Fur Trade Posts

Fur trading posts were at the heart of the Canadian fur trades. They were known as posts, forts, houses, or even factories (definition 3). They were where the North West Company, the Hudson's Bay Company and the XY Company carried out their business. These companies were important in opening up the North West of Canada to exploration and eventual colonization.

There's a wealth of information on the fur trading posts the various companies used.

As you read through these sites and look at the pictures, try to find out several things:

  1. Where were the posts located? There were similar geographic features around nearly all the posts. What were they?
  2. How did the forts defend themselves? Did they use geography or man made defences or some combination of the two?
  3. Was there open space in the middle of the fort? If so, why? What was it used for?
  4. How did the people in the fort make sure the Indians could get to them, or they could get to the Indians? In other words, what was used for transportation?
  5. In the fort, where did the chief of the fort live? Where did the workers and traders live?
  6. Where was the cooking done?
  7. Where were supplies stored?

Using all this information that you have gathered, draw a plan of a fur trading post. It should be done on an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper (standard letter size). It should include

  • important geographic features
  • important buildings in the fort
  • important transportation routes leading to and from the fort
  • entrances to and from the fort
  • important areas just outside the fort (such as a landing area for canoes)

You may hand draw your picture or you may use Paint or some similar program to draw this on your computer.

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