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The Fur Industry

 

The Voyagers

         

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Built along the shore of Lac Saint-Louis, the Lachine Fur trade building was built in 1803 and served the returning fur brigades from the north and west through the late 1700's and early 1800's. Although the fur trade had begun almost as soon as there were settlements in New France and had expanded quickly in all directions where there were natives ready and willing to trade, it was mot looked upon as the reason for the settlements and a constant battle took place between those Courier de Bois ready to expand and exploit the fur trade and the habitants who were building a European civilization in the wilderness of America.

After the English victory in the Seven Years War, some English and Scottish businessmen established the Northwest Fur trading company in Montreal in order to compete with the Hudson Bay Company. The HBC was able to ship their furs out during the summer season, from the Hudson Bay trading posts, well the Northwest Company had to send brigades of canoes from Montreal deep into the heart of western Canadian to acquire furs and then carry them back to Montreal. By the early 1800's the Northwest company controlled about 75% of the furs trade back to England.

The men who paddled the canoes, carried on the trading for the furs and then brought them back were known as voyagers and they were mainly young strong French Canadians. The Fur trade site at Lachine shows how the fur trading system worked in and around Montreal and how it extended across the country. It is managed by Parks Canada and has been designated a national historic site.




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