Edmonton was established by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) in 1795 at the junction of the
Sturgeon and North Saskatchewan Rivers.
A rival to a nearby North West Company post, Fort Edmonton initially
witnessed high trade returns. By 1800, however, the surrounding area was
"trapped out," and to maximize trade, the post moved
upstream 30 kilometres, as did the North-West Company post. Both posts relocated two more times before the North-West
Company and the Hudson Bay Company amalgamated
in 1821. Following the merger, a renewed Fort Edmonton became the district
headquarters for the North Saskatchewan region. Under the direction of its
most famous chief factor, John Rowand, the post was relocated once again in 1832. This new location
became Fort Edmonton's permanent home until its dismantling in 1915 to make way for the Alberta legislature.
In 1840, during John Rowand's tenure, Robert Rundle became the first
HBC chaplain and missionary in the region. Although Rowand was a Roman Catholic and had initial doubts about Rundle, the two men
soon formed a
friendship. When Rundle left in 1848 the Protestant
missionary effort in the West was almost abandoned. By the time that the
next Methodists arrived in 1855, Fort Edmonton had become a predominantly Catholic community.