Fort Ellice was established in 1831 by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) on Beaver Creek as a strategic point for northwest trade routes. A second fort was built in 1862, slightly to the east of the original site. With the diminishing importance of the fur trade to the Western Canadian economy, HBC sold the lands to private interests in the 1920s. Little is left of these settlements, aside from historic graves and a marker indicating this notable site.
Nature has for the most part reclaimed the lands which saw traders travelling between Winnipeg (Fort Garry) and Edmonton. The site is now a stronghold of natural values that have been identified as extremely important by the Manitoba Scientific Advisory Committee due to the variety of ecosystems supported on the site.
From sandhill and mixed-grass prairies, aspen parklands to wetlands, the Fort Ellice lands provide habitat for a variety of species including elk, moose, monarch butterfly and the threatened Sprague’s pipit.
Today, NCC attained a true treasure in May 2012 with the purchase of Fort Ellice: a 3,500-acre (1,416-hectare) property. Fort Ellice is a significant historical and natural site. Sandhill prairie, oak-aspen forest, mixed-grass prairie and aspen parkland exist in this unique landscape. The area supports more than 160 species at risk and NCC continues to protect these habitats.
NCC's Fort Ellice property is located on the west side of St. Lazare. Exit the town through Highway 41 and drive approximately one mile. There will be a a right-hand turn south onto a gravel road. Follow that road to Fort Ellice. Fort Ellice is positioned on Beaver Creek near the confluence of the Assiniboine and Qu'Appelle Rivers, just east of the present-day Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.
Before heading out to Fort Ellice please contact the Manitoba Region at 1-866-683-6934 to obtain prior permission and coordinate your visit.