The confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers is a significant place. Known to the Blackfoot as Moh’Kinsstis, the confluence has special meaning to the Siksika – it is the place where Napi created people, tracing its history to the very origins of humanity. This site is at the heart of traditional Blackfoot territory, and was important to other Indigenous peoples who came here to hunt, camp, and cross the river. For thousands of years, the confluence has retained its significance as a gathering place.
The confluence is also the place where the North West Mounted Police began their mission to bring peace, order and good government to western Canada. The humble Fort built on this site, in 1875, was the foundation of the city of Calgary and played a significant role in the evolution of Canada’s world-renowned RCMP. The original fort evolved from a police administration centre into the centre of the growing community.
Today the confluence is where the past meets the present. Fort Calgary tells the stories of two cultures that continue to evolve and define who we are as Calgarians. It is a place where people gather to gain a richer understanding of how our past shapes our present and future. It is a place for truth, and for reconciliation.
The Make History project is almost complete! In partnership with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation several components of our plans were completed as part of the East Village transformation.
Fort Calgary has been working diligiently on the final three phases of the Fort Calgary Master Plan. Two are complete and the final phase is nearing implementation.
Phase One included the rehabilitation of the Deane House, the restoration of the Hunt House, the restoration and return of a Métis cabin, and extensive surrounding park upgrades on the East Side of the Elbow River.
The Deane House is the only remaining North West Mounted Police (NWMP) building in Calgary. Originally built on the Fort site near 6th St. S.E., the Deane House moved twice to its current location. The house was fully rehabilitated and is now operated as Deane House Restaurant.
Captain Deane’s garden and surrounding park spaces were also part of Make History refurbishment.
Adjacent to Deane House Restaurant is the Hunt House. Built in 1876 as part of the Hudson’s Bay Company post, The Hunt House is Calgary’s oldest building in its’ original location. The Hunt House was fully rehabilitated as part of the Make History project.
A Métis Cabin, originally located on this site is currently being restored and will be returned to the site in the spring of 2017.
Phase Two – 1875 Fort
In 1875, amid a sea of scarlet jackets and thundering hooves, North West Mounted police “F” Troop crossed the Bow River to build Fort Calgary. Although the 1875 Fort only lasted seven years, the original Fort site will remain as the symbolic beginning of the city of Calgary.
Through the imagination of Jill Anholt’s Markings, an interpretive art piece has been erected on the original palisade outline ensuring the memory of this place in the hearts of Calgarians. It is the place where our city began.
Phase Three – Interpretive Centre Expansion
The Interpretive Centre is the crossroads of Fort Calgary – it is the place where visitors and students come to experience our rich history as the foundation of understanding the present and the future.
The Make History project will add a second story addition to the existing Interpretive Centre that will increase Fort Calgary’s capacity to tell our stories. Extensive views of the site will connect the visitor to this very important place in the Blackfoot culture and in the history of the city.
Fort Calgary is currently working with the Treaty Seven Nations in the evolution of our shared story – past, present and future. This knowledge will inform the new exhibits and tell the story of two cultures coming together at this place known to the Blackfoot as Moh’Kinsstis.