafted down to Fort Carlton. In 1824 a group of Plains Indians tried to attack the fort but were driven off. By 1835 the buildings were in disrepair and a new hexagonal fort was built 200 yards to the west. This fell into disrepair and a new fort was built a few yards east of the first fort in 1855-58. About this time it was a depot for the winter express mail. Men coming from the upper Saskatchewan and Athabasca would meet and exchange mail with men coming from the Red River country south of Lake Winnipeg. There was a smallpox epidemic in 1869. Steamboats arrived on the Saskatchewan in 1874.


Location of Fort Carlton

As a Company post it primarily dealt in provisions, namely pemmican and buffalo robes although other furs were traded as well. Lawrence Clarke served as its last Chief Factor. It was a major base of operations for the Company's Saskatchewan District.

Situated on the Carlton Trail from the Red River Colony in present-day Manitoba to Fort Edmonton in what is now Alberta, Fort Carlton served as a hub for travellers. It was located along the North Saskatchewan River not far from Duck Lake, Saskatchewan.


Treaty Six between the Canadian monarch and various Cree and Saulteaux First Nations was initially negotiated and signed near the Fort in 1876. Big Bear (Mistahimaskwa) had used the site in his initial negotiations for Treaty Six in about 1884, and finally, the following year he surrendered here after his engagement at Steele Narrows.[7][8] The Prince Albert blockhouse was employed by the Royal Northwest Mounted Police on evacuating from Fort Carlton after the first fire.[9]

The North-West Mounted Police leased the fort from the company in the 1880s, and it was their main base in the Saskatchewan Valley region. Following the Battle of Duck Lake it was abandoned by the police and Prince Albert Volunteers then briefly occupied by Gabriel Dumont's Métis forces, who later chose to withdraw to Batoche. During the 1885 conflict, the fort was destroyed by fire.


Fort Carlton Provincial Park was opened in 1967. It features a partial reconstruction of the fort c. 1880, including four replica buildings of "Red River frame" construction.

The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fort Carlton". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  2. ^ "HBCA Biographical Sheets: BIRD, James Sr" (PDF). Hudson's Bay Company Archives. 1999. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  3. ^ "HBCA Biographical Sheets: SANDISON, James (Sanderson)" (PDF). Hudson's Bay Company Archives. 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  4. ^ "HBCA Biographical Sheets: PRUDEN, John Peter" (PDF). Hudson's Bay Company Archives. 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "HBCA Biographical Sheets: HOWSE (HOWES), Joseph" (PDF). Hudson's Bay Company Archives. 2003. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "HBCA Biographical Sheets: PRUDEN, John Peter" (PDF). Hudson's Bay Company Archives. 1999. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Fort Carlton Provincial Park". Government of Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  8. ^ "Trading in Fur". Virtual Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  9. ^ Payette, Pete; Phil Payette (2010). "Saskatchewan". North American Forts. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  10. ^ Carlton House National Historic Site of Canada. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 7 August 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°52′11″N 106°31′47″W / 52.8698°N 106.5298°W / 52.8698; -106.5298