The untold story of the Hudson’s Bay Company
A look back at the early years of the 350-year-old institution that once claimed a vast portion of the globe
- 4473 words
- 18 minutes
Continuing our deep dive into the Hudson’s Bay Company archives at the Manitoba Museum, this week we look at some of the items that figured prominently in trade, including the iconic point blanket
On this episode of Explore, we take another fascinating dive into the Hudson’s Bay Company Collection at the Manitoba Museum.
It contains over 27,000 items, far too many for us to pour through on our podcast, so we asked curator Amelia Fay to take us down into the vaults and talk about some of her favourite items, as well as items that speak to the long 350-year history of the HBC and its impact on Canada.
Amelia discusses the design of the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket, and what’s behind that colour scheme. She explains why moccasins have a strong case for being as important a First Nations tool in the fur trade as the birch bark canoe. We also look at some items that point to the HBC’s shift in the late 19th century from fur trading company to Canadian retail giant (HBC coffee anyone?).
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Host David McGuffin and RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Adam Shoalts reveal some of the compelling figures of the early fur trade in Canada: Henry Kelsey, Samuel Hearne, and the great Dene leader Matonabbee
As a way of illustrating the importance of company fur traders to the 100-year-old HBC collection, curator Amelia Fay pulls out three items donated by Julian Camsell, HBC Chief Factor for the MacKenzie District in Canada’s Arctic
The Explore podcast delves into the 350-year history of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In this, the first of a four-part series, we visit the James Bay Cree Nation of Waskaganish, site of the first-ever HBC trading post.