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, exhibits and artifacts. The theatre features an excellent 10-minute audio-visual program. Souvenirs and books can be purchased at the gift shop. Refreshments, snack food, and washrooms are avaliable.
Picnic Area and Canoe Launch
Relax with a picnic lunch in the picturesque Red Deer River valley. Listen to the sounds of nature beside a crackling fire. Firewood is available for purchase when staff are present.
The Crossing is the ideal place to launch a canoe for an afternoon paddle down the Red Deer River. The river winds into the city and to other sites in the beautiful Waskasoo Park system.
Canoe and Raft
In Red Deer:
(River distances listed in brackets)
1. Lower Heritage Ranch (2 km to Kiwanis Picnic Park)
2. Kiwanis Picnic Park (1 km to Great West Adventure
3. Great West Adventure Park (4 km to McKenzie Trail)
4. McKenzie Trail Recreation Area (8 km to River Bend)
5. River Bend Golf & Recreation Area
Alternate Canoe and Raft
1. Dickson Dam: west of Innisfail on Highway 54 and Range Road 23. River distance to Innisfail
Bridge is 23 km.
2. Innisfail Bridge: west of Innisfail on Highway 54.River distance to Penhold Bridge is 10 km.
3. Penhold Bridge: west of Penhold on Secondary Highway 592. River distance to Fort Normandeau is 16 km, or to Kiwanis Picnic Park is 22 km.
4. River Bend Golf & Recreation Area: west of 30th Avenue on Riverbend Drive. River distance to Burbank is 10 km.
5. Burbank: east of Blackfalds on Secondary Highway 597. River distance to Joffre Bridge is 19 km.
6. Joffre Bridge: east of Red Deer on Highway 11.Recommended as take-out only. River distance to Content Bridge is 50 km.
Fort Normandeau, where three cultures came together and modern Central Alberta began.
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.
In early June every year, 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.
To contact us at Fort Normandeau, please call: