Fort William Historical Park (CA)

Fort William Historical Park is a Canadian historical site located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, that contains a reconstruction of the Fort William fur trade post as it existed in 1816. Fort William Historical Park is located on the banks of the Kaministiquia River at Point de Meuron. This point is a few kilometres upstream from the original fort's site, Fort Kaministiquia, which has been built over as part of the city of Thunder Bay.

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Numerous historic buildings have been reconstructed to show the range of the post, and costumed historical interpreters recreate Fort William of the year 1816. Fort William was then not primarily a settlement, but a central transport depot within the now-defunct North West Company's network of fur trade outposts. Due to its central role, Fort William was much larger, with more facilities than the average fur trade post. Reflecting this, Fort William Historical Park contains 42 reconstructed buildings, a reconstructed Ojibwa village, and a small farm.

Historical interpreters represent the many roles and cultures involved in the fur trade, including Scottish fur traders (people of capital), who often took Native American wives and had their families living with them; French Canadian voyageurs and workers, who also had wives from among the Natives; and native hunters and trappers. The native people in the Fort William area are predominantly Ojibwa and are represented accordingly among the interpreters.

Fort William Historical Park has a working community of skilled tradesmen, including a blacksmith, tinsmith, carpenter, cooper, and birch bark canoe builder. They all craft products according to traditional early 19th-century methods and tools. Many of their crafts are not widely practised elsewhere. Fort William's canoe builder has built birch bark canoes for other Canadian cultural sites, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Each summer Fort William Historical Park hosts the "Great Rendezvous", a recreation of the annual meeting of company fur traders that took place at this central location. Participants from all over Canada and the United States register to camp for the weekend at Fort William Historical Park and take part in this historical re-enactment.

Text source: Wikipedia
Image by Doug Coldwell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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