• Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall by Frances Anne Hopkins

    Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall (Canada), by Frances Anne Hopkins, 1869. (Image: Library and Archives Canada)

Sir George Simpson spent much of his early days as HBC Governor in a canoe, paddling to trading posts and forts, carrying out record-breaking canoe journeys across North America. It was all part of what James Raffan describes as Simpson's “management by canoe.”

“That was a big departure for the Hudson’s Bay Company,” says Raffan. “It was a Company of Adventurers who were moving the game pieces on a board in London with very little direct connection and Simpson just turned that completely around and salvaged the [company’s] business interests.”
 
In doing so as HBC Governor from 1826 to 1860, Simpson expanded the HBC fur trading empire to include an area equivalent to 1/12th of the earth’s landmass, with trading posts as far away as Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon as well as much of what is now Canada.
 
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