From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:
A competition for furs began between the French, The Northwest Company, and the English, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The competition created a new economy in the north which opened up the region to European settlement.
The fur trade network had many different jobs and responsibilities. Les coureurs de bois were independent French-Canadian entrepreneurs who trapped fur-bearing animals and traded with the indigenous for European goods.
Les voyageurs were French-Canadians who traveled by canoe to transport furs from Montreal to the forts and posts scattered across Quebec and Ontario. Women were leaders in their own bands in their own right and were valued trading partners of the HBC.
The indigenous people who lived close to the posts were hired as Homeguards. They did odd jobs like provide forest expertise to the European employees. They built canoes, hunted, fished, worked in the potato fields, herded cattle, and acted as voyageurs and guides.
It was customary to have to Homeguard families at each post where they hunted and crafted household things as well as necessities like snowshoes and canoes. They would also transport goods to and from Moose Factory.
For each service, they were paid in made beaver. A made beaver was the skin from one beaver and was used as a unit of account or form of currency with the HBC.
Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.