British Columbia: A History

British Columbia: A History

British Columbia: A History

British Columbia: A History

Excerpt

WHILE American barques were still doing a good trade for sea otter along the North West Coast, voyageurs and fur-hunters from Montreal, searching for the River of the West, pushed their frail birch-bark canoes westward from Lake Athabasca to that "immense chain of mountains which run from north to south of the continent of America". Beyond the Continental Divide they found that rivers formed a maze of waterways difficult to untangle. Swiftly-moving mountain streams provided clues to the location of passes and of serene lakes, sheltered valleys, sun-drenched parklands and fertile lowlands, but seldom did they flow directly westward and nowhere could the traders discover a long, wide river suitable for navigation throughout its length. The wild turbulence of the Fraser River ended in quiet stretches only near the sea; saddle as well as canoe would have to be used to make it the focus of their operations.

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