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Fort Smith Mission Heritage Park

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Address: 25 Mercredi Avenue, Fort Smith, Northwest Territories X0E 0P0, Canada
Phone Number:
+1 867-875-5566

Fort Smith Mission Heritage Park is all that remains of the original 151...

Fort Smith Mission Heritage Park is all that remains of the original 151 acre / 61 hectare Oblate Catholic Mission in what is now the centre of Fort Smith.

Fort Smith was for a brief period the capital of the Northwest Territories. It is located at a natural trans-shipping point for merchandise, from boats that were at that time paddled all the way from eastern and southern Canada, down the Slave River as far as the rapids near Fort Smith. The goods had to be transshipped into other vessels in order to proceed further north to serve communities on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River and the Arctic Ocean.

For a period of a century between 1876 and the early 1980's, the Roman Catholic Church operated its mission to the entire western arctic from here. In the absence of any government school system at the time, the church opened and operated schools across the north, which at that time included all territory north of Edmonton.

The Oblate Mission maintained a Bishop's Residence, St. Isodore's Church, assorted sheds, repair shops, a hospital with associated nun's residence, a residential school, large fields for the growing of crops, and even an airstrip. Nearby, the church operated docking facilities on the Slave River for their Mission boats, a farm, and sawmill.

Attractions & Points of Interest:

•The park provides an extensive self-guided tour of the historic mission sites, with sign boards describing various aspects of the history and activities of the mission. You can still see:

•The Bishop's residence, built in 1911

•The Cathedral

•The fields that were cultivated, some of which have been restored

•The storage shed

•The carpentry shop

•Vehicle repair shop

•Machine shop

•The hospital building that was built in 1952 to replace earlier structures

•The Grotto

•The sites of several other buildings that have been removed

Eventually a railway and a highway were pushed north from Edmonton to Hay River, where large barges could be loaded directly on Great Slave Lake, and Fort Smith's days as a "port" were over. Its days as a capital ceased with the discovery of gold in Yellowknife soon afterwards.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Time Well Spent in Fort Smith, NT

This was a real nice place to visit and well worth the time and we learned a lot about the role of the RC Church in the later years of the nineteenth century in Fort Smith, NT and... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 17 August 2015
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7 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 6: English reviews
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
321 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 September 2016

We walked around the preserved buildings and grotto of this old mission reading all the informative signs that front each of the structures. Interesting history of the church's community endeavors.

Thank Gene J
Level Contributor
105 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2015

This was a real nice place to visit and well worth the time and we learned a lot about the role of the RC Church in the later years of the nineteenth century in Fort Smith, NT and we learned about the role of some nuns known as the "Grey Nuns."

Thank Yooper5
Fort Smith, Canada
Level Contributor
53 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2015

Take a stroll through the mission grounds on wheelchair accessible gravel pathway. Read the info and talk to locals in the community garden.

Thank brendab1958
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 March 2015

This park is right in the centre of town. It is also close to one of the firendliest hotels in town the Pelican Rapids Inn. The park contains a grotto, St Isidores church which for a while was called St Alphonsus church before it was moved from it's previous location. The Bishop's Palace os also ocated on the site.

Thank fortsmithman
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2015 via mobile

A pleasant walk with some interesting facts about northern history and church history in the territory.

Thank GoblinXIV
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2015

The walking path shows different points around the mission. The little grotto is beautiful- if you're lucky you'll see a wedding!

Thank cmeadus

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