Overnight Voyageur Adventure at the World's Largest Fur Trade Post
Ever wonder what life was like 200 years ago? Can you imagine life in the Canadian wilderness, being a voyageur in the fur trade, paddling, portaging, exploring new frontiers and celebrating with old friends at a rendezvous?
Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay, Ontario offers families and groups the chance to really live the historic experience in 1816, to join the North West Company and become part of the exciting Overnight Voyageur Adventure.
Experience life as a fur trader. Dress, eat, sleep, paddle, gamble, work and play just like the Nor'Westers did centuries ago. Upon arriving at Fort William, prepare to be transformed. Dress in colourful costumes to become a voyageur, clerk or Native woman. Suddenly, you are right at home in a different world.
Once in authentic costumes, your group heads to off for a series of exciting adventures. Visit the Native Encampment to experience Ojibwa life in a wigwam where you might help your aboriginal host with smoking whitefish. Sip some Labrador tea. Absorb the essence of Native culture and traditions, their philosophy towards life and death. All the while, you are enveloped in the peaceful ambience of the camp, nestled in the woods by the Kaministiquia River.
Later, you become part of a paddling voyageur brigade, heading out on the river in a 26-foot canoe, just as the true ‘Northmen' paddled long ago, under the guidance of experienced voyageur guides. Learn a voyageur song and hoist your paddles into the air for a spirited salute!
Learn some fascinating secrets about period crafts with the master tradesmen who teach the basics in blacksmithing a nail, tinsmithing a nutmeg grater, coopering a bucket, test-firing a musket or turning a lathe.
Once the Fort closes for the day, the real magical atmosphere takes hold. Regular visitors are now absent and there are few distractions from the outside world. Dinner is held in any number of buildings, from the elegant confines of the Great Hall or in Dr. McLaughlin's residence. Tasty servings of beef stew or pork, vegetables, wild rice and fresh-baked bread are part of the delicious menu.
Then there's time to play! Learn to gamble with dice and later kick up your heels for some spirited dancing. The day concludes with a round of tall tales shared by the fire.
Sleeping accommodations range from a canvas voyageur tent to bunks in the rustic Guides' Quarters. There is also the Bell House that features a modernized interior with basic bunks, indoor heat and washrooms.
After an active day, you're ready for a good night's rest before breakfast in the morning. Your adventure is complete.
It's an experience you'll treasure forever!! For information about the Voyageur Overnight Adventure, call Reservations at Fort William Historical Park 807-473-2344.