Snowshoes for winter travel were almost universal among Aboriginal people in Canada outside the Pacific and Arctic coasts. The Athapaskans of the West and Algonquians of the northeast made the most sophisticated snowshoes. Frames were generally made of durable, flexible ash wood, and lacing from deer, caribou and moose hide. The toe and tail sections of the shoe were laced with a light babiche and the central body with a heavy babiche for better weight suspension. The Indian-style moccasin is the traditional snowshoe footwear. Much Indian folklore centred on the snowshoe. The Ojibwa, for example, celebrated the first snowfall of the winter with a snowshoe dance. During the early historic period the snowshoe was as important as the canoe, the wagon or the railway in opening up the country.
See also snowshoeing.