NWT Archives/PWS/G-1995-001: 2030

NWT Archives/PWS/G-1995-001: 2030

Fort Resolution National Historic Site

Statement of Significance

Fort Resolution National Historic Site of Canada is located in the community of Fort Resolution, on the southeastern shore of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. The site is a small, rectangular-shaped peninsula on which stood the fur post and subsequently a Hudson’s Bay Company store during the early 20th century. There are no visible remains of the original fort. Official recognition refers to the irregular 8.8-hectare footprint of the Hudson’s Bay Company post as it stood in 1895.

Fort Resolution was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1973 because:

  • built in 1819 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, this is the oldest continuously occupied place with origins in the fur trade in the Northwest Territories;
  • it became the principal fur trade post on Great Slave Lake after the union with the North West Company in 1821.

The first fur trade posts on Great Slave Lake were established at the end of the 18th century by Cuthbert Grant Sr. of the North West Company and his rival Laurent Leroux of the “Little Company”. These included Grant’s Slave Fort, which was twice moved westward, finally settling near the mouth of the Slave River in 1791. This post remained largely unchallenged by competing traders until, in 1819, Aualay McAulay of the Hudson’s Bay Company built a competing post nearby, which he named Fort Resolution. After the union of the two companies in 1821 the two forts were merged, and were moved to a small peninsula facing the Resolution Islands. Fort Resolution became the Hudson’s Bay Company’s principal post on the lake, and remains an active community.

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:

  • its location on the southeastern shore of Great Slave Lake, in the Northwest Territories;
  • its setting on a small peninsula;
  • the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent;
  • viewscapes across Great Slave Lake to the Resolution Islands.

Quoted from Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1973, 2009.

Supporting documents can be obtained from the National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec.