Gordon Square in Fort William has long been a hub of activity and a community centre, marked by significant developments that have shaped its history and present. The square has seen the transformation of Fort William from a modest settlement to the largest town in the Highlands, recognized as the "Outdoor Capital of the UK."
The first significant milestone in Gordon Square and Fort William's development was the Caledonian Canal (Canal Cailleannach), opening in 1822. This new waterway brought the first wave of tourists to the area, introducing a new source of commerce and community growth.
This influx of visitors increased dramatically with the arrival of the railway in 1894. This brought more visitors and provided new opportunities for the town's residents to interact with people from other areas, broadening the cultural influences and experiences within the community.
The West Highland Way, a popular long-distance walk from Milngavie near Glasgow to Fort William, has also played a vital role in the history of Gordon Square. As the route's endpoint, the town has become a favourite destination for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, cementing its status as a hub for outdoor activities in the UK.
Fort William and Gordon Square became an established destination for coach tours of the Highlands and a starting point for mountaineers eager to conquer Ben Nevis. With a ferry trip on Loch Linnhe providing stunning views of Ben Nevis, the town and Gordon Square remain beautiful and historic.
Gordon Square is also a gateway to the west end of the town, leading to loch-side gardens, a popular spot for wildlife spotting and enjoying unforgettable sunsets.
The square's role in Fort William's development has been captured in numerous 20th-century postcards featuring views from in and around Gordon Square. Sending a postcard from here to loved ones back home has become a tradition for many visitors, sharing a piece of the Fort William experience and its history.
So, whether you're tracing the path of the millions of visitors who have enjoyed the hospitality, explored the town, bought souvenirs, or discovered it for the first time, Gordon Square's rich history and welcoming atmosphere will surely make your visit memorable.