North West Voyageurs Bridgade Trail

Travel by canoe along the route used from 1731-1821 by the brigades of “Voyageurs” to transport furs and trade goods from Lake Superior to the North American interior for the North West Company, the X Y Company, and the American Fur Company.

These trails were in use by the American Indians when the European explorers first entered the region in the early 1600’s. There are pictographs on the shoreline cliffs of some of the lakes that are in excess of 1,000 years old. Trails were of great commercial importance and in heavy use during the fur trade era [~1730-1840] by the brigades of the North West Company, the X Y Company and the American Fur Company.

These routes were used as early as 1660 by many European explorers including Alexander Henry, Pierre Radisson, Sir Alexander McKenzie and Jacques De Noyon.. Some in search of the Northwest Passage across North America. Unrestricted access to the customary canoe commerce route from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods was so important during the fur trade era that treaties between Great Britain and France, and Great Britain and the United States used “the customary fur trade route” to describe the territorial boundary. Treaties went so far as to give unrestricted travel along the lakes, rivers and portage trails of the route to the subjects of either country.

Because of the area’s historic significance, natural beauty and uniqueness it continues to be protected and preserved as a U.S. National Monument, a U.S. Wilderness Area, or as an Ontario Provincial Park with wilderness park designation.

  • Download the flyer and Historic Trails Award application for this trail  [PDF 80kB]