History of Jasper

Early Beginnings

The first recorded visit to the Athabasca Valley was by surveyor David Thompson in 1810. The North West Company built a supply depot on Brule Lake in 1813, a settlement which later became known as Jasper House after North West Company clerk Jasper Haws. With the decline of the fur trade, Jasper House was abandoned in 1884. The Dominion Government established Jasper Forest Park in 1907, setting aside an area of some 13,000 square kilometers.
Totem pole
By 1911, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway had reached Fitzhugh (now Jasper) Station. The Jasper-Edmonton road opened in 1928.

Jasper Forest Park

In 1930, Jasper Forest Park was officially established as a Jasper National Park. Today more than 3 million visitors pass through the park gates each year, and more than 1.8 million stop to experience this unique wilderness and World Heritage Site.
Jasper Raven Totem Pole
For 94 years, a magnificent Haida totem pole stood like a sentry facing Jasper’s railway station. It was carved sometime during the 1870s to 1880s in Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (later the Canadian National Railway in the 1920s) acquired the pole in 1915 and sent it to Jasper by train. The original carved pole was unpainted cedar.

While in Jasper, the pole was painted several times to make it more attractive to visitors. In 2008, an assessment of the pole revealed advanced decay rendering it a public safety hazard. In April 2009, the totem pole was taken down.

In September 2009, the Minister of the Environment announced that Parks Canada will be replacing the Jasper Totem Pole with a new carving from its original home in Masset, British Columbia. The Government of Canada and Parks Canada worked with the Haida to repatriate the historic Raven Totem Pole back to the Queen Charlotte Islands.