H.A. Ogden
At the Portage: Hudson's Bay Company's Employees on Their Annual Expedition
From Picturesque Canada, vol. 1
(Toronto, 1882)
Hudson's Bay Company Archives
(RB FC 51 vol. 1, opp. p. 309 [N13764])
Provincial Archives of Manitoba

This drawing gives us some idea of the size and shapes of bales, barrels, boxes, and other articles transported by fur trade canoes.

W. H. Bartlett
Working a Canoe up a Rapid, c. 1842
National Archives of Canada (C2390)

In addition to pulling the canoe ashore and hauling it around the rapids, the crew carried as much as three tons of freight or equipment in relays across the same distance.

In 1826 the ideal voyageur was described: "[he is] short, thick set, and active and never tire[s]." But to carry 270 pounds (122 kilograms) while moving as fast as five miles (eight kilometres) per hour on a portage surely led to exhaustion, as this painting shows.

William G. R. Hind
Voyageurs in Labrador, 1861
Geological Survey of Canada