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Victoria Trail

Waskateneau, Near

Other Names:
Carlton Trail
Fort Edmonton to Fort Garry (Winnipeg)Trail
Saskatchewan Trail

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The original Victoria Trail transected what is today Smoky Lake County; only fragments of narrow, meandering road remain. For much of its extent, the trail runs close to the North Saskatchewan River, in forested and agricultural areas. Segments also fall within the Victoria District National Historic Site.

Heritage Value
Established by First Nations people, the Victoria Trail is one of Alberta’s oldest overland transportation routes. As a segment of the 900-mile Carlton Trail, it linked Fort Edmonton to Fort Garry (Winnipeg) by way of Victoria Settlement (Pakan). The trail was an important route for early European explorers, fur traders, Metis and settlers. Along this route, brigades of Red River carts carved their way across the frontier, etching the path of their wheels into the earth and carrying supplies and people to the region.

In 1869, Canada acquired Rupert’s Land (the Northwest Territories) from the Hudson’s Bay Company, opening the West for settlement and leading to increased traffic on the trail. In subsequent years, the North-West Mounted Police, the Canadian Militia and the Alberta Field Force also used the trail extensively, particularly during the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. The trail also facilitated the first regular mail route and the first telegraph line to Edmonton Settlement.

In 1891, the railway between Calgary and Edmonton was completed and the Canadian National Railway and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways were later established between 1909 and 1919. Though the trail was still used thereafter for local travel, it became increasingly hard to navigate as fencing began to go up on the farmland it crossed; if gates were not provided, travellers had to cut the fences.

Today, much of the trail has been abandoned and lost to time, making the still-existing portions of trail an especially significant resource.

This trail is significant for its association with the themes of transportation, the fur trade, aboriginal life, missionaries, and law enforcement in Smoky Lake County and across Western Canada.

Character-Defining Elements
The character defining elements as expressed in the form, massing, and materials of this cultural landscape include:

-Narrow and meandering path;
-graveled road surface; and
-Agricultural or forested surroundings.


Street Address: 19557 Victoria Trail
Community: Waskateneau, Near
Boundaries: Numerous portions of municipally-owned road plans
Contributing Resources: Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
54.048921 -112.82698 GPS NAD27

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Area
Date of Designation: 2020/04/30

Historical Information

Built: 1800 to 1967
Significant Date(s) 1800 to 1915
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Peopling the Land : Migration and Immigration
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Transport - Land : Road or Public Way
Transport - Land : Traditional Trail or Trading Route
Current Function(s): Transport - Land : Road or Public Way

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0431
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: www.smokylakecounty.ab.ca
Data Source: Smoky Lake County
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