The Voyageurs

The Voyageurs were the fur trader men that worked for the fur trading companies, the North West Company and the Hudsons Bay Company and traversed the North West in the 1800's via large canoes holding around ten men each. Each man would travel with as much as 540 pounds of cargo, plus the canoe as they portaged across many km of some of the most rugged terrain. They would have 90 pound packs, and some would carry 2, 3 or even 4. They were great singers, and as this Nation Film Board video puts it, "Such were the Voyageur, simple lusty men, they paddled, laughed, sang and drank their way into the pages of our history books. Their great canoes carried explorers and fur traders to every corner of that vast wilderness which was Canada. In the process a country was born."

The Voyageurs were an Important Part of Métis History because, the Voyageur men who retired from the fir trade and went free, partnered with first nations women in union referred to as Marriage à la façon du pays or Marriage in the manner of the country and went on to become the forefathers of the Métis people.

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