The R.C.M.P. and the community built the present replica fort in 1974 as their centennial project, using some of the original fort's logs. Live interpretive performances and events are staged here throughout the summer.
Before the railway connected Edmonton and Calgary in 1893, the Red Deer River Crossing was the gateway between northern and southern Alberta. The native people knew it as the safest river crossing point for a long way upstream or downstream. In 1884 Robert McClellan built a stopping house at the crossing to take advantage of the traffic on the Calgary & Edmonton Trail. The next year, with the settlers afraid of violence during the Riel Rebellion, his hotel was fortified by the 65th Mount Royal Rifles under the command of Lt. J.E.Bedard Normandeau. Today the Crossing and its fort commemorate the First Nations, Metis, and European people who influenced the development of today's central Alberta.
The story of the Red Deer Crossing is displayed through dramatic programs, artifacts as well as new indoor and outdoor exhibits. The theatre features an excellent 12-minute audio-visual program. Public washrooms are available on site.
Throughout the summer, history is brought to life with authentic, entertaining, and informative live programs. All three of Red Deer's founding cultures are celebrated. Visitors can learn to make bannock or home-made ice cream. They might dance to First Nations or Metis music, toss the caber and eat haggis, or participate in an old-fashioned garden harvest.
Fort Normandeau Days brings an entire weekend of historical fun. 1885-era military skirmishes, traditional First Nations ceremonies and dancing are highlight events in the midst of craft displays, period foods and children's games.
From May through October, schools and youth groups can book the site for guided programs or even overnight campouts in the teepees. Summer day camps and teepee sleepovers give youngsters an in-depth exposure to their heritage.