Throughout the west, history buffs and visitors are commemorating the125th anniversary of the events of the North West Resistance of 1885.
The history of Fort Pitt reaches further back to 1829 when the Hudson Bay Company decided to build another trading post between Fort Carlton and Fort Edmonton. Fort Pitt was what historian and author of Steele's Scouts, Wayne Brown, calls a "pemmican post" or supply fort. It welcomed First Nations traders, York boat crews, travellers and explorers. It wasn't a fortified post and the fenced area standing today as visitors enter the park surrounds a graveyard called God's Half Acre.
The fort was situated at the first site until the 1870s when it was rebuilt approximately 100 metres further away from the river. The buildings were burned during the 1885 conflicts and rebuilt to continue trade until the buildings were moved to Onion Lake and the fort was closed in 1890.
For years the only reminders of the fort were a stone cairn and plaque and a couple of signs along with the fenced graveyard. Two years ago. while planning the Trails of 1885. it was decided to improve the site. A total of $150,000 was spent to help tell the story of a place so significant to the area's history.
Wood structures have been built where both the 1829 and 1880 buildings stood and interpretive panels have been erected to explain the significance of the buildings.
Electromagnetic sensing equipment was used to determine accurate locations and artifacts removed while putting in the posts proved they were in the right spots.
"We've improved the storytelling substantially," said Bob Wilson, park area manager for Saskatchewan Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.
July 10, a rededication ceremony was held at Fort Pitt. There were canoe rides, refreshments, blacksmith demonstrations, historical figures in character and entertainment. Dignitaries spoke and storytellers and historians brought the past to life. Visitors took time to tour the site and imagine the events 125 years ago and decades earlier.
In September, Steele's Scouts, a commemorative calvary out of Calgary, are going to march from Frog Lake to Steele Narrows. They plan to stop at Fort Pitt Sept. 3 and there may be opportunities to join the ride for a time in the area. For information about the journey visit www. steelescouts.ca .
The Fort Pitt Provincial Historic Park is open for self-guided tours all summer long.
Please turn to photo albums under the community tab for more photos from the Fort Pitt rededication event.