Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fort Battleford, Saskatchewan

Earlier this summer, work took me past Fort Battleford, Saskatchewan--one of the old NWMP forts from the Riel Rebellion era. Fort Battleford is located in Battleford, just off Highway 16. The signage is pretty slim so looking at a map ahead of a visit is a good idea.

The site itself is on a wind-swept prairie bluff overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. There is an interpretative centre, a wooden palisade, and five period buildings.

Outside the walls are barracks (that were originally intended as stables). I didn't get inside here because a school class was using the space. You can see some costumed staffers in the picture below. There are also foundations and cellars from various buildings that you can see from the frisbee-golf course but all of the signage is too sun-bleached to read.

The fort itself is pretty good sized for a prairie fort--maybe 700 feet per side? Below is a pano shot of the interior from the main gates.

There are four buildings inside plus foundation outlines of many more. Below you can see the guardhouse (foreground) and the sick horse stable (behind, with pagoda to improve air circulation).

The guard house was interesting, with cells, a small barracks room, and some period pieces (rifles) behind glass. The stable was, well, horsey-smelling.

There are also two residential buildings and some tents.

 The senior officer's building is half tricked out as a residence and half as an office space.

The commander's residence is basically a big farm house with summer kitchen out the back (on the right in the photo below).

The interior was nice and reminded me of my grandmother's house in Perdue.

Most of the inside of the fort is just grass. There is one small cannon on display.

Maybe a two-pounder?

This was a nice stop on a long drive. The cafeteria was not much so you'd want to get food in town or bring your own. I'm not sure I'd go back but it was a pleasant walk and the siting of the fort really illustrates how vast the prairies really are--you can see for 15km or more.


PatG said...

Great pictures. The Riel Rebellions are on my to do list.

Bob Barnetson said...

Mine too!

Jonathan said...

Nice visit report, Bob. I have been to Batoche (many years ago), but never stopped at Fort Battleford.

Bob Barnetson said...

Batoche is on my list but it is a fair drive!