Fort St James National Historic Site Photo Kim Walker
Fort St. James is a small community in Northern British Columbia built around the National Historic Site of the Hudson’s Bay Company post. This site was one of the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade with the First Nations in Canada. The site has since been fully restored to commemorate that partnership. There are numerous historic structures to be explored, as well as exhibits depicting the trade that took place there.
The region is also home to a stunning natural landscape with many hiking trails where you can see some of the rich wildlife that calls Northern British Columbia home.
Located on Stuart Lake, Fort St. James is 62 km (37 mi) north of Vanderhoof along Highway 27. South and west, 84 km (52 mi) is the small community of Fort Fraser. Prince George is 160 km (100 mi) south and east on Highways 27 and the Yellowhead Highway 16.
Fort St James was originally founded in 1806 as a Northwest Trading Company post by the Explorer Simon Fraser. It was only when the Northwest Trading Company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, that the site became a Hudson’s Bay Trading post. It had previously been known as the Stuarts Lake post, due to its close proximity to Stuarts Lake. The site continued to operate as a trading post up until its closure in 1952.
The site was later determined to be a National Historic Site of Canada, was rebuilt, and is maintained to this day. Many of the buildings there are from structures from the 1880s.
Stuarts Lake and the Stuart river are named after Simon Fraser’s assistant John Stuart.