A Fort Built on Fashion
In the early to mid 1800s, every respectable European gentleman sported a shiny felt top hat. These hats were not just the height of fashion, but were adorned as a status symbol. And fortunately for Edmonton, they were made from beaver pelts.
The demand for this material prompted the Hudson’s Bay Company to establish the Edmonton House, a trading post between for European goods to the local Indigenous peoples in exchange for valuable beaver pelts. By 1846, Fort Edmonton was the most significant trading post west of the Red River Settlement at Fort Garry. The population of Edmonton House varied according to the season, though approximately 110 men, women, and children typically took up residence.