Fort Qu'Appelle (Assiniboine: hókuwa oʾį́nažį ) is a town in Southern Saskatchewan, Canada "located in the Qu'Appelle Valley 70 km NE of Regina between Echo and Mission Lakes" and not to be confused with the once-significant nearby town of Qu'Appelle. It was originally established in 1864 as a Hudson's Bay Company trading post. Fort Qu'Appelle, with its 1,919 residents in 2006, is at the junction of Sk Hwy 35, Sk Hwy 10, Sk Hwy 22, Sk Hwy 22, Sk Hwy 35, Sk Hwy 56, and Sk Hwy 215. The 1897 Hudson’s Bay Company store, 1911 Grand Trunk Pacific Railway station, Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium (Fort San), and the Treaty 4 Governance Centre in the shape of a "teepee are all landmarks of this community. Additionally, the Noel Pinay sculpture of a man praying commemorates a burial ground, is a life sized statue in a park beside Segwun Avenue.
The current site is the third Fort Qu'Appelle. The first was a North West Company trading post (1801–05), also in the valley but near what is now the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border. The Hudson's Bay Company itself first used the name for a post north of present-day Whitewood (some 174 kilometres east of Regina on Number 1 Highway) from 1813 to 1819.
Prior to the mid-19th century establishment of the more lengthily surviving fur-trading post at the ultimate site of the town, it "was the hub of several historic trails that traversed the northwest." It was the site of a Hudson's Bay Company post from 1852 to 1854. An Anglican mission was established and which still survives as the town's St. John the Evangelist Anglican parish church.
The post was revived again from 1864 to 1911. With the signing of Treaty 4 by Cree and Salteaux aboriginal peoples at Fort Qu'Appelle the North-West Mounted Police, now the RCMP, arrived and have maintained a continuous presence in the town ever since.
Substantial transformation of Fort Qu'Appelle occurred when farm development began in the 1880s and farmers required a nearby urban centre for selling their grain and other products, purchasing agricultural and domestic supplies and for social gathering beyond rural schools and churches. It was not anticipated that initial partition of agricultural land into farms of one-quarter section (250 acres) would not last long and farm population would substantially reduce very quickly; the process accelerated in the 1970s when farmers began selling their land and retiring in substantial numbers to Fort Qu'Appelle and the custom of elderly farmers remaining at home with offspring past into history, with more retiring to town.
The name "Qu'Appelle" comes from "is French for 'who calls' and is derived from its Cree name, kah-tep-was ('river that calls'). There are several versions of the origin of this name, but the most popular suggests it refers to a Cree legend of two ill-fated lovers." The name refers to the once-popular legend of the Qu'Appelle Valley versified by Pauline Johnson and known nation-wide. "Fort Qu’Appelle was the crossroads of a number of historic trails that traversed the North-West Territories."
The town is immediately adjacent to the site of the original Fort Qu'Appelle Hudson's Bay Company trading post, whose "factory" is maintained as a historical site and museum. The Hudson's Bay trading post was built in 1864 when the Company's activity was still largely confined to the fur trade with indigenous residents. "[P]emmican was shipped down valley on a Hudson’s Bay Company cart trail to supply the paddlers of the fur trade in more forested regions."
Despite the once well-known gathering of General Middleton and soldiers at Qu'Appelle, at the western-most extreme of the still-incomplete Canadian Pacific Railway and some kilometres south of the Qu'Appelle Valley, "[i]t was at Fort Qu’Appelle that General Middleton commenced the real preparations for the campaign against the Métis during the 1885 Resistance. Middleton empowered Captain French, an Irish officer who had been in the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), to raise a mounted force in the vicinity of Fort Qu’Appelle....This mounted troop,...joined the 10th Royal Grenadiers from Toronto and the Winnipeg Field Battery under the command of artillery officer Lieutenant-Colonel C.E. Montizambert, to form the west-bank column that would march from Qu’Appelle to Batoche," where the notorious battling would occur.
After ethnic European settlement by farmers had become established in the 1880s—a post office being established in 1880—the original Hudson's Bay Company activity was replaced by its department store on Broadway Street in 1897. By this time the fur trade had lapsed but the town community and farmers travelling into town for shopping had substantially increased in number. The store building remains though long disused by the Bay.
There was once certain ambiguity as to entitlement to the town-name between the present town and the once-significant regional centre bearing the name "Qu'Appelle"; the matter ceased to be an issue in 1911 when the two communities agreed to deem the then-CPR station site as Qu'Appelle and the town in the valley as Fort Qu'Appelle. As did the town of Qu'Appelle, Fort Qu'Appelle early-on had "a bid to succeed Battleford as the territorial capital" but "lost out to Regina...in 1882."
The name Fort Qu'Appelle was given to a number of trading posts in the Qu'Appelle valley. Near Fort Espérance both the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company had temporary posts that were apparently called Fort Qu'Appelle. (The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company merged in 1821.) From 1855 until 1864 the Hudson's Bay Company had a Fort Qu'Appelle a little south of McLean, Saskatchewan. It was an outpost of Fort Ellice and was mainly a source of pemmican. In 1864 it was moved to the present site of Fort Qu'Appelle.
Three industrial boarding schools for First Nations adolescents were established in 1883, including one on the south side of Mission Lake across from Lebret on the north side of the lake, as well as Battleford and High River.
It was often claimed that colonial administration of Canada, once “British North America,” was very different from that in other British colonies. But it has been alleged to have been corruption on the part of Edgar Dewdney when he was Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories to place the capital in Buffalo Bones rather than Fort Qu’Appelle or Qu’Appelle. On the other hand, Fort Qu’Appelle is strikingly similar to Murree , northeast of Rawalpindi and once the summer capital of British India, and Maymyo, Burma highlands. It was in 1915 that, "Sir Robert Borden has been invited by the Saskatchewan Art Society to unveil a memorial at Ft. Qu'Appelle to the signing of the first treaty in 1874 between the Dominion and the plains Indians." The site of the fort was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1953.