How then am I so different from the first men through this way…

 

Having grown up in western Canada, I have crossed the paths traveled by Canada’s early explorers on more than one occasion and have sensed the spirits of such remarkable men as Simon Fraser, Daniel Harmon, Peter Fidler, Anthony Henday, Henry Kelsey and David Thompson. Having walked the same ground, paddled the same waters, and ridden the same mountains, hills and valleys, I understand the awe they must have felt.

I have wished that I was with them in those moments recorded in their journals: Fraser as he explored the river which now bears his name or, Thompson as he crossed Howse Pass or Athabasca Pass where he wrote that a “new world was before [him]…” . The folk singer Stan Rogers must have shared this feeling, for he captured it eloquently in his song Northwest Passage:

And through the night, behind the wheel, the mileage clicking west | I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts and did show a path for me | To race the roaring Fraser to the sea.
How then am I so different from the first men through this way | Like them, I left a settled life, I threw it all away.
To seek a northwest passage at the call of many men |  To find there but the road back home again.

This website is a collection of geographic data that has been assembled over the years as it relates to the fur trade and the exploration of western North America. It will always evolve and always grow in information. So please do return as often as you wish.