Lacine Fur Depot
Lacine Fur Depot (1803-1859) - A fur storage depot first established in 1803 by Alexander Gordon at present day Lacine, Quebec. Used by the North West Company until 1821 and then by Hudson's Bay Company. Acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833 and operated as a fur depot until 1859. Acquired in 1861 by the Congrégation des Soeurs de Sainte-Anne and held by them until 1977 when Parks Canada acquired the property.
By 1803 the fur trade had moved into the remote Lake Athabasca region of Northwest Canada. The route to Lake Athabasca was too far to travel in a single season so the North West Company divided it into 2 sections. Every spring, brigades of canoes loaded with trading goods left Lachine Depot for Fort William on Lake Superior. The Grand Portage Post had been used as the Lake Superior gathering place until 1803 when the realignment of the border placed that post on American territory. Canoes loaded with pelts from the Lake Athabasca region also headed for Fort William the two teams met in mid summer, traded their cargoes, held a rendezvous and then returned.
The voyageurs who spent the winter in the Northwest were called "winterers". In their journey to Fort William, they used smaller birchbark canoes. Those who made the trip from Lachine to Fort William were nicknamed "porkeaters" by the winterers. They only travelled in larger canoes for just a few months, from May to October, before returning home to Montreal.
The remoteness of the trapping lands and the competition between the two companies led to a merger of the two rivals in 1821 under the Hudson's Bay Company name. After the merger only 5% of the fur trade passed through Montreal with the bulk going directly to England via Hudson's Bay.
The Lacine Fur Depot was acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833. The warehouse continued to be used as a fur depot until 1859. George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, had built his manor just across from the depot. After his death in 1861, his manor and the warehouse became the property of the Congrégation des Soeurs de Sainte-Anne who owned it until 1977 when it was acquired by Parks Canada.
Now a part of the Lachine National Historic Site. Markers and restored stone building in Lacine, Quebec. The restored Fur Depot now houses an excellent interpretive center with displays and examples of the fur trade life.
Visited: 30 Jul 2013