Peter Fidler

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Peter Fidler
One of Canada's greatest exploratory surveyors
Known for Places Named by/for Peter Fidler: English Island, Fidler Point. Statue in Elk Point, Alberta

Peter Fidler was one of Canada's greatest exploratory surveyors, and one of the few men who laid the framework for all maps of Western Canada. His story is one of bravery, stamina, and above all, loyalty.

Having been trained by the Hudson's Bay Company, together with his famous contemporary, David Thompson, Fidler arrived in the prairies in 1792. His task - to help build the first Hudson's Bay Company posts in Alberta. Over the length and breadth of Western Canada, 48,000 miles in all, Peter Fidler carried his sextant and his "artificial horizon of quicksilver." Wherever he went he made observations so he could determine the exact location of any point or the correct course of any river.

Fidler has much to tell us of the Indian tribes, the effect of the coming of the white man, the rivalry between the Hudson's Bay and North-West companies, and the establishment of the Red River settlement in 1812.

Excerpt from J.G. MacGregor's book, Peter Fidler, Canada's Forgotten Surveyor.

  • Born August 16, 1769 (one day after Napoleon) Bolsover, England
  • Joined Hudson's Bay Company, 1788
  • Studied surveying with Philip Turnor, 1790
  • Helped build Buckingham House, 1792
  • Mapmaking journey to Southern Alberta to Old Man River System, 1793
  • Married Mary, Cree woman from York Factory, about 1794
  • Factor at Buckingham House, 1797
  • Built Bolsover House, Meadow Lake, 1799
  • Built Greenwich House, Lac La Biche, 1799
  • Built Chesterfield House, Empress, 1800
  • Built Nottingham House, Ft. Chipewyan, 1802
  • Helped settle Selkirk settlers, Red River, 1813; Brandon House, 1817; Fort Dauphin, 1819
  • Passed away, 1822