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Exploring Fort William Historic Park

Patricia Nagle

Mar 14, 2023

Voyageur Winter Carnival

Between February 18th and 20th (Family Day weekend), Fort William Historic Park hosted a Voyageur Winter Carnival. This day consisted of fun activities for all ages to enjoy. The park is located at 1350 King Rd, Thunder Bay.

 One could tour the barn yards. Looking at all the animals. When I was there the animals with sheep and some horses. You were able to walk in the barn and see the sheep sitting on the hay, staying nice and warm. A worker was standing beside them, explaining the importance of farming and animals inside the fort. One could also go on a horse ride in the forest outside the Fort, but the line was too long for me to wait.

The barns were located outside the Fort. It is important to note that Fort Williams is not the original fort. It was relocated further down the river as the land was bought by the Canadian National Railway further into Thunder Bay. Some of the remnants are still there, although I’m not sure if you can go see it because it’s private property.

If you’re not interested in animals, there are plenty of other places you can check out. While I was there, I visited the woodshop and the blacksmith, where he described how he created some of the tools used at the Fort during this time period. He also mentioned how he could fix the muskets. If that wasn’t interesting enough, one could fire a musket (of course it was loaded with blanks). I also visited a dairy barn and watched a young girl churn butter. I also talked with the seamstress at the Fort, where I learned about the clothing that was made. I learned that most of the capote seen on the grounds today is not historically accurate. Most people would wear a blanket over their shoulders. The people wear the capotes now, mostly to identify themselves as staff members. There was also a demonstration on how the Voyageurs would get dressed.

If you are hungry, there were plenty of snacks to enjoy. I enjoyed a maple stick. Maple syrup was poured on snow, then I wrapped the maple syrup with the stick. There was also a donut vendor. Or if you just want to relax there was a violin show in one of the buildings.

Finally, I would highly recommend walking up the tower (although I’m not sure if we were allowed to do this). The view overlooks Fort Williams Historic Park. It was a great way to end the day.

Overall, it was a fun day. However, some of the buildings were closed because it was winter so I just might have to go back and check those out as well.

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