Voyageur

From the 1680s to 1870s  there was a big demand  in Europe  for furs and other goods from indigenous Canadian communities, and these were supplied by trading companies such as the Hudson Bay Company.  Voyageurs working for these companies, were mainly French Canadian. They travelled along waterways such as the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, transporting heavy loads between trading posts where they traded goods and services from Europeans with indigenous communities, such as beads and guns for furs and other items.

The voyageurs’ journey was long and dangerous. They traveled in canoes made from white cedar frames covered with birch bark. The  rivers were too narrow for large boats and ships. Each canoe carried up to 2 bundles of fur each 90 lbs.  ( more than 2 bags of concrete from home depot). Journeys lasted for days so they also had to carry food such as dried peas and beans, salted pork and pemmican.  Long portages meant they had to carrying their canoes and goods across land.

Voyageurs also learned customs and how to survive from indigenous communities.

If you were a voyageur and had to make a long journey in a canoe, what would you take with you?

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