NAME: Fort Dunvegan
CLIMATE: Mild summer,cold winter
COMMENTS: Northern Alberta
REMAINS: A plaque.
“Established in 1805 for the North West Company by Archibald Macleod, Fort Dunvegan was named after the ancestral castle of the Macleods on the Island of Skye. For many years the most important post in the Peace River Valley, it was a center of the fur trade, a link in the chain of communication westward into British Columbia and the scene of early missionary enterprise and agricultural experiment. It was closed as a trading post in 1918.” So reads the plaque on the Alberta Historic Sites cairn erected on the site of old Dunvegan on Highway 2, just north of the bridge that spans the mighty Peace River. The message is an incredibly capsulized history of a settlement that once was the hub of the Peace River trading area; birthplace of the agricultural industry in the Peace River country and a community that was expected to, but never did, grow into a big city. One important gap left by the notation on the plaque as to the history of the old fort is that Alexander Mackenzie was probably the first white man to see the spot for he passed it on May 11, 1793 while traveling by canoe up the Peace River on his historic voyage to the Pacific Ocean. The next explorer to pass through the area was David Thompson in 1804. It was likely his report that was instrumental in persuading the North West Company to send Archibald Macleod there to establish a fort in 1805.
H.B. Chenoweth