Tour Locations | Ottawa: Pioneering Days
LOCATION 7 | Ottawa: Pioneering Days
The Fur Trade
Continue following the path back down towards the National Gallery.
In the early days, Europeans always had a keen interest in the money to be made from exploiting their colonies' resources. The colonies, in turn, were interested in the money to be made in supplying these resources.
The resources here were the fur pelts that the indigenous tribes were happy to trade for European metal goods, which they could not make for themselves. Around 1600, the Europeans discovered that beaver fur was ideal for making the very fashionable felt hats. The “beaver” trade became very profitable. Soon the competition became intense. The French colonies and their indigenous allies, the Hurons, were on one side and the English and Dutch colonies with their allies, the Iroquois, on the other.
The Ottawa river route was used by the French “Coureurs de Bois” or fur traders. They would paddle their big birch bark canoes loaded with furs from trading posts on the upper Great Lakes. This canoe was invented by the indigenous people. It was made by stripping the bark in one piece from a large birch tree and lacing it over a wood frame to make a banana shaped boat. Wood pitch was used to seal the joints.
A "Trading Post" was usually a small fort where the indigenous people came to trade their furs. Pelts were stored there for collection and transport to ships going to Europe.
Keep following the path beside the road and around the bend until you reach the crosswalk on your right. You'll hear from me again at the cross walk.