Monday, January 10, 2011

Suddenly the Fur Trade becomes tangible!

A couple things:

I just freshly returned from my first trip to London, UK and I kept running into the Hudson's Bay Company connection. For those of you familiar with the history of the fur trade taught in Canadian elementary and high schools, you'll now, frankly, that it sucks. I'm still young enough to remember how miserably boring it was, and I was a history geek even then! Anyway, having never seriously studied it, these few connections made early British-North American history suddenly quite real.

First, the Tower of London has a small display on royal diplomatic gifts and on a small plaque rather close to the ground is this...

Second, I was sitting in my friends flat, right on the banks of the Thames. We had brought with us from Canada a tin of Hudson's Bay Company cookies. While sitting in the living room I looked out at the Thames and then down at the tin...suddenly the British-Canadian connection became tangibly apparent and 200 years of Canadian history flashed through my mind, a history largely with its beginnings based in the HBC. This is a generalization, of course, but it was quite a moment. I suddenly realized I was sitting in the city from which the HBC was chartered and ran and I was looking over the river from whence its ships departed and arrived.Who would have thought a tin of cookies could bring that about?


Jordan Kerr
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