5 Things You May Not Know About Fort Edmonton Park
A sprawling attraction thought up over 100 years ago, Fort Edmonton Park serves as Canada’s largest living history museum.
Fort Edmonton Park features elaborately costumed staff, period architecture and an impressive roster of events that bring Edmonton’s colourful past to life. Situated on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River, there are many hotels in Edmonton which make getting to the park a breeze for visitors. Not as simple? Digging into the hidden facts behind this truly one-of-a-kind destination. Test your knowledge of Fort Edmonton Park with these fascinating bits of local trivia:
The Capitol Theatre only looks old
While the façade mimics the original 1929 theatre for old-time charm, this building is a contemporary, multi-million dollar project finished in 2011. With many cinema events planned throughout the year, this theatre (above) attracts 21st-century audiences with a modern, technologically-advanced interior and 243-person seating capacity.
The train requires hard work
Most claim that the park’s must-visit attraction is the Engine 107 steam train. It is nearly 100 years old, but did not arrive at the park until 1977. Instead of using wood for fuel as it once did, it is now powered by recycled motor oil. To operate, the train requires approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce steam and 200 gallons of fuel daily (the engine alone weighs 112,000 pounds).
Royalty has visited Fort Edmonton many times
Notably, Diana, Princess of Wales and Charles, Prince of Wales dressed up in traditional period garb and graced the park on their tour of Canada in 1983. Photos of the elegant duo can be seen online and in the park’s train station gift shop.
Things can get spooky
According to local legend, the Firkins House on 1905 Street is home to a young ghost boy and strange female figure who roam around and show up in pictures. If you’re a believer in the paranormal, beware—reports around the entire park have described unexplainable noises and shadows. (Check out more of Canada’s most haunted places.)
The original fort is not onsite, and finding it is a bit of a scavenger hunt
Believe it or not, Fort Edmonton Park is not the actual fort, although it does feature old wood and original buildings relocated from their original construction sites. While Fort Edmonton was founded in 1795, structures were built, levelled (whether they were found to be too far away for adequate business or flooded), and rebuilt until the fifth try finally stuck in 1840. The true fifth fort can be found behind the Alberta Legislature building. Down a set of stairs behind the building, you’ll find a square of cleared land—the original fort’s location.
Next, explore 10 great day trips from Edmonton.