Fort Edmonton Park: The Dream
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In 1915, on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature, the Fort Edmonton trading post was torn down. In the years to follow many of Edmonton’s original buildings were being replaced with modern structures. Concern and a big question arose for many. How would future generations know Edmonton’s history if it all disappeared?
The answer came from a small group of community leaders, many of them Rotarians, who understood the importance of preserving history. In 1969, the Fort Edmonton Historical Foundation was formed. Talks amongst these visionaries created the first Master Plan to build a historical living history museum on 158 acres of riverfront property.
Edmonton’s history would not become a faded memory. The Master Plan outlined how the park would be built, how streets would look and feel, how it could be community funded, and how an authentic experience would be shared with the public. In 1969 construction of Fort Edmonton began. The scale and magnitude of the dream are inspiring.
Fort Edmonton is indeed a monument to the founders of this City, as it recreates the materials, methods, and tools of the original builders… Rightly has this been called “ A Citizens’ Project” since it is the citizens of Edmonton Themselves who provided the monies for this reconstruction through donations to the Ford Edmonton Historical Foundation. Edmonton Journal, January 1974
“So I went to sleep one night, and all of a sudden I woke up and I had an idea of how this new park should be laid out. I sat down and wrote the idea on a piece of paper. So the concept of Fort Edmonton Park with streets at right angles telling the story of Edmonton in chapters from the Indian Village to Fort Edmonton to 1885 Street to 1920 Street and the future was born.” Cam Finlay, Our Living History: The First 50 Years of the Fort Edmonton Foundation. Pg 6
It is a dream and a story to be continued.