Fort McPherson

Fort McPherson

Teetł'it Zheh – “Place at the head of the waters”

Population: 792

The first community you’ll encounter when driving north on the Dempster, this friendly Gwich’in town is set in the rolling Richardson foothills along the Peel River, a popular paddling route. Don’t miss the famous Tent and Canvas shop, source of heavy-duty trapper’s tents, satchels and souvenirs, as well as the graves of the Lost Patrol – four Mounties who died en route to Dawson City in the terrible winter of 1911.

Location: 67°26′ N, 134°53′ W
Elevation: 43 metres
Population: 816
Traditional name: Teet'lit Zheh – “At the head of the waters”
Named for: A Hudson Bay Company trader, Murdoch McPherson
Setting: On a bluff above the east bank of the Peel River, facing the Richardson Mountains
Languages: Gwich’in, English
Ethnicities: Dene (Teetl'it Gwich'in), non-Aboriginal
Getting here: Via the Dempster Highway from Dawson City, Yukon (eight hours) or Inuvik (two hours)
Founded In: For centuries this was a traditional meeting place for Gwich’in people. In 1849 John Bell, an explorer for the Hudson Bay Company, established a trading post along the lower Peel River, four miles up from where the community of Fort McPherson is now situated
Claim to fame: Was the starting point of the RCMP’s tragic 1910-11 “Lost Patrol,” where four Mounties bound for the Klondike starved and froze in the Richardson Mountains. Their tomb, and a memorial to them, is found in the local graveyard
Visit for: Purchasing locally made backpacks and other high-quality wilderness gear at the Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas shop; attending the Midway Lake Music Festival (early August)
Best expedition: Paddling the spectacular Peel River watershed
Notable locals: Mountie Francis Fitzgerald, who led the tragic Lost Patrol; John Tetlichi, the first Aboriginal member of the Territorial Council; Wally Firth, the first northern Aboriginal Member of Parliament; and Richard Nerysoo, the first Aboriginal Northwest Territories premier
 

Tell me more about Fort McPherson’s history

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This park is perched on a cliff overlooking the Peel River and surrounded by stands of white birch and white spruce trees. It's an ideal place to unwind for a few nights on the long journey up or down the Dempster. The visitor centre offers a fascinating glimpse of the...

This park is perched on a cliff overlooking the Peel River and surrounded by stands of white birch and white spruce trees. It's an ideal place to unwind for a few nights on the long journey up or down the Dempster. The visitor centre offers a fascinating glimpse of the...

This park is perched on a cliff overlooking the Peel River and surrounded by stands of white birch and white spruce trees. It's an ideal place to unwind for a few nights on the long journey up or down the Dempster. The visitor centre offers a fascinating glimpse of the...

Established in 1970 to stimulate employment in Fort McPherson, this community-based enterprise combines local traditional skills with current manufacturing and production methods to craft a wide selection of products, from canvas tents to...