Fort Chipewyan

Alberta. Hamlet
Hamlet on western tip of Lake Athabasca
58.7144 N 111.1583 W — Map 074L11 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1954
Official in Canada

Mackenzie left Fort Fork on 9 May 1793, following the route of the Peace River.[15] He crossed the Great Divide and found the upper reaches of the Fraser River, but was warned by the local natives that the Fraser Canyon to the south was unnavigable and populated by belligerent tribes.[16] He was instead directed to follow a grease trail by ascending the West Road River, crossing over the Coast Mountains and descending the Bella Coola River to the sea. He followed this advice and reached the Pacific coast on 20 July 1793, at Bella Coola, British Columbia, on North Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.[17] Having done this, he had completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico, 12 years before Lewis and Clark. He had unknowingly missed meeting George Vancouver at Bella Coola by 48 days.[citation needed]
He had wanted to continue westward out of a desire to reach the open ocean, but was stopped by the hostility of the Heiltsuk people.[18] Hemmed in by Heiltsuk war canoes, he wrote a message on a rock near the water’s edge of Dean Channel, using a reddish paint made of vermilion and bear grease, and turned back east. The inscription read: “Alex MacKenzie / from Canada / by land / 22d July 1793” (at the time the name Canada was an informal term for the former French territory in what is now southern Quebec and Ontario).[19]: 418  The words were later inscribed permanently by surveyors. The site is now Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park and is designated First Crossing of North America National Historic Site.[20] In 2016, Mackenzie was named a National Historic Person.[21]


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