Here is our first post about our new life in Canada…
Last Saturday we went to Fort Edmonton Park, the largest living history museum in Canada. This is the place to go if you are interested in Edmonton’s history from the fur trade era in the late 18th century until it became a metropolitan city in early 20th century.
There are four distinct areas at the park, each representing an era.
- Fort Edmonton area, representing the fur trading era
- 1885 Street area, representing the settlement era
- 1905 Street area, representing the municipal era
- 1920 Street and the Johnny J. Jones Midway, representing the metropolitan era
We got there just after the park opened at 10 am. After getting the tickets, we hopped on the original Edmonton Yukon and Pacific 1919 Baldwin steam train that took us to Fort Edmonton area.
Fort Edmonton was the name of a series of trading posts established by Hudson’s Bay Company, a fur trading firm, from 1795 to 1891. The fort at the park was rebuilt based on a scale plan diagram of the final fort, drawn by British Lieutenant Mervin Vavasour, who visited it in the mid-1840.
It was very interesting to walk around inside the fort.
We had a look inside the quarters and the trade store.
We also went inside The Rowand House, the massive residence of John Rowand, the chief factor at Fort Edmonton, and his family.
We saw some costumed historical interpreters too. They played characters based on real-life people. I talked to several of the fort dwellers who told me about life in the fort.
Outside the fort, we saw a small Cree camp. Cree is one of the largest groups of First Nations or indigenous Canadians. A Cree woman was making bread in front of the open fire. She invited us to sit around the fire and then explained about traditional Cree food and different types of tea that Cree people used to drink.
We then continued our journey through time in 1885 Street.
In this area, we saw the beginning of a town. There were shops, a church, a mounted police outposts…. We felt like we were inside a western movie!
We took a horse wagon ride around the park, we all had so much fun….
There was also a homestead. Carla and Renan loved to see the animals in the barn…. There were horses, ponies, chickens, turkeys, sheep and pigs.
We saw a covered wagon too. It reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura and her family travelled across the United States on a covered wagon like this. In Canada, covered wagons were used to carry settlers and their belongings from Winnipeg or Ontario.
Next, we went to 1905 Street.
We could see Edmonton as an established city. We could see bigger buildings and bigger businesses.
There was a sreetcar going around the area.
At that point, we were already quite tired since we had been walking non stop, so everyone was happy to take a streetcar ride and relax a bit.
Looking at the “locals” going about their daily life, I really felt like we just travelled back in time. Just look at the man driving around in his car and the policeman patrolling the streets on a bike.
Some “locals” were relaxing in front of a shop, and others even staged a protest in front of the cinema.
After the streetcar ride, we went to to 1920 Street, that depicted Edmonton during and following the First World War.
Carla and Renan enjoyed playing mini golf and giant checkers in 1920 Street.
We wanted to watch a short movie at Capitol Theatre, but we were a bit too late. There was a short movie playing every half an hour, so we decided to come back later.
We then went to Johny J. Jones Midway. A midway is an area at a fair where you can find amusement rides, carnival games, entertainment and fast-food booths.
Too bad the ferris wheel was being renovated… We were still able to do a lot of things, though.
Carla loved the carousel ride. She wanted to do it over and over again.
Carla and Renan tried their hand at a few carnival games. They managed to win a toy plane… that they broke a few hours later 😛 There was also a puppet show. It was great. Carla and Renan couldn’t stop laughing at the puppets’ antics.
We had so much fun at Fort Edmonton Park, we actually walked to the entrance to take the steam train ride and walk through the whole park one more time. By the time we came back to Johny J. Jones Midway, it was almost closing time.
We highly recommend this park, especially if you are interested in history. You’ll be able to learn not only about the history of Edmonton, but also the history and culture of early settlers and indigenous people in Canada… while having a lot of fun!
Fort Edmonton Park
Summer season hours 10 am to 5 pm, September hours 11 am to 5 pm. During winter from 26 September to 20 May only open for special events
Adult $26.20, child/youth 3-17 years and senior 65+ $20.90, family with up to 4 children $95