View topic - Sagard's 1623 canoe journey to Huronia - new link

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2018, 8:54 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
While trying to find material on the Toronto portage, previous reading was unavailable at the Champlain Society website, now a paysite. There's another source in English here: ... j/id/14172

Copied from the 2008 thread:

Sagard was a black robe missionary best known for his detailed writings on New France. At the beginning of his book, "The Long Journey to the Country of the Hurons", the description of canoe travel into Huronia is very brief and simply mentions the difficulties... Sagard may have been too exhausted to document the journey in.

The return is covered in greater detail, when he seems to have become hardened to travel after a year spent with the Hurons (for example, inbound, he could not stomach the sagamite, the Huron boiled corn staple eaten along the canoe route, but on the return was used to it).

Included are descriptions of the leakiness and fragile character of birchbark canoes, an Algonquin sturgeon feast at Beausoleil Island, taking the wrong channel at the French river delta, the difficult portage through wetlands near Mattawa, the dangerous rapids and portages along the Ottawa river, being harassed by Algonquins for trade and payment of passage through their lands at Allumette Island, eating wildlife killed along the way, and eventually the arrival at Quebec.

The book describes the details of Huron culture, including about 25 villages in Huronia, the extent of lands kept clear for corn production, fishing, hunting, clothes, customs, rituals, and more, with a chapter on the great Feast of the Dead, which Sagard was fortunate enough to witness.

Champlain's journals and maybe the Huron Relations journals are also no longer available... there seems to be another source for these as well, good for winter reading.

It's noteworthy that the Hurons did not use the Toronto portage to make their way to Quebec. That route along Lake Ontario may have become too risky as a result of Champlain's attack on the Iroquois in 1609. OTOH the Huron-Iroquois wars don't seem to have begun until about 1640, after which Huronia was wiped out by an Iroquois attack in 1649. Champlain actually returned to Huronia after the 1609 attack through the Trent river and Kawartha lakes to Georgian Bay, now the Trent-Severn waterway.


PostPosted: December 4th, 2018, 9:39 am 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: Toronto
BRAVO to frozentripper!!
But in this day of easy access to information, it seems that the Champlain Society has inadvertently consigned itself to oblivion; indeed that is the conclusion reached by a friend familiar with the society.


A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)

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