Canada: A People's History
Home Radio Television
CAPH banner left CAPH banner centre CAPH banner right
Episode Summary
The Pathfinders
Header 3 Header 4 Header 5
History Home
The Pathfinders
yellow divider

Episode Preview

more video...
Episode 6 Montage

yellow divider

Proceed to Chapter 1:
The Business of Fur

The Canadian west is opened by the great fur-trading empires of the Hudson's Bay and Northwest Companies, the native people who were their indispensable allies, and bold explorers and map makers who ventured from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean and long-sought-for Pacific. Pierre Esprit Radisson defies a governor to take New France's trade far into the continent's interior and later, founds an English trading empire; Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de la Vérendrye, spends a lifetime searching for the Western Sea and pays dearly for it. Tough Dene chief Matonabbee leads Samuel Hearne on a monumental trek into the Barren Lands; Alexander Mackenzie's dash to the Pacific makes him one of the most celebrated men of his age. And David Thompson comes to the forbidding shores of Hudson Bay as a 14-year-old apprentice and eventually unlocks the secrets of the West more than any other man. As the fur trader's day comes to an end, settlers on the prairies and gold miners in British Columbia begin to claim the west for themselves.

Complete Credits for Episode 6

Director: Michelle Métivier
Writer: Gordon Henderson
Editor: Mark Solnoky
Cinematography: Derek Kennedy
Original music: Claude Desjardins and Eric Robertson

Featuring: Gordon Tootoosis (Saukamapee), Art Kitching (Samuel Hearne), Geordie Johnson (Daniel Harmon), Shawn Smyth (David Thompson), James Douglas (Sir James Douglas)

top of page

table right

1610The Business of Fur
The fur trade takes hold in North America
1715Fur Trade Moves West
Seeking new trade routes in the interior
1774Competition and Exploration
The fur trade competes for the west
1784David Thompson - Mapping a Continent
A great geographer charts the Canadian interior
1800Red River Settlement
European settlement moves west
1821George Simpson, The Little Emperor
The fur trade near the end of its era
1858The Gold Rush
The conception of British Columbia

history home | explore the episodes | biographies | teacher resources | bibliography | games and puzzles | sitemap | contact us
cbc home | tv episode summaries | merchandise | press releases | behind the scenes | audio/video

copyright � 2001 CBC