Fort Normandeau Historic Site and Interpretive Centre
Location: About 7 km from Red Deer. Follow 32nd Street west about 1 km past the Hwy 2 overpass and follow the signs. From Hwy 2, exit on 32nd Street westbound.
Info: Open 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Victoria Day to late June; 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from June 30 to Labour Day. Wheelchair accessible. 403-347-7550; www.waskasoopark.ca.
Located in Waskasoo Park, the Fort Normandeau Historic Site and Interpretive Centre are at the Red Deer River Crossing, where early travellers on the Calgary-Edmonton Trail once made their way across the water. The crossing was originally part of an Aboriginal trail that ran north from Montana and across the Bow and Red Deer Rivers to Fort Edmonton. When the North West Mounted Police
established Fort Calgary in 1875, traffic to Edmonton increased, and the route became known as the Calgary and Edmonton Trail (or C & E Trail).
In 1884, Robert McClellan built a stopping house for travellers. During the Riel Rebellion, Lt. J. E. Bedard Normandeau, an officer with the 65th Mount Royal Rifles, fortified the stopping house. You can see a replica of the 1885 fort, which was built using some of the original logs.
You will also find a garden, a poultry yard, tipis, a treed picnic area, and a place to launch a canoe or kayak. Those exploring the Waskasoo Park system often start an afternoon paddle downriver into Red Deer from here. One weekend each summer, Fort Normandeau Days provide an entire weekend of historical entertainment, with military and rebel skirmishes, period foods, children’s games, and traditional Aboriginal ceremonies and dancing.