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Voyageurs of the French River

The voyageurs were French Canadians who engaged in the transporting of furs by canoe during the fur trade years. The emblematic meaning of the term applies to places (New France) and times (primarily in the 18th and early 19th centuries) where transportation of materials was mainly over long distances.

This major and challenging task of the fur trading business was done by canoe and largely by French Canadians. Being a voyageur also included being a part of a licensed, organized effort, or one of the distinctions.

From Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, the French River forms part of the Heritage Waterway trade route used by Voyageurs. The images portraying sites of this route were commissioned and on display in the French River Trading Post, established in 1956. Until 2016, these charcoal drawings of French-Canadian Voyageurs have been housed in the Trading Post’s Motel. Upon the Motel’s elected demolition, these illustrations have found their way to Earls Court Gallery. The online exhibition “Voyageurs of the French River” is intended to respectfully share these artistic portrayals of trekking through early Canada’s trade routes.