The Birchbark Canoe, {Beaver 1922}

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Indians traveling by canoe

Hoisting the big canoe

Portaging a 4-1/2 Fathom Fur-Trade Canoe, c. 1902, near the head of the Ottawa River. Shows an unusually large number of carriers; four would be the normal number.

Using the tumpline to carry the pieces over the portage

Indians working on a family-sized canoe

HBC canoe at Long Point, Quebec, c. 1902

Fur-Trade Canoe Brigade, Christopherson’s Hudson’s Bay Company Post, c. 1895, Five-fathom canoes, Ottawa River type.

Voyaging canoe named “ROB ROY” on Lake Chibougamau in northern Quebec, 1892 (Canadian Museum of Civilization)

Fur-trade canoes on the Missinaibi River c. 1901

On the Abitibi River, c. 1910

About once every hour the voyageurs in the great freight canoes were allowed time out from paddling to pack and light their short clay pipes. For the French canoemen the breaks became known as “pipes” and they were so regular that distances were recalled as “trois pipes” or “sept pipes.” The tranquil scene is a retrospective painting by Arthur Heming, who traveled with the last of the fur brigades.

Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior (1869) by Frances Anne Hopkins

Fall Encampment, Frances Anne Hopkins

Running the Rapids by Frances Anne Hopkins, 1863. It has the look of a six-fathom Hudson’s Bay Company canoe, traditionally built at Trois Rivieres. With the deep freeboard showing, it is evident that it is not loaded with freight, and the sixteen paddlers form an abnormally large crew. The passengers and highly experienced crew are running the Lachine Rapids in their Montreal canoe better known as a “cannot du maitre.”

Red River Expedition at Kakabeka Falls, Frances Hopkins 1870

Canoe manned by voyageurs passing a waterfall, 1869 by Frances Anne Hopkins (1838-1919) The three-and-a-half-fathom express canoe was a beautiful craft, built for carrying important officials of the Hudson’s Bay Company and important dispatches. The passengers are the artist, Frances Anne Hopkins and her husband, Edward Martin Hopkins, private secretary to Governor George Simpson of the HBC. Mrs. Hopkin’s keen power of observation gave her paintings a rare accuracy in every detail.

Testing out a new canoe

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