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Fort McPherson (Gwich’in language: Teet'lit ZhehTemplate:Pronunciation-needed at the head of the waters) is a hamlet located in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is located on the east bank of the Peel River and is Template:Convert south of Inuvik on the Dempster Highway.

The two principal languages spoken are Gwich'in and English.

Originally the site of a Hudson's Bay Company post the community was named for "Murdoch McPherson".

The Gwich’in people of Fort McPherson are very welcoming of strangers and go out of their way to make them welcome. Most people have vehicles and regularly make trips to either Inuvik, or Whitehorse.

History Edit


Fort McPherson was the starting point of Francis Joseph Fitzgerald's famous tragic journey of "The Lost Patrol". All four men on the Patrol, including Fitzgerald, were buried at Fort McPherson on 28 March 1911. In 1938, the graves were cemented over into one large tomb (to the right of the flag pole in above image), with cement posts at the four corners connected by a chain. In the centre is a memorial to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police Patrol of 1910.

National Historic SiteEdit

In 1969, the area comprising the boundaries of the community of Fort McPherson, as it was mapped in 1898, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada, in recognition of the fact that the site had served as the principal Hudson's Bay Company trading post in the MacKenzie Delta region for over 50 years, and had been the first North-West Mounted Police post in the Western Arctic.[1]


Fort McPherson is accessible by road all year from Dawson City and Whitehorse, Yukon, with the exception of spring break-up and fall freeze-up on the Peel River. The community also has access to Inuvik via the Dempster Highway and crosses the Mackenzie River at Tsiigehtchic.

There is also a small airport at Fort McPherson, Fort McPherson Airport, that has seasonal flights to Inuvik (Mike Zubko) Airport on Aklak Air when the road across the Peel is closed.[2] The former Fort McPherson Water Aerodrome was listed as closed in the 15 March 2007 Canada Flight Supplement.[3]


Population is 792 according to the 2011 Census,[4] a 2.1% increase over the 2006 Census count of 776. In 2012 the Government of the Northwest Territories reported that the population was 808 with an average yearly growth rate of -0.2% from 2001.[5] In the 2006 Census 715 people identified as aboriginal, 650 as North American Indian, 30 as Métis, 30 as Inuit or Inuvialuit, 10 giving multiple or other aboriginal responses and 55 Non-Aboriginal.[6]

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Climate Edit

Fort McPherson experiences a subarctic climate. The highest temperature ever recorded in Fort McPherson was Template:Convert on 7 August 1919 and 20 July 2001.[7][8] The coldest temperature ever recorded was Template:Convert on 14 January 1894.[9]

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See alsoEdit




Further readingEdit

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  • Carefoot, E. I., and N. A. Lawrence. Utility Study Settlement of Ft. McPherson for Department of Public Works, Government of the Northwest Territories. Edmonton: Associated Engineering Services, 1972.
  • Gallupe, Scott. Husky Lake, Fort McPherson Area Historic Hydrocarbon Exploration Investigation June 29, 1992. Inuvik, NT: Northern Affairs Program, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1992.
  • Kakfwi, Stephen. Literacy Program Funding, Fort McPherson. Yellowknife?, N.W.T.: Northwest Territories, Executive Council, 1991.
  • Manitoba Free Press. Pemmican Made at Fort McPherson, a Hudson's Bay Company's Post Sixty-Five Miles Within the Arctic Circle and Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy-Eight Miles Northwest of Winnipeg A Christmas Present from the Manitoba Free Press. Winnipeg: [s.n.], 1902. ISBN 0-665-78324-8
  • Northern Engineering Services Company, and Canadian Arctic Gas Study Limited. Report on All-Weather Road from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Fort McPherson, N.W.T. [Canada?]: Northern Engineering Services, 1972.
  • Northwest Territories, and Jane Gilmartin Gilchrist Collection (Newberry Library). Gwich'in Alphabet Posters Fort McPherson Dialect. [Fort McPherson]: Northwest Territories, Dept. of Education, Programs and Evaluation Branch, 1981.
  • Ripley, Klohn & Leonoff International Limited. Community Granular Materials Inventory Fort McPherson, N.W.T. [s.l.]: Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1972.

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External linksEdit

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