Voyageur’s Blog

Ask a voyageur a question

Here’s a blog to answer your questions, like what was life like during the 1800s in French Canada? Like who could or couldn’t be a voyageur? How big the canoes were? What trade goods they carried? What different furs were worth? What they used for medicine? I’ll answer these and more in the “A Voyageur’s Life” blog. Click on the button below to ask your question or go to the “Contact” section of this site — I’ll find the answers.

Where in the world is André? Are the waters really treacherous? Please give me a map so I can see where ‘Treacherous Waters’ takes place.

Before roads, rivers and lakes were the routes for traveling. Voyageurs used waterways they learned from Natives to paddle, portaging when the rapids were too dangerous or the water too shallow. Canoeing from Montreal to the rendezvous took about 6 weeks to accomplish 1,100 miles, and for voyageurs headed to fur posts dotted across the interior, perhaps double that time to reach them.

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Cricket cuisine? Really?

The March-April 2018 issue of the Minnesota Conservation “Volunteer” magazine had a surprising article in “Crunch Goes the Cricket” — insects as a potential, sustainable and nutritious food source. They are packed with protein. (If only my starving voyageur characters...

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What REALLY happens at a rendezvous?

In the 1800s, the rendezvous was celebrated as canoe brigades brought in trade goods from Lachine or trading posts brought in furs. Before they swapped cargoes, it was time to connect with friends and relax with voyageur games.

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5 Surprise Facts About ‘Point’ Blankets

A “point” blanket (one with short lines of thread stitched into one side, called "points") is what we now call a Hudson's Bay blanket. But: Hudson's Bay Company wasn't the first to introduce the point blanket. Point blankets were commonly used in Europe and by English...

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Why do voyageurs and the fur trade draw you?

It's in my blood—I'm descended from voyageurs. Mom found listings of a dozen engagés, or canoemen, through genealogy research into her French-Canadian roots. My grandfather, a younger son of a younger son of a voyageur, told of his connection: His great grandfather...

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Nikki Rajala - Author No wonder Nikki Rajala writes about voyageurs—her French-Canadian ancestors paddled birch bark canoes on many fur trade brigades. One great-great wintered for 16 years in fur posts west of Lake Superior and threads of family stories infuse this book. On Girl Scout canoe expeditions as a teen, she explored Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. Nikki loves rendezvous re-enactments, reading fur trade journals, visiting museums, tasting voyageur foods.

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