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It took 40 years to build, its cannons were never used, but the star-shaped, stone Fort Prince of Wales has been standing prominently on rocky Eskimo Point across the Churchill River since the 1770s. As English-French tensions mounted in the 1720s, HBC selected the site for presence and strategy, but surrendered during the first French attack in 1782, making it an Anglo-Maginot Line forerunner. It's a lonely, buggy place, with a real sense that duty here was best avoided.
The fort is one of three sites in the area documenting Churchill's varied history, administered by Parks Canada. Transportation to the sites across the water is handled by licensed tour operators and the entry fee is included in tour costs.
Four kilometers south of the fort, Sloop's Cove was a harbor for European vessels during Churchill's harsh winters. The only indications of early explorers are simple yet profound: names such as Samuel Hearne, local 18th-century governor and first to make an overland trip to the Arctic Ocean, are carved into the seaside rocks.