It took 40 years to build and 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, the HBC selected the site for strategic purposes, but surrendered during the first French attack in 1782, making it an Anglo Maginot Line forerunner. The fort can only be visited on wildlife-watching boat tours (entry fee included).
A 15-minute boat trip away from Churchill, the fort is one of three sites in the area documenting Churchill's varied history, administered by Parks Canada. It's a lonely, buggy place, and gives a real sense that duty here was best avoided.
Four kilometers south of the fort, Sloop's Cove was a harbor for European vessels during Churchill's harsh winters. The only evidence of early explorers is 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.