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As you paddle your canoe this weekend, let's remember its history

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center looks back on canoe freighting and its history in the region
'Canoe freighting, Porcupine City' Date unknown. Timmins Museum photo

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:

With the arrival of the long weekend and with very little places to go, this week’s article is about the beloved northern pastime of canoeing. Canoeing in our region dates back thousands of years and wasn’t necessarily a pastime.

The canoe was declared one of the seven wonders of Canada and was invented by First Nations peoples. The canoe provided a means to travel throughout the river systems and conduct business and trade across the country.

With the arrival of Europeans and the fur trade, “les voyageurs” adopted the use of the canoe. Les Voyageurs were French traders would traveled by canoe to transport furs. They could travel from Montreal to the forts that were scattered across Quebec and Ontario, bringing supplies to the outposts and in return bring back pelts for shipment to Europe. Long days of paddling with stops for portaging and eating was the norm.

The canoe was also a vital aide to develop the mining camps and towns across this region. Many men worked as canoe freighters during the summer months. This was done using individual canoes that went back and forth between Rupert’s House and Nemaska Post, for example. This was a distance of one hundred miles inland and was done using a 30-foot canoe carrying at times up to 4,000 pounds.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.