Anthony Henday | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Anthony Henday

Anthony Henday, explorer (probably born on the Isle of Wight, England). Anthony Henday travelled farther into western Canada than any European had before him. His journal contains important glimpses of how Indigenous Peoples may have lived at that time.


A labourer for the Hudson's Bay Company at York Factory, Manitoba, he volunteered for a mission to encourage distant Indigenous Peoples to come and trade. Travelling with some Cree, he set out in June 1754 via the Hayes River. The party paddled up the Saskatchewan River and then proceeded on foot, apparently along the Battle River valley, meeting many Assiniboine en route.

In the autumn, they seem to have been southeast of present-day Red Deer, Alberta, when they found a great camp of "Archithinues" (Blackfoot or Gros Ventre). Henday and some of the Cree spent part of the winter nearby. In the spring they descended the North Saskatchewan River. Middlemen in the fur trade, the Cree collected furs from other Indigenous Peoples as they travelled eastward. The best furs were sold at French posts conveniently located on the lower Saskatchewan River. The remainder were taken to York Factory, where the party arrived in June 1755. In 1759, Henday went west again for a year, this time with some "Archithinues." He left the HBC's service in 1762 and probably returned to England. Described by Andrew Graham as a "bold, enterprising" man, he felt ill rewarded for his great hardships. (See also Exploration.)