From the Ar­chives

Canada's History - - CONTENTS -

The Sum­mer 1967 is­sue of The Beaver told of pad­dlers in Canada’s cen­ten­nial year.

The mag­a­zine you’re read­ing was founded by the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany (HBC) ninety-seven years ago as The Beaver and is now ti­tled Canada’s His­tory. It’s the coun­try’s sec­ond-old­est con­tin­u­ously pub­lished mag­a­zine, and you can now browse through most of that his­tory thanks to our new on­line ar­chive of past is­sues.

For in­stance, in Canada’s cen­ten­nial year The Beaver — then still pub­lished by HBC as a “Mag­a­zine of the North” — paid rel­a­tively lit­tle at­ten­tion to the fact that Canada was turn­ing one hun­dred years old. (Per­haps the coun­try seemed a rel­a­tive new­comer com­pared to the com­pany’s own 297-year his­tory?)

One ar­ti­cle in the Sum­mer 1967 is­sue told of the launch of a “Cen­ten­nial Ca­noe Pageant,” in which teams rep­re­sent­ing ten of the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries planned to pad­dle and portage some 5,283 kilo­me­tres from Rocky Moun­tain House, Al­berta, to the Expo 67 site in Mon­treal. Each ca­noe bore the name of a sig­nif­i­cant Cana­dian ex­plorer, such as David Thomp­son, Henry Kelsey, and Pierre La Vérendrye.

The Beaver reg­u­larly told about the lives of the Indige­nous peo­ples of Canada, in­clud­ing their ma­te­rial arts. In the same is­sue, RCMP Cor­po­ral Robert W. Hob­son wrote about the in­tri­cate argillite carv­ings made in Haida com­mu­ni­ties of Bri­tish Columbia’s Queen Char­lotte Is­lands. Mean­while, the cover story by HBC ar­chiv­ist Alice M. John­son was about “James Bay Artist Wil­liam Richards.”

“Knights of the Wa­ter­ways” told of voyageurs who for cen­turies pad­dled their ca­noes start­ing in the di­rec­tion op­po­site to the cen­ten­nial pad­dlers: “from Que­bec, Mon­treal, and Three Rivers into what they called le pays d’en haut, singing as they went their in­com­pa­ra­ble bal­lads and other chan­sons, laugh­ing down white­wa­ter for the sheer de­light of its dan­ger and ex­hil­a­ra­tion.” With­out their ef­forts, au­thor Grace Lee Nute said, “the fur trade could hardly have been car­ried on.” — Phil Koch

Top: The On­tario team pre­pares for the cen­ten­nial ca­noe pageant in 1967. Their ca­noe bears the name of ex­plorer Wil­liam McGil­livray. Mid­dle: Copies of The Beaver from 1967, in­clud­ing the Sum­mer is­sue (cen­tre). Above: An argillite carv­ing by Haida carver Char­lie Eden­shaw (1839–1924) por­trays the story of a young wo­man who lived with griz­zlies.

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