Fort Edmonton Park is a living history museum that focuses on Edmonton’s early years. After the old fort was torn down in 1915, citizens became interested in its history. The Fort Edmonton Foundation started 1969 with the execution of a masterplan with ten Eras. This plan was later amended and we can now see four distinct eras.
The four eras are:
# The Fur Trading Era as represented by the Hudson Bay Company Trading Fort (circa 1846)
# The Settlement Era as depicted on 1885 Street
# The Municipal Era (post railway) brought to life on 1905 Street
# The Metropolitan Era portrayed on 1920 Street and the Johnny J Jones Midway
The replica fort opened in 1974 and finally the 1920 Street was opened in the early 1990s.
Visitors may board a fully functional steam train at the park's entrance which transports them across the length of the park to the fort, from which they proceed on foot and abstractly move forward through time by visiting all four eras.
Costumed interpreters play characters based on real-life individuals who lived in the area. They enjoy talking about themselves and their lifestyles. The costumes are designed and constructed as was the fashion of the day.
Chronologically, the first phase of Fort Edmonton Park is the eponymous Hudson's Bay Company fort, representing the fur trade era. The replica fort includes a replica York boat, the imposing residence of John Rowand and his family, the quarters of the Hudson's Bay Company's labourers and the clerks' quarters. A Cree camp is located just outside the fort's palisade, itself a representation of the indigenous First Nations, whose trade of furs and provisions was vital to the historical fort's operation.
This first street represents the beginning of a town, displays the establishment of telegraph and printing press media, and references major political events such as the North-West Rebellion of 1885.
The 1885 Street includes a replica of the first building in the city to be made entirely of brick, the Jasper House Hotel. Here you will also find the original McDougall Methodist Church, a reconstruction of a North-West Mounted Police Outpost and a replica of the Ottewell Homestead, house paired with a barn, indicative of the lifestyle of homesteaders who populated the Edmonton area in the late 19th century.
1905 was the times of an economic boom at Edmonton.The darker side of the boom was that the lack of housing available necessitated a tent city, which may be seen on 1905 Street. The 1905 street also houses the house of Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first Premier of Alberta, moved to Fort Edmonton Park from its original location in south Edmonton. Located at 1905 Street too is a replica of a 1903 Masonic Hall.
The 1920 Street depicts Edmonton during and following the First World War. Edmonton of this era also sports modern technology such as airplanes.
A replica of the hangar present at the current Edmonton City Centre Airport, Blatchford Field was the first "Air Harbour" in Canada. An approximation of a hotel that once stood in the core of present-day downtown Edmonton, Hotel Selkirk actually functions as a real hotel within the park, allowing visitors to stay overnight. A recreation of a 1920s midway opened at the end of 1920 Street, near the park's entrance, in 2006. Original buildings in the 1920 Street include Mellon Farm, originally located close by to its current location because the land that Fort Edmonton Park sits on was once owned by the Mellon family.
The Al-Rashid Mosque has the distinction of being the first purpose-built mosque in Canada. Though it was built in 1938, outside of 1920 Street's apparent range, its move to Fort Edmonton Park saved it from demolition. Historically, many Muslim immigrants to Canada chose to live in Edmonton because they had heard that a mosque was there.
Text source: Wikipedia & fortedmontonpark.ca
Image: The Rowand House. Source: By Dylan Kereluk from White Rock, Canada (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons