Fort Pelly

A Hudson's Bay Co. post (HBC records cover 1793 - 1912) that was headquarters for the Swan River District. Also known as Indian Elbow Post. Rebuilt after destroyed by a flood in 1825. Rebuilt again in 1842 after a fire. Fort Pelly Site #1 PHS. Rebuilt entirely in 1856 0.4 km southeast of the original site. Fort Pelly Site #2 NHS. Later used by the North West Mounted Police. The abandoned post was sold and dismantled in 1921

Description of Historic Place

The Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site comprises 9.25 hectares of hay fields and wooded land near the Assiniboine River, approximately 13 kilometres southeast of the Town of Norquay. The property features the archaeological remains of a nineteenth-century Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Fort Pelly #1 Provincial Historic Site lies in its association with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the period following its 1821 union with the North West Company, and in the information the site’s archaeological remains reveal regarding life at the post.

Between 1791 and 1821, at least 16 posts belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, the North West Company and various independent traders had operated on the upper Assiniboine River. In some seasons, as many as five competed simultaneously. Following the 1821 union, the Hudson’s Bay Company began rationalizing its operations by closing posts and amalgamating administrative units. The two surviving posts on the upper Assiniboine were closed and the Swan River and Upper Red (Assiniboine) River Departments were combined. In 1824, Fort Pelly, named for Hudson’s Bay Company Governor J. H. Pelly, was built at the “Elbow” of the Assiniboine as the principal post of the newly enlarged Swan River Department. Although returns from the fur-depleted region were less than satisfactory, Fort Pelly was maintained, even expanded over the years, to discourage First Nations trappers from trading with American, Métis and other competitors. Fort Pelly operated on this site until 1856, when it was relocated to avoid periodic flooding of the Assiniboine River.

Archaeological excavations in the early 1970s uncovered structural remains that showed how the post was built, expanded over time, and rebuilt after a fire in 1843. The structural remains and over 15,000 recovered artifacts reflect the personal and domestic lives of the post’s inhabitants, the business of trading and transporting furs, and other important post industries and activities that included the manufacture and repair of trade goods, boat building, livestock raising, and gardening.


Province of Saskatchewan, Order in Council 870/86, August 21, 1986.

                                                                                   Pelly, the "Pearl of the Parkland".