Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park

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Dunvegan Historic Provincial Park is built on the banks of the Peace River. There is a large Visitor Centre with a video and shop. The 19th century log buildings have been restored and furnished in meticulous detail.

The Beaver Indians lived in the area. In 1805 the North West Trading Company sent Archibald Macleod to established a fur trading post, which he called Fort Dunvegan after the Macloed castle on the Isle of Skye. Dunvegan became a major trading post in the region, serving as a source for furs and provisions and a trans-shipment centre. It ceased operations in 1918 due to continued poor fur returns and a declining First Nations population.

The first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in 1867 and built the log church which can be seen today. The Anglicans arrived a few years later and built a mission up stream from the fort. The old mission garden surrounded by Manitoba maples is still there. Close by is the small grave of a missionaries two day old baby.

The area proved good for growing grain and settlers gradually arrived to farm the area. A ferry across the river began running in 1909. It was replaced by Alberta’s only suspension bridge built in 1960.

Costumed interpreters take visitors round the site. The Factor’s House which was built in 1877 and is one of the oldest buildings in Albert. St. Charles Mission Church was built in 1885 and has a massive blue painted boiler in the nave and painted altarpiece. The simply furnished Rectory beside it was built in 1889.

This is a delightful site. It is a long way from the usual tourist haunts and receives few visitors. Unfortunately it began to rain steadily during our visit, so we didn’t follow any of the river side trails.

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