Founded in 1864 as an HBC trading post, Victoria Settlement eventually grew into a bustling community that thrived for nearly 70 years. Today, the original HBC clerk’s quarters, the first structure built at post, is still standing. The building is in fact the oldest building in Alberta still in its original location.
We had hoped to visit the site but expected it much farther down the river. Truth be told, we stumbled upon it when I went to shore to examine a blue signpost buried in a willow thicket on the bank.
Realizing where we were, we marched up a steep road to discover a beautifully maintained site lovingly cared for by a Métis couple who pulled out all the stops for us. We got a guided tour of the Clerk’s quarters, the church, a private showing of a short film, and a brief history of the Settlement and nearby Métis Landing.
Truly an amazing stroke of luck and a marvellous experience.
Just east of Edmonton, Victoria Settlement marks the beginning of a long list of HBC and Northwest Company forts and posts, 1885 Louis Riel Rebellion historic sites and battlefields that straddle the river. When viewed from the river, the countryside remains unchanged You, however, cannot help but be changed by being on it and the places it cradles. Like Victoria Settlement.