Coureur des bois

A coureur des bois (French pronunciation: ​[kuʁœʁ de bwa]) or coureur de bois (French pronunciation: ​[kuʁœʁ də bwa]; "runner of the woods"; plural: coureurs de bois) was an independent entrepreneurial French-Canadian trader who traveled in New France and the interior of North America, usually to trade with First Nations peoples by exchanging various European items for furs. Some learned the trades and practices of the Native people.

These expeditions were part of the beginning of the fur trade in the North American interior. Initially they traded for beaver coats but, as the market grew, coureurs de bois were trapping and trading prime beavers whose skins were to be felted in Europe.[1]

Coureur de bois
Coureur de bois, a woodcut by Arthur Heming (1870–1940)
La Vérendrye
A coureur des bois in the painting, La Vérendrye at the Lake of the Woods, circa 1900-1930


While the French had been trading and living among the natives since the earliest days of New France, coureurs des bois reached their apex during the second half of the 17th century. After 1681, the independent coureur des bois was gradually replaced by state-sponsored voyageurs, who were workers associated with licensed fur traders. They traveled extensively by canoe. Coureurs des bois lost their importance in the fur trade by the early 18th century. However, even while their numbers were dwindling, the coureur des bois developed as a symbol of the colony, creating a lasting myth that would continue to define New France for centuries.[2]

Depiction of Samuel de Champlain (1574–1635) by Theophile Hamel (1870)

1610–1630: early explorers and interpreters

Shortly after founding a permanent settlement at Quebec City in 1608, Samuel de Champlain sought to ally himself with the local native peoples or First Nations. He decided to send French boys to live among them to learn their languages in order to serve as interpreters, in the hope of persuading the natives to trade with the French rather than with the Dutch, who were active along the Hudson River and Atlantic coast.[3]

The boys learned native languages, customs, and skills, and tended to assimilate quickly to their new environments. A year after leaving Étienne Brûlé in 1610, with a Huron tribe, Champlain visited him, and was surprised to find the young man attired completely in native clothing and able to converse fluently in the Huron language.[4] Early explorers such as Brûlé educated the French colonists on the complex trading networks of the natives, serve as interpreters, and encourage the burgeoning fur trade. Between 1610 and 1629, dozens of Frenchmen spent months at a time living among the natives. Over time, these early explorers and interpreters played an increasingly active role in the fur trade, paving the way for the emergence of the coureurs des bois proper in the mid-17th century.

1649–1681: rise

Western New France, 1688
Map of Great Lakes Region of New France, 1688 (by Vincenzo Coronelli 1650–1718)
Radisson & Groseillers Established the Fur Trade in the Great North West, 1662, by Archibald Bruce Stapleton (1917-1950)
Radisson & Groseillers Established the Fur Trade in the Great North West, 1662, by Archibald Bruce Stapleton (1917–1950)
Edict of King making selling fur illegal
Edict of the King of France in 1681, limiting fur trade participation

The term "coureur des bois" is most strongly associated with those who engaged in the fur trade in ways that were considered to be outside of the mainstream.[5] Early in the North American fur trade era, this term was applied to men who circumvented the normal channels by going deeper into the wilderness to trade.

Traditionally, the government of New France preferred to let the natives supply furs directly to French merchants, and discouraged French settlers from venturing outside the Saint Lawrence valley. By the mid-17th century, Montreal had emerged as the center of the fur trade, hosting a yearly fair in August where natives exchanged their pelts for European goods.[6] Thus, while coureurs des bois never entirely disappeared, they were heavily discouraged by French colonial officials. In 1649, however, the new governor Louis d'Ailleboust permitted Frenchmen familiar with the wilderness to visit "Huron country" to encourage and escort Hurons to Montreal to participate in the trade.[7] While this did not legally sanction coureurs des bois to trade independently with the natives, some historians consider d'Ailleboust's encouragement of independent traders to mark the official emergence of the coureurs des bois.[7][8]

In the 1660s, several factors resulted in a sudden spike in the number of coureurs des bois. First, the population of New France markedly increased during the late 17th century, as the colony experienced a boom in immigration between 1667–84.[9] Of the new engagés (indentured male servants), discharged soldiers, and youthful immigrants from squalid, class-bound Europe arriving in great numbers in the colony, many chose freedom in the life of the coureur des bois. Furthermore, renewed peaceful relations with the Iroquois in 1667 made traveling into the interior of Canada much less perilous for the French colonists.[10] The companies that had been monopolizing and regulating the fur trade since 1645, the Cent Associés and the Communautés des Habitants, went bankrupt after the Iroquois war.[11] The Compagnie des Indes occidentales, which replaced them, was much less restrictive of internal trade, allowing independent merchants to become more numerous. Finally, a sudden fall in the price of beaver on the European markets in 1664 caused more traders to travel to the "pays d'en haut", or upper country (the area around the Great Lakes), in search of cheaper pelts.[11] During the mid-1660s, therefore, becoming a coureur des bois became both more feasible and profitable.

This sudden growth alarmed many colonial officials. In 1680, the intendant Duchesneau estimated that there were eight hundred coureurs des bois, or about 40% of the adult male population.[12] However, reports like that were wildly exaggerated: in reality, even at their zenith coureurs des bois remained a very small percentage of the population of New France.

1681–1715: decline

In 1681, to curb the unregulated business of independent traders and their burgeoning profits, French minister of marine Jean-Baptiste Colbert created a system of licenses for fur traders, known as congés.[13] Initially, this system granted 25 annual licenses to merchants traveling inland. The recipients of these licenses came to be known as "voyageurs" (travelers), who canoed and portaged fur trade goods in the employ of a licensed fur trader or fur trading company. The congé system, therefore, created the voyageur, the legal and respectable counterpart to the coureur des bois. Under the voyageurs, the fur trade began to favor a more organized business model of the times, including monopolistic ownership and hired labor. From 1681 onwards, therefore, the voyageurs began to eclipse the coureurs des bois, although coureurs des bois continued to trade without licenses for several decades.[13] Following the implementation of the congé system, the number of coureurs des bois dwindled, as did their influence within the colony.



A successful coureur des bois had to possess many skills, including those of businessman and expert canoeist.[14] To survive in the Canadian wilderness, coureurs des bois also had to be competent in a range of activities including fishing, snowshoeing and hunting.[15] As one Jesuit described them, venturing into the wilderness suited "the sort of person who thought nothing of covering five to six hundred leagues by canoe, paddle in hand, or of living off corn and bear fat for twelve to eighteen months, or of sleeping in bark or branch cabins".[16] As the life was both physically arduous and illegal, succeeding as a coureur was extremely difficult. However, the hope of making a profit motivated many, while the promise of adventure and freedom was enough to convince others to become outlaws.[17]

Long distance fur trade and canoe travel

Voyageur canoe
Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall 1868, by Frances Anne Hopkins (1838–1919)

Because of the lack of roads and the necessity to transport heavy goods and furs, fur trade in the interior of the continent depended on men conducting long-distance transportation by canoe of fur trade goods, and returning with pelts. Early travel was dangerous and the coureurs des bois, who traded in uncharted territory, had a high mortality rate. Typically, they left Montreal in the spring, as soon as the rivers and lakes were clear of ice (usually May), their canoes loaded with supplies and goods for trading. The course west to the richest beaver lands usually went by way of the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers; it required numerous overland portages. Alternatively, some canoes proceeded by way of the upper St. Lawrence River and the lakes, passing by Detroit on the way to Michilimackinac or Green Bay. This route had fewer portages, but in times of war, it was more exposed to Iroquois attacks. The powerful Five Nations of the Confederacy had territory along the Great Lakes and sought to control their hunting grounds.

Such trading journeys often lasted for months and covered thousands of kilometers, with the coureurs des bois sometimes paddling twelve hours a day.[15] Packing a canoe for such a trip was often arduous, as more than thirty articles were considered essential for a coureur des bois's survival and business. He could trade for food, hunt, and fish—but trade goods such as "broadcloth, linen and wool blankets, ammunition, metal goods (knives, hatchets, kettles), firearms, liquor, gunpowder and sometimes even finished clothing, took up the majority of space in the canoe."[18] Food en route needed to be lightweight, practical and non-perishable.

Relationships with the natives

The business of a coureur des bois required close contact with the indigenous peoples. Native peoples were essential because they trapped the fur-bearing animals (especially beaver) and prepared the skins. Relations between coureurs and natives were not always peaceful, and could sometimes become violent.[19] In general, however, trade was made much easier by the two groups maintaining friendly relations. Trade was often accompanied by reciprocal gift-giving; to the Algonquin and others, exchanging gifts was customary practice to maintain alliances.[20] Pierre-Esprit Radisson and his companions, for instance, "struck agreeable relations with Natives inland by giving European goods as gifts".[21]

Alfred Jacob Miller - "Bourgeois" W---r, and His Squaw - Walters 37194078
'Bourgeois' W---r, and His Squaw (A French trapper and a Native American woman) 1858–1860, by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810–1874)

Furthermore, relations between the coureur de bois and the natives often included a sexual dimension; Marriage 'à la façon du pays' (following local custom) was common between native women and coureurs des bois, and later between native women and voyageurs.[22] These unions were of benefit to both sides, and in later years, winter partners of major trading companies also took native wives. As wives, indigenous women played a key role as translators, guides and mediators- becoming "women between".[23] For one thing, Algonquin communities typically had far more women than men, likely as a result of warfare. The remaining marriages between Algonquins tended to be polygamous, with one husband marrying two or more women. Sexual relationships with coureurs des bois therefore offered native women an alternative to polygamy in a society with few available men.[24]

To French military commanders, who were often also directly involved in the fur trade, such marriages were beneficial in that they improved relations between the French and the natives. Native leaders also encouraged such unions, particularly when the couple formed lasting, permanent bonds. Jesuits and some upper-level colonial officials, however, viewed these relationships with dislike and disgust.[25] French officials preferred coureurs des bois and voyageurs to settle around Quebec City and Montreal. They considered the lasting relationships with native women to be further proof of the lawlessness and perversion of the coureurs des bois.[26]


The role and importance of the coureurs des bois have been exaggerated over the course of history. This figure has achieved mythological status, leading to many false accounts, and to the coureurs des bois being assimilated with "Canadiens" (Canadians).

The myth-making followed two paths. Initially, people in France judged the colonies according to the fears and apprehensions that they had in the Ancien Régime. If order and discipline were proving difficult to maintain in continental Europe, then it seemed impossible that the colonies would fare any better; indeed, it was presumed that things would be even worse.[2] Accounts of young men choosing a life where they would "do nothing", be "restrained by nothing", and live "beyond the possibility of correction" played into the French elite's fears of insubordination[6] and only served to confirm their prejudice; and thus coureurs des bois became emblematic of the colony for those in the metropolis.

Pierre François Xavier Charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix (1682–1761)

The myth of the coureurs des bois as representative of the Canadians was stimulated by the writings of 18th-century Jesuit priest F-X. Charlevoix and the 19th-century American historian Francis Parkman; their historical accounts are classified as belonging to popular rather than academic history.[27] Charlevoix was particularly influential in his writings, because he was a trusted source of information, as he was a Jesuit priest who had journeyed in Canada. But his "historical" work has been criticized by historians for being too "light" and for relying too heavily on other authors' material (i.e. plagiarizing), rather than his own first-hand account.[27] Critics of Charlevoix have also noted that in his account, he confuses different periods of time, and therefore does not differentiate between voyageurs and coureurs des bois, misrepresenting the importance of the latter in terms of number and proportion in terms on influence on trading.[2] But Charlevoix was influential; his work was often cited by other authors, which further propagated the myth of the Canadian as a coureur des bois.

Finally, romans du terroir (rural novels) also added to the myth of the coureurs des bois by featuring them out of proportion to their number and influence. The coureurs des bois were portrayed in such works as extremely virile, free-spirited and of untameable natures, ideal protagonists in the romanticized novels of important 19th-century writers such as Chateaubriand, Jules Verne and Fenimore Cooper.[28]

Notable examples

Most coureurs des Bois were primarily or solely fur trade entrepreneurs and not individually well known. The most prominent coureurs des bois were also explorers and gained fame as such.

Étienne Brûlé was the first European to see the Great Lakes. He traveled to New France with Samuel de Champlain.[29]

Jean Nicolet (Nicollet) de Belleborne (Ca. 1598 – 1 November 1642) was a French coureur des bois noted for exploring Green Bay in what is now the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Nicolet was born in Normandy, France in the late 1590s and moved to New France in 1618. In that same year, he was recruited by Samuel de Champlain who arranged for him to live with a group of Algonquians, designated as the "Nation of the Isle" to learn Native languages and later serve as an interpreter.[30] The Natives quickly adopted Nicolet as one of their own, even allowing him to attend councils and negotiate treaties. In 1620, Nicolet was sent to make contact with the Nipissing, a group of natives who played an important role in the growing fur trade. After having established a good reputation for himself, Nicolet was sent on an expedition to Green Bay to settle a peace agreement with the Natives of that area.[31]

Médard Chouart des Groseilliers (1618–1696) was a French explorer and fur trader in Canada. In the early 1640s, Des Groseilliers relocated to Quebec, and began to work around Huronia with the Jesuit Missions in that area. There, he learned the skills of a coureur des bois, and in 1653 married his second wife, Margueritte.[32] Her brother, Pierre-Esprit Radisson, also became a notable figure in the fur trade and is often mentioned in the same breath as des Groseilliers. Radisson and des Grosseilliers would also travel and trade together, as they did throughout the 1660s and 1670s. Together, they explored west into previously unknown territories in search of trade. Having incurred legal problems in New France because of their trade, the two explorers went to France in an attempt to rectify their legal situation. When this attempt failed, the pair turned to the English. Through this liaison with the English and thanks to their considerable knowledge and experience in the area, the pair are credited with the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company.[33]

Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636–1710) was a French-Canadian fur trader and explorer. His life as explorer and trader is crucially intertwined with that of his brother-in-law, Médard des Groseilliers. Radisson came to New France in 1651, settling in Trois-Rivières.[34] That same year, he was captured by the Mohawks while duck hunting. Although two of his companions were killed during this exchange, the Natives spared Radisson's life and adopted him.[35] Through this adoption, Radisson learned native languages that would later serve him well as an interpreter. He worked throughout the 1660s and 1670s with his brother-in-law, des Groseilliers, on various trade and exploration voyages into the west of the continent. Much of Radisson's life during this period is wrapped up in the story of des Groseilliers. Together they are credited with the establishment and shaping of the Hudson's Bay Company.[36]

Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut (1639–1710) was a French soldier and explorer who is the first European known to have visited the area where the city of Duluth, Minnesota is now located and the headwaters of the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids.[37]

Jacques La Ramee (1784–1821)

Pierre de La Vérendrye (1685–1749)

Louis-Joseph de La Vérendrye and his three brothers, the sons of the Vérendrye mentioned above (1717-1761)

François Baby (1733–1820)

Jacques Baby (1731–1789)

Horace Bélanger (1836–1892)

Jean-Marie Ducharme (1723–1807)

Dominique Ducharme (1765–1853)

Luc de la Corne (1711–1784)

Jacques de Noyon (1668–1745)

In literature, television, and film

The 1910 Victor Herbert operetta Naughty Marietta featured the male-chorus marching song Tramp Tramp Tramp (Along the Highway), which included the words, "Blazing trails along the byway / Couriers de Bois are we" [sic]. (Some later versions change Rida Johnson Young's lyric to "For men of war are we.")

In James A. Michener's 1974 historical novel, Centennial and the 1978–1979 NBC television mini-series of the same name, the colorful, French Canadian or French Metis, coureur des bois, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, named Pasquinel, was introduced as an early frontier mountain man and trapper, in 1795 Colorado, Spanish Upper Louisiana Territory of Mexico, now the present-day state of Colorado. Pasquinel was portrayed in the miniseries by American TV actor Robert Conrad. The fictional character of Pasquinel was loosely based on the lives of French-speaking fur traders Jacques La Ramee and Ceran St. Vrain. In a 1990 skit called "Trappers," the Canadian comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall depict two trappers, Jacques (Dave Foley) and François (Kevin McDonald), canoeing through high-rise offices and cubicles to trap businessmen wearing designer Italian suits as a parody of this moment in Canadian colonial history.[38] More recently, in 2015, The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, depicts a group of uncharacteristically violent, anti-Indian coureurs des bois in North Dakota, which was contrary to these trappers, who embraced the culture and way of life of Native Americans.

See also


  1. ^ Daschuk, James (2013). Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. University of Regina Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8897-7296-0.
  2. ^ a b c Wien, Thomas (2005). Mémoires de Nouvelle-France: De France En Nouvelle-France. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. pp. 179–186.
  3. ^ Jacquin, P. (1996). Les Indiens Blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre Expression. p. 41.
  4. ^ Jacquin, P. (1996). Les Indiens Blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre Expression. p. 38.
  5. ^ Eccles, W.J. (1983) [1969]. The Canadian Frontier 1534–1760 (revised ed.). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-0705-1. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Greer, Allan (1997). The people of New France. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 53.
  7. ^ a b Jacquin, P. (1996). Les Indiens blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre Expression. p. 105.
  8. ^ Lancotôt, Guylaine (1997). A history of Canada. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 248–249.
  9. ^ Greer, Allan (1997). The people of New France. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 18.
  10. ^ White, Richard (1991). The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 29.
  11. ^ a b Dechêne, Louise (1992). Habitants and Merchants in seventeenth-century Montreal. Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 74.
  12. ^ Colby, Charles W. (1908). Canadian types of the old regime:1608-1698. New York: H. Holt and Co. p. 193.
  13. ^ a b Podruchny, Carolyn (2006). Making the voyageur world: Travellers and traders in the North American fur trade. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 22.
  14. ^ "The Coureur de Bois". The Chronicles of America. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Coureur de Bois: Courage and Canoes". Exploration, the Fur Trade and the Hudson Bay Company. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Dechêne, Louise (1992). Habitants and Merchants in seventeenth-century Montreal. Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 122.
  17. ^ Jacquin, P. (1996). Les Indiens blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre Expression. p. 136.
  18. ^ Volo, James M.; Volo, Dorothy Denneen (2002). Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 176–177. Retrieved October 5, 2015..
  19. ^ White, Richard (1991). The middle ground: Indians, empires, and republics in the Great Lakes region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 110.
  20. ^ White, Richard (1991). The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 107.
  21. ^ Colpitts, George (2002). "'Animated like Us by Commercial Interests': Commercial Ethnology and Fur Trade Descriptions in New France, 1660-1760". Canadian Historical Review. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 83 (3). doi:10.3138/CHR.83.3.305. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Bergeron, Louis (April 7, 2011). "Tuberculosis strain spread by the fur trade reveals stealthy approach of epidemics, say Stanford researchers". Stanford University News. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  23. ^ Van Kirk, Sylvia (1977). "'Women in Between': Indian Women in Fur Trade Society in Western Canada". Historical Papers / Communications historiques. Canadian Historical Association. 12 (1): 42. doi:10.7202/030819ar. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  24. ^ White, Richard (1991). The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 65.
  25. ^ Jacquin, P. (1996). Les Indiens blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre Expression. p. 164.
  26. ^ White, Richard (1991). The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 70.
  27. ^ a b de Charlevoix, François-Xavier (1994). Journal d'un voyage fait par ordre ru roi dans l'Amérique septentrionale. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal.
  28. ^ Gagnon, Serge (1982). Quebec and its Historians 1840 to 1920. Montreal: Harvest House. p. 87.
  29. ^ Jurgens, Olga (1979) [1966]. "Brûlé, Étienne". In Brown, George Williams (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  30. ^ Butterfield, 28
  31. ^ Hamelin, Jean (1979) [1966]. "Nicollet de Belleborne, Jean". In Brown, George Williams (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  32. ^ Caesars, 39
  33. ^ Fournier 278
  34. ^ Nute, 43
  35. ^ Radisson
  36. ^ Nute, Grace Lee (1979) [1969]. "Radisson, Pierre-Esprit". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. II (1701–1740) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  37. ^ Zoltvany, Yves F. (1979) [1969]. "Greysolon Dulhut, Daniel". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. II (1701–1740) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  38. ^ Nerdist (2013-02-02), TRAPPER - Kids in the Hall, retrieved 2018-04-24

Further reading

  • Brown, Craig, editor. The Illustrated History of Canada. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-88619-147-5.
  • Dechêne, L. Habitants and merchants in seventeenth-century Montreal. Montreal, Que: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992.
  • Jacquin, P. Les Indiens blancs: Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Montréal: Libre expression, 1996.
  • Podruchny, Carolyn. Making the Voyageur World : Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2006. ISBN 9780802094285.

External links

1610 in Quebec

Events from the year 1610 in Quebec.

1618 in Quebec

Events from the year 1618 in Quebec.

Antoine Labelle

François-Xavier-Antoine Labelle (November 24, 1833 – January 4, 1891) was a Roman Catholic priest and the person principally responsible for the settlement (or "colonization") of the Laurentians. He is also referred to as "Curé Labelle" and sometimes, the "King of the North."

He was born Antoine Labelle in Sainte-Rose-de-Lima, the son of Angélique Maher (documents vary as some have Mayer and others have Maillet) and Antoine Labelle, who were quite poor. He studied at the Sainte-Thérèse seminary. Little is known about the first years of his life but it is known that he liked to read Auguste Nicolas and Joseph de Maistre. He added François-Xavier to his name in honour of Saint Francis Xavier. He was ordained as a priest on June 1, 1856 after a comparatively brief theological education from 1852 to 1855. His physical size made him a giant: he was 180 cm (5 ft 11 in) tall and weighed 152 kg (335 pounds). He was first appointed vicar at the parish of Sault-au-Récollet by bishop Ignace Bourget, and later to the parish of Saint-Antoine-Abbé, near the United States border, where he worked until 1863, after which he was assigned to the parish of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. About 1867, frustrated by his debts, he asked to be transferred to an American diocese or a monastery. Instead, Bishop Bourget asked to him to remain, assigning him to the more prosperous parish of Saint-Jérôme.

Labelle immediately sought the construction of a railway line along the Rivière du Nord in the Laurentians to encourage the area's economic development. One of his objectives was to put an end to the emigration of French Canadians towards New England, where many had found employment in textile mills. His social activism was recognized, and he was compared to Auguste-Norbert Morin, who founded Sainte-Adèle. On the whole, he was responsible for five thousand people settling in the Laurentians.

Hugh Allan and John Joseph Caldwell Abbott acknowledged Labelle's support of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and when the first section of the Canadian Pacific's Montreal-Saint-Jerome railway line was inaugurated on October 9, 1876, one of the engines bore Labelle's name. Labelle received support from journalist Arthur Buies (fr) and coureur des bois Isidore Martin.

On May 16, 1888, Quebec premier Honoré Mercier named Labelle deputy minister of the province's department of agriculture and colonization.

The end of his life was marked by difficulties with the Conservative party, which placed pressure on bishop Édouard-Charles Fabre, since Labelle had become too liberal for the party's taste and had fought the ultramontanes. He wanted to go to Rome before he died, but he died on January 4, 1891, at 57 years of age.

Battle of the Lake of Two Mountains

The Battle of the Lake of Two Mountains (French: Bataille du Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes) was a battle of the Beaver Wars between the colony of New France and the Iroquois Confederacy that occurred on October 16, 1689.

The battle occurred in response to the Lachine massacre of August 1689. In October, Governor General of New France, the Marquis de Denonville dispatched a scouting party of 28 coureur des bois, under the command of Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut and Nicolas d'Ailleboust de Manthet, to search for Iroquois warriors that posed a threat to residents on the Island of Montreal. The coureur des bois came across a group 22 Iroquois at the Lake of Two Mountains. The French suffered no casualties, while the Iroquois suffered 18 deaths, 3 captured, and 1 fled. The French victory restored the confidence of the local French inhabitants.

Canadian Ski Marathon

The Canadian Ski Marathon is a ski tour. It is held annually just north of the Ottawa River between the regions of Montreal and Ottawa, capital of Canada, in February and usually covers a distance of 160 km (99 mi). However, it is a ski tour, not a race: participants challenge not each other, but themselves by choosing a level of difficulty and trying to accomplish that goal.

Domaine Pinnacle

Domaine Pinnacle is a family-owned orchard, cidery, and maple-grove located near the village of Frelighsburg in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

Founded in 2000 by Charles Crawford and Susan Reid as a cidery, the company's products are available today in more than 50 countries, having won more than 60 gold medals in prestigious national and international competitions.

Francois Payette

Francois Payette (b.1793 – d. post 1844) was a North American fur trader. Born near Montreal, he began his career as a canoeman, was hired by John Jacob Astor and shipped to the Oregon Country aboard the SS Beaver, entering the mouth of the Columbia River on May 9, 1812. With the sale of Astor's Pacific Fur Company to the North West Company in 1813, Payette joined the NWC, "accompanying numerous expeditions into the interior." When the Hudson's Bay Company absorbed the North West Company in 1821, Payette transferred allegiance to the HBC. He took part in notable fur gathering-trading expeditions throughout the upper Rockies and was an occasional interpreter, sometimes second in command of brigades, and clerk.

He was stationed at old Fort Boise (near present-day Parma) for his last years with the company, retiring June 1, 1844. While in the Northwest, Payette had at least one child by a Flathead woman. The child was named Baptiste who spent the winter of 1833–1834 studying in Boston.After this, there are two known stories. The first is that he returned to Montreal, and nothing more is known of him. The second is the account of George Goodhart, who claims he died in Idaho, either in 1854 or 1855 and was buried in the area now known as Washoe, looking over the Snake and Payette rivers.

He was one of the more able and worthy HBC men in the interior of the Northwest. In southwestern Idaho, a river, county, city, and a national forest are named for him.

Canadian former astronaut Julie Payette claimed him to be an ancestor, during her inaugural speech as Governor General of Canada on October 2, 2017.

Grand Portage National Monument

Grand Portage National Monument is a United States National Monument located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota that preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. The area became one of the British Empire's four main fur trading centers in North America, along with Fort Niagara, Fort Detroit, and Michilimackinac.

The Grand Portage is an 8.5-mile (13.7 km) (2720 rod) footpath which bypasses a set of waterfalls and rapids on the last 20 miles (32 km) of the Pigeon River before it flows into Lake Superior. This path is part of the historic trade route of the French-Canadian voyageurs and coureur des bois between their wintering grounds and their depots to the east.

Composed of the Pigeon River and other strategic interior streams, lakes, and portages, this route was of enormous importance in pre-industrial times. It provided quick water access from Canada's settled areas and Atlantic ports to the fur-rich Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory. Some 50 miles (80 km) upstream from Lake Superior, this trade route crosses the Height of Land Portage, on the Northern continental divide, and connects South Lake in the Pigeon River/Great Lakes watershed with North Lake of the Rainy River watershed. Grand Portage therefore was an essential link between the drainage basin of the Nelson River to Hudson Bay and that of the Saint Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.

Jacques La Ramee

Jacques La Ramée (June 8, 1784 – 1821), was a French-Canadian Métis coureur des bois, frontiersman, trapper, fur trader, hunter, explorer, and mountain man who lived in what is now the U.S. state of Wyoming, having settled there in 1815. His name appears in several spellings, including La Ramee, Laramée, LaRamée, La Ramie, La Rami, La Remy, and Laramie. La Ramée is credited as an early explorer of what is now called the Laramie River of Wyoming and Colorado. The city of Laramie, Wyoming, with an Americanized spelling, was later named for him.

Jacques de Noyon

Jacques de Noyon (1668 – 1745) was a French Canadian explorer and coureur des bois. He is the first known European to visit the Boundary Waters region west of Lake Superior.

Jacques de Noyon was born on 12 February 1668, in Trois-Rivières, New France. His family moved to Boucherville not long after.

In 1688, de Noyon and three others traveled from the Montreal area to Fort Caministigoyan on Lake Superior, located at present-day Thunder Bay, Ontario. From there they traveled inland up the Kaministiquia River. His group followed the Indigenous canoe route over the Laurentian Divide, past the present-day site of Atikokan, Ontario, through what is now Quetico Provincial Park and Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. He built a fort, established ties to the local Assiniboine people, and spent the winter on the shore of Rainy Lake. There is some question as to whether de Noyon in fact made it as far as Lake of the Woods or not.

According to the waymarker on Rainy Lake Lookout on the north side of Noden Causeway about 6.5 km east of Fort Frances,

Jacques de Noyon was the first white man to explore this region. Born in Trois-Rivieres, Noyon worked in the fur trade as a coureur de bois. In 1688 he led an expedition beyond Lake Superior into territory previously unknown to fur traders. He and his men ascended the Kaministiquia River, crossed Dog Lake, and through several portages, reached Rainy Lake. After wintering southwest of here on the Rainy River, they pushed on to Lake of the Woods in 1689. There Assiniboines told Noyon of a route to Lake Winnipeg and the Red River. Noyon's report on his trip was used by La Verendrye when he explored westward to Red River in 1732.

The following summer de Noyon returned to Lake Superior, perhaps along what is now the United States-Canada border and includes Quetico Provincial Park, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, La Verendrye Provincial Park, and Grand Portage National Monument.

English-French animosity prevented Europeans from returning to the area west of Lake Superior for a number of years. In the 1730s La Vérendrye re-visited this Boundary Waters region, perhaps with assistance from the knowledge gained by de Noyon's travels over 40 years before. The region would become an important part of the North American fur trade, connecting the Great Lakes to the far northwestern interior of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and beyond.

Jacques de Noyon continued to travel throughout New France and New England as a trader and coureur des bois. He married Abigail Stebbins in Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1704. He was still there when the French and Indians made the 1704 Raid on Deerfield. He was captured and brought back to Canada with his wife. Ruined, he became a soldier in Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit (Detroit), finishing sergeant. He died on 12 May 1745 in Boucherville.

Jean Nicolet

Jean Nicolet (Nicollet), Sieur de Belleborne (ca. 1598 – 1 November 1642) was a French coureur des bois noted for discovering and exploring Lake Michigan, Mackinac Island, Green Bay, and being the first European to set foot in what is now the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

Mes Aïeux

Mes Aïeux (English: My Ancestors) is a Québécois group from Canada founded in 1996.

Mountain man

A mountain man is an explorer who lives in the wilderness. Mountain men were most common in the North American Rocky Mountains from about 1810 through to the 1880s (with a peak population in the early 1840s). They were instrumental in opening up the various Emigrant Trails (widened into wagon roads) allowing Americans in the east to settle the new territories of the far west by organized wagon trains traveling over roads explored and in many cases, physically improved by the mountain men and the big fur companies originally to serve the mule train based inland fur trade.

They arose in a natural geographic and economic expansion driven by the lucrative earnings available in the North American fur trade, in the wake of the various 1806–07 published accounts of the Lewis and Clark expeditions' (1803–1806) findings about the Rockies and the (ownership-disputed between the United States and the British) Oregon Country where they flourished economically for over three decades. By the time two new international treaties in early 1846 and early 1848 officially settled new western coastal territories in the United States and spurred a large upsurge in migration, the days of mountain men making a good living by fur trapping had largely ended. This was partly because the fur industry was failing due to reduced demand and over trapping. With the rise of the silk trade and quick collapse of the North American beaver-based fur trade in the later 1830s–1840s, many of the mountain men settled into jobs as Army Scouts or wagon train guides or settled throughout the lands which they had helped open up. Others, like William Sublette, opened up fort-trading posts along the Oregon Trail to service the remnant fur trade and the settlers heading west.

Newaygo, Michigan

Newaygo is a rural city in Newaygo County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,976 at the 2010 census.

Pierre-Charles Le Sueur

Pierre-Charles Le Sueur (c. 1657, Artois, France – 17 July 1704, Havana, Cuba) was a French fur trader and explorer in North America, recognized as the first known European to explore the Minnesota River valley.

Le Sueur came to Canada with the Jesuits to their mission at Sault Sainte Marie, but very soon he turned himself to fur trade and became a coureur des bois. He was fluent in several Native languages, which was crucial to his success in trade. Around 1683, he received some samples of bluish clay from the middle reaches of a tributary of the Mississippi and took it back to France to be analyzed. A chemist, Alexandre L'Huillier, deemed it to be copper ore. Le Sueur returned to New France to mine this ore, but was waylayed by, among other things, a prison term for overreaching his trade privileges. He was present at the formal assertion of French sovereignty of Canada, declared in 1689 by Nicholas Perrot at Green Bay. Eventually, however, he was given a royal commission to open a copper mine (although some suggested he was more interested in "mining furs").

In 1699, he was with the group that ascended the Mississippi River from Biloxi to the "country of the Nadouessioux", stopping to overwinter at Isle Pelée or Fort Perrot above Lake Pepin. He went upstream as far as Saint Anthony Falls. After trading with the local Dakota bands (the Mdewankantons, Wahpetons and Wahpekutes) in the area, in the summer and fall of 1700 he and a group of 20 men went further up the river known to the native population as "minisota", or "cloud reflected water". This river was known to later voyageurs as the St. Pierre, but it is unclear if Le Sueur knew it by that name at the time. The group continued to the Blue Earth River, where they built Fort L'Huillier, named for the chemist who declared it to be copper ore. They overwintered at Fort L'Huillier, trading furs and other merchandise with the local Indian bands. They found the prairies full of bison, and learned to subsist largely on a meat diet. In May 1701, Le Sueur left a garrison of men at the fort under the command of d'Eraque and accompanied a large quantity of the blue earth (Dakota language: makháto) back to Fort Mobile for further analysis, which revealed that it was not copper and thus worthless. Later that year, Fort L'Huillier was attacked by Sac and Fox Indians. 3 men were killed in the attack on the fort, which was then abandoned.Le Sueur sailed to France to secure a commission to serve as a local magistrate in what is now Alabama. "Le Sueur was supposed to leave France on the Loire in 1703 but he did not actually sail until the spring of 1704 aboard the Pélican. The ship, which was carrying nurses and women to Louisiana, stopped at Havana where Le Sueur contracted yellow fever. He had to be left behind and, after drawing up his will, he died on 17 July and was buried in the parish church of San Cristóbal."

He is the namesake of Le Sueur River and Le Sueur County, Minnesota.

Pierre Lemieux (economist)

Pierre Lemieux is a Canadian economist born in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1947.

He holds graduate degrees in economics from the University of Toronto (Canada), and in Philosophy from Université de Sherbrooke (Canada).

His research interests and fields of publication straddle economic and political theory, public choice, public finance, and public policy. He lives in the U.S.

Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec

Saint-Jean-de-Matha is a municipality located within the Matawinie Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada, in the Lanaudière region.

Transportation in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Transportation is essential to trade, which has always been the backbone of the economy of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, beginning with Fort Kaministiquia in 1717. When the area was first settled its many waterways were used by the voyagers and Coureur des bois to trade their goods.

Thunder Bay has a central location within Canada, and is located in the middle of the Trans-Canada Highway system, crossed by railways, and is the location of the largest outbound port on the St. Lawrence Seaway System and the fifth busiest airport in Ontario by aircraft movements.

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