European fur traders and explorers relied heavily on Aboriginal peoples for information about the land, water routes, and local resources of the regions they visited as well as for advice on the different cultures of the peoples they encountered. For example, explorer Peter Fidler used maps drawn for him by well-travelled Aboriginal peoples.
However, the Europeans also relied on surveying instruments to chart their journeys. One important instrument was the sextant. Sextants were used by navigators and surveyors and measured the angle between two objects. At sea, they were used to determine the angle between a celestial object — such as the sun, moon, planets, and stars —and the horizon. This measurement, known as the object’s altitude, was used to determine latitude and longitude.
This navigator’s sextant at the Manitoba Museum was created by Negretti & Zamba in London in the early 1860s. It sis in its original mahogany box containing an eyepiece, mirrors, a movable arm, and a measured scale. Written on the box is the inscription “Hudson’s Bay Company, May 3, 1864.”
For the love of tea
An April 1924 article by Edward H. Hughes of the Winnipeg HBC depot, was an ode to tea. In his article, the writer provided a brief history of tea, including the evolution of the name itself. He also explained how the popularity of tea from different regions has shifted over time.
It’s hard to imagine a prairie settlement founded by French aristocrats, but this was the case when a group of men established St. Hubert, Saskatchewan. In a March 1954 article, A.E.M. Hewlett wrote about the exploits of these men. From the mid-1880s until just prior to the First World War, this group of French counts tried to establish businesses similar to those found in France. For example, one tried to create a market for Gruyère cheese. While they were ultimately unsuccessful, the men left a lasting impression on the people of St. Hubert.
Polar flowers in bloom
Churchill, Manitoba, is most famous for the many polar bears that can be found near the town. However, in the summer it is also home to a host of beautiful flowers. In the Spring 1984 issue, Linda Fairfield wrote and illustrated an article entitled “The exotic flowers of Churchill.” The talented watercolourist spent eight years painting Manitoba wildflowers. Among the flowers displayed in the article are the butterwort, an insectivorous plant with violet flowers, and the flame-coloured lousewort, a member of the snapdragon family.