The Power of Water: Pelican Rapids

The swiftly rushing whitewater of the Pelican Rapids near Fort Fitzgerald are an arresting natural feature, but the rapids are more than that – they’re also an important piece of Wood Buffalo’s history. Before the advent of railways and roads, fur traders and travellers in the region used the area’s waterways as a means of travel.

The Pelican Rapids, along with the Cassette Rapids, the Mountain Rapids and the ominous-sounding Rapids of the Drowned created a virtually impassible barrier to the many canoes and barges that travelled up and down the river. Early fur traders created a portage route to circumnavigate the rapids, carving the small community of Fort Fitzgerald out of the wilderness in the process.