Inland mariners

Barges, steamboats, “timber cruising” and more in the June 1943 issue of The Beaver magazine.

Written by Phil Koch

July 11, 2018

The June 1943 issue of The Beaver shows that waterways have been crucial not only for the wildlife featured on the magazine’s cover but also for the people who have lived in and traversed this country.

Trevor Lloyd wrote about the huge Hudson’s Bay Company barges that were used on the Mackenzie River to bring supplies to the North. He called them “floating warehouses” and said the river steamers “would be powerless to move the great quantities of freight that are annually sent north without the aid of the less picturesque, unassuming, dull red barges.”

In the same issue, A.J. Dalrymple marvelled at the steamboats that plied the Saskatchewan River in the late 1800s. And C. Parnell told about “timber cruising” — estimating an area’s “merchantable” timber — in the lands around Ontario’s Lake Temagami. In winter, Parnell wrote, “lakes and rivers, instead of being barriers, made the best possible travelling surfaces.”

Eva Beckett’s photos from Sloop Cove — at Churchill, Manitoba — show inscriptions left by some of the men who worked there or spent the winter during voyages of exploration. And a photo essay about Manitoba’s Lower Fort Garry shows a commemorative marker for the signing of Treaty No. 1 as well as a “grand pageant” held there to celebrate the HBC’s 250th anniversary.

This article originally appeared in the August-September 2018 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

Explore the June 1943 issue of The Beaver magazine.

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