History

Explore presents the Hudson’s Bay Company - Part 4(2): Blankets and moccasins

Episode 18

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

  • Jun 19, 2020
Moccasins from the Manitoba Museum’s Hudson’s Bay Company archive laid out on one of the company’s iconic wool point blankets. (Photo courtesy Manitoba Museum)
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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?).

Early Hudson’s Bay Company retail items, late 19th/early 20th centuries. (Photo courtesy Manitoba Museum)
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