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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

No. 196: Historic Trails: Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan

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Fort Saskatchewan was established by the Northwest Mounted Police in 1875.

Early travellers had their choice of two historic routes between Fort Saskatchewan and Fort Edmonton.

The northern trail was shorter, but as historian Merrily Aubrey points out, it involved a major crossing of the North Saskatchewan River.

The north route went from Fort Edmonton across Rat Creek, and that refers to Muskrat and not the other kind, not the Norwegian Rat.

It veered to the northeast a little south of the present day 188th avenue. You would then cross the trail that went to Clover Bar, named after Mr. Clover, I believe, keeping northeast, passing southeast of the Horse Hill, and west of the Horse Hills Post Office.

The North Saskatchewan would then have to be crossed about one mile east of Fort Saskatchewan's River Lot 21, cutting through lots 19, 17, 15 and 13, before you reached the heart of Fort Saskatchewan, the Northwest Mountain Police post and the Post Office.

The second route was four miles longer and involved four creek crossings. It started at Strathcona, which was the northern terminus of the Edmonton and Calgary railway. The trail went east, then north, parallel to the new telegraph line.

It skirted the southerly edge of the river lots, which was University Avenue, and that's why University Avenue is at an angle.

The first obstacle encountered was Fulton Creek. It was named after Daniel S Fulton, one of the earliest homesteaders in the area. And he had arrived from Nova Scotia in 1884, so that's pretty early.

Fulton Creek empties into the North Saskatchewan River near the location of the current footbridge that crosses the river from Goldbar to Rundle Parks.

Slogging through marshes, brush and scrub, the route would follow a pretty straight east - northeasterly course for seven miles or so, before it crossed Oldman Creek, and a mile further, a tributary to that creek.

Two miles beyond that our intrepid travellers would have to cross the Point aux Pain Creek, a name from the fur trade which likely refers to a point on the river where there was a great number of conifers.

This creek was the last obstacle for the traveller, who then had six more miles to go before reaching the heart of Fort Saskatchewan. The trail itself spanned 21 miles, from Strathcona to the Fort.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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