About the Foundation
A volunteer-driven organization from its inception, the Fort Edmonton Foundation was founded in 1969 by a group of community leaders, several of them Rotarians, who were interested in establishing a visible memorial to the origins of the City of Edmonton. The objectives of the group, as set forth in the Memorandum of Association, were simple and straightforward:
- To promote and support the establishment and development of an historical park in Edmonton, called Fort Edmonton Park, which was to contain the replication of old Fort Edmonton; and, which was to be created to be historically accurate insofar as possible.
- To assist in the preservation, display, restoration and conservation of other buildings, sites, artefacts, personal papers and records, documents and objects which reflect and record the historical heritage of the Edmonton area and its early citizens
- To establish and maintain a fund for the said purposes and to accept gifts of money and of property, real and personal.
- To apply the capital and income of the fund for said purposes.
Each year at the Fort Edmonton Foundation Annual General Meeting, a long-time donor is recognized with the Samuel A. Dickson Award, in honour of the late Mr. Dickson’s role in the development of Fort Edmonton Park
The seven founding members of the Foundation were John A. Beckingham, Raymond Ludford, James G. MacGregor, H. Stan Ragan, J. Newton Shortliffe, Henry G. Ward and Merrill E. Wolfe.
Four decades later, the role of the Foundation has remained true to the vision of the Park’s founders. An independent charitable organization, the Foundation has raised over $22 million for the development of capital projects in Fort Edmonton Park.
The Foundation continues to be run by a dedicated volunteer board of directors. It works closely with the Fort Edmonton Management Company and the City of Edmonton.
To create and promote an internationally acclaimed living history experience.
The Fort Edmonton Foundation celebrates Edmonton’s vivid, diverse history by fundraising in support of the development of capital projects in Fort Edmonton Park.
The primary core value of the Fort Edmonton Foundation is integrity. Integrity is the fundamental principal of our relations with our donors: it guides our stewardship of their contributions. The foundation understands that its mission is accomplished solely because of the generosity of those who support it.
The Fort Edmonton Foundation believes that maintenance of historical integrity is key to Fort Edmonton Park’s success as a financially sustainable historical attraction. The Fort Edmonton Foundation is fully dedicated to the successful development of Fort Edmonton Park as a globally-acclaimed living history experience.
The Fort Edmonton Foundation strives to ensure that all individuals who work to further its mission, be they donors, volunteers, staff, or stakeholders, are treated according to policies that are legally grounded and guided by respect and individual rights.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors meets monthly to determine the actions of the Foundation. Most members of the Board sit on one of several committees. Each Board Member is an ambassador to the community-generating increased positive awareness of the Foundation. Moreover, all Board Members have donated financially toward one or more of the Foundation’s current campaigns, projects and special events. Foundation Board Members are all, ultimately, donating their wealth, wisdom and work to make the community a better place for future generations. They are committed to completing the legacy that is Fort Edmonton Park.
2012/2013 Board of Directors
President: Sue Currie
Secretary/Treasurer: Gordon Lithgow
Vice President: John Carroll
- Lyndon Decore
- Donald Kramer, QC
- Penny Omell
- Don Smith
- Bill Stephens
- Kevin Trumpour
- Karla Horcica
- Louise Hayes
Merrill E. Wolfe, 1970-1974
Ray Ludford, 1974-1977
Walter C. Howard, 1977-1980
William R. Jarvis, 1980-1982
Gary G. Campbell, 1982-1985
C. T. (Chuck) Cripps, 1985-1988
Jack D. Edworthy, 1988-1991
Brian W. L. Tod, 1991-1993
Jennifer J. Oakes, 1993-1995
John C. Howard, 1995-1997
Mary-Lou Hamilton, 1997-1999
Don Smith, 1999-2001
Diane Gagnon, 2001-2003
Douglas O. Goss, 2003-2004
Barry Johns, 2004-2005
Laird Kulak, 2005 – 2008
Judi Kendall, 2008-2009
Honourary Chief Factor
The Honourable Fran Olson
The Fort Edmonton Honourary Chief Factor represents the Foundation and the Park to the larger community, and links the future of Fort Edmonton to the past it brings to life.
During the Fur Trade Era, the Hudson’s Bay Company appointed Chief Factors to manage trading post districts. They were paid slightly less than one percent of the profits of each trading post; were entitled to attend the annual meeting of the council; and, voted on the promotions of clerks and Chief Traders. They were responsible for implementing Company policies in their districts, including the organization of fur sales, the ordering of goods for trade, hiring, and shipping of pelts.
In 1826, John Rowand became Fort Edmonton’s first Chief Factor. Fort Edmonton had been selected as the district headquarters for the North Saskatchewan region, and under his direction, it became one of the largest and most important trading posts in what is now Alberta.
The Fort Edmonton Foundation’s Honourary Chief Factor’s responsibilities are vastly different from those of their early counterparts. A distinguished and interesting role, today’s Honourary Chief Factor attends special events, speaks at the Foundation’s Annual General Meeting, and escorts dignitaries and royalty on visits to Fort Edmonton Park. Most Honourary Chief Factors serve for two years, a term that may be extended at the request of the Board of Directors.
Fort Edmonton Foundation Staff
Executive Director: Ray Marshall
Admistrator: Laura Frazer
The Fort Edmonton Steam Railway
The Fort Edmonton Foundation owns and operates a steam railway in Fort Edmonton Park called the Edmonton, Yukon & Pacific, after the first railway built in Edmonton. The ride is 2 ½ miles (20 minutes) through the Park on a loose figure eight configuration. At present, there are two main stops: at the Train Station at the entrance to the Park; and at a covered platform to the South of the Fort Complex (1846).