Fort Témiscamingue

Coordinates: 47°17′19″N 79°27′41″W / 47.28861°N 79.46139°W / 47.28861; -79.46139

Fort Témiscamingue was a trading post from the 17th century in Duhamel-Ouest, Quebec, near Ville-Marie, Canada, located on the fur trade route on the east shore of Lake Timiskaming. Nowadays, the fort is a National Historic Site of Canada.

History

Circa 1679, the government of New France established a fort on Lake Timiskaming to compete with the English posts on the Hudson Bay, but was destroyed by the Iroquois in 1688. In 1720, a new Fort Témiscamingue was founded by French merchants on a strategic location where the two shores of Lake Timiskaming come closer than 250 meters (820 ft) to each other, a former Algonquin encampment site called "Obadjiwan Point" (meaning "the strait where the current flows"). This became a centre for the fur trade route from Montreal to Hudson Bay, roughly located halfway between these two: both about 20 days of canoeing and portaging away.

After the fall of New France in 1760, the North West Company took over the fort and gained a virtual trade monopoly by the 1790s. In 1821, the fort came into the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company.

A Roman Catholic mission originally established at Fort Témiscamingue on the eastern shore of Lake Timiskaming in present-day Quebec was relocated to the Ontario shore of the lake in 1863. The mission comprised a presbytery for the Oblate fathers, a small hospital operated by two Grey Sisters of the Cross, and eventually a frame church.

In 1864, it became the seat of its district. By the end of the 19th century, lumbermen, missionaries, and settlers succeeded the fur traders and the fort's role as a trading post gradually became obsolete. In 1902, it closed down.

National historic site

Declared a national historic site in 1931, the site is notable for its cultural and natural heritage. The park's territory is mainly three distinct natural areas: the plateau, the escarpments and the lowlands. Overall, over 80% of the total area of the park is a wooded area with approximately 20 different stands and a number of plants from the climactic forest type of the Laurentian maple stand and the Upper St. Lawrence forest sub-region. Of particular interest is a forest of cedar trunks so twisted that it was nicknamed the "Enchanted Forest".

Of the fort itself not much remained, but a modern visitor's centre, exhibits, and reenactments highlight the cultural history of the place.