Search for "North West Company"

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Sault Ste Marie

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1887 and as a city in 1912, population 73,368 (2016 census), 75,141 (2011 census). The city of Sault Ste Marie is located adjacent to the rapids of the St Marys River between lakes Superior and Huron. Across the river is the American city of the same name. Sault Ste Marie sits on the traditional territory of the Ojibwe, who called the site Bawating (“place of the rapids”) and valued it for its access to the upper Great Lakes and as a source of abundant whitefish and maple sugar. It is popularly called “the Sault,” or “Soo.”

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Peter Bostonais Pangman

Peter (or Pierre) Bostonais Pangman, Métis leader, bison hunter (born 20 October 1791 in the North Saskatchewan River Valley area, present-day AB; died 4 March 1850 in St. François Xavier, present-day MB). Peter Bostonais Pangman was a skilled hunter who helped provide much-needed bison meat to the Red River Colony. He was actively involved in the Pemmican Wars and events surrounding the Battle of Seven Oaks. As part of the Pembina fur trade, Pangman was a key figure who rallied and inspired the Red River Valley Métis to see and express themselves with an identity separate from surrounding Indigenous peoples. The name Bostonais is variously spelled Bastonnais and Bostonnais.

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Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson, BC, population centre, population 3,366 (2016 census), 3,561 (2011 census). Fort Nelson is the service centre for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM). The NRRM is made up of a number of communities, of which Fort Nelson is the largest. Fort Nelson is located in the northeast corner of British Columbia, near the confluence of three rivers: Muskwa, Prophet and Sikanni Chief. Together these rivers combine to become the Fort Nelson River. The community is 387 km north of Fort St. John. It was named after British Admiral Horatio Nelson, famous for the Battle of Trafalgar. Incorporated as a town in 1987, Fort Nelson became a part of the NRRM in 2009.

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Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Explorer)

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, fur trader, explorer (born around 1764 near Stornoway, Scotland; died 12 March 1820 near Dunkeld, Scotland). Mackenzie was one of Canada’s greatest explorers. In two epic journeys for the North West Company in 1789 and 1793, he crossed the dense northern wilderness to reach the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. The first European to cross North America north of Mexico, he inspired later adventurers and traders, such as the famous Lewis and Clark expedition sponsored by the American military (1804–6). The Mackenzie River, named in his honour, symbolizes Mackenzie’s important place as a pioneer and fur trader in Canadian history.

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Hudson Bay

It is virtually landlocked but is joined to the Arctic Ocean to the north by Foxe Channel and Fury and Hecla Strait, and to the Atlantic Ocean on the east by Hudson Strait. Baffin Island lies athwart the entrance to the bay, and Southampton, Coats and Mansel islands are lodged across the northern gap.

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Hudson's Bay Company

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), chartered 2 May 1670, is the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world. HBC was a fur trading business for most of its history, a past that is entwined with the colonization of British North America and the development of Canada. The company now owns and operates nearly 250 department stores in Canada and the United States, including Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH. Originally headquartered in London, England, its head offices are located in Brampton, Ontario. HBC is a private business owned by a holding company.

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Fur Trade in Canada

The fur trade was a vast commercial enterprise across the wild, forested expanse of what is now Canada. It was at its peak for nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries. It was sustained primarily by the trapping of beavers to satisfy the European demand for felt hats. The intensely competitive trade opened the continent to exploration and settlement. It financed missionary work, established social, economic and colonial relationships between Europeans and Indigenous people, and played a formative role in the creation and development of Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about the fur trade. For a plain-language summary, please see Fur Trade in Canada (Plain Language Summary).)