The great eleven-metre Montreal Canoe near Lachine, Quebec. This historic painting clearly shows the vessel's capacity and its sixteen voyageur paddlers, almost the maximum crew. The artist and her husband are seated in the centre.

Frances Anne Hopkins (1838-1919)
Shooting the Rapids, c. 1879
Oil on canvas
National Archives of Canada (1989-401-2X; C-2774)

Frances Anne Hopkins (1838-1919)
Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall, 1869
Oil on canvas
National Archives of Canada (1989-401-1X; C-2771)

This painting portraying the artist and her husband, a Hudson's Bay Company official, is among our best views of the nine- to ten-metre fur trade vessel called a "Bastard" Canoe. Experience showed that a canoe even of this length worked well in small rivers or streams. Its unusual name stems from its being a variation on both the larger Montreal Canoe and the smaller North Canoe.


A list* of the contents packed into a Montreal Canoe by the North West Company for its journey west in a brigade of such vessels. At Grand Portage on Lake Superior much of this material would be transferred to smaller North Canoes and transported further into western or northern Canada.

Canoe no. 25

19 bales of merchandise
1 bales of black tobacco
of plug tobacco
Chewing tobacco
of N.W. Twist
of bellmouthed pails
of copper pails
of tin pails
1 of hams
of jewelry
Kegs of salt
of grease
2 of powder
of white sugar
of brown sugar
1 of lard
20 of High Wines
of rum
of spirits
1 of beef
2 of butter
2 of alcohol
1 of port
of Madeira
of red wine
of French brandy
of tongue
of sausage
of barley
of rice
of cheese
of raisins
of figs
of prunes
2 caskets of merchandise
2 crates of iron
3 of hats
of knifes
of guns
of traps
of soap
1 macaron (?) of High Wines
of spirits
of rum
of mix
1 packet of iron
of steel
1 bag of shot
of bullets
of peas
of corn
Total: 64 pieces
Names of the 9 voyageurs [sic]
Food supplies, i.e:
8 bags of ship's biscuits
2 of peas
200 pounds of lard
Ship's gear, i.e.:
1 axe
1 tin plate
1 stove
2 tarpaulins
5 fishing lines
1 pail
1 awl
1 roll of bark
6 bales of wattap
1 trammel
12 to 18 pounds of gum

*Courtesy of the Fur Trade Museum, Lachine, Quebec