Monday, August 11, 2008

Fort St. James

Fort St. James is a town not too far from Vanderhoof where a fur trading post was built back in 1806. Two men from the North West Company founded it and it eventually merged with Hudson's Bay Company (which many of you may know for their famous wool blankets). We got the V.I.P. tour because our niece Shay works for Canada's National Parks. It was great to see the different structures at the fort and imagine a lifestyle of travel and trapping. O.K. -so the travel part was more fun to imagine than the trapping part. The girls were able to actually play out a trade at the mercantile with one of the guides. They learned quickly that winter coats are more valuable than summer coats as well as the importance of skinning without holes and which animals were considered a rare find. Maddie drove a hard bargain with her werewolf coat (hey -at least she didn't insist on it being a unicorn coat) and refused to accept one candy as a trade. She insisted on two mints and a Werther's and would take no less. I also learned what the markings on a Hudson's bay blanket meant. Each animal pelt had a point equivalent and the very nicest blankets were 6 points. They would follow the point system to determine the value of their trade and the 6 point blankets were coveted for their warmth and durability. They were even used as sails during times of emergency. Anyway, the kids were able to play popular childrens games from that time period and really liked trying their hand at piece-on-piece construction.
Abi enjoyed the recliner in the mens house.

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