a Trading Post: How to Choose a Site
In this lesson,
students develop, then compare and contrast various criteria for
choosing the site of fur trading posts. They select suitable sites
on a map, justify their choices, and produce a two- or three-dimensional
artistic representation of the post. Much information, including
maps, is available from the Exploration, the Fur Trade and the
Hudson's Bay Company site.
Version (96 KB)
Version (1 MB)
Version (412 KB)
Social Studies (History), Ages 10 to 13
The first portion of the activity involves brainstorming various
criteria for selecting a site for a trading post, and what considerations
might have to be made when building such a post.
The second portion
involves small group work, to select a site for a post and determine
what the post will be equipped with.
The third portion
involves the creation of a two- or three-dimensional artistic representation
of the post and the preparation of a presentation about the post.
Note that there
are two printable versions. The Rich Text Format (RTF) can be altered
to suit your classroom needs.
Outcomes (WCP, APEF); Expectations (ON); Objectives (QC)
By the end of these activities, students should be able to:
- Use the five
themes of geography (location/place, environment, region, interaction,
movement) to focus their inquiries
classify, and interpret information
Outcomes (Visual Arts)
- Produce two-
and three-dimensional works of art that communicate a range of
ideas for specific purposes and to specific audiences, using a
variety of familiar art tools, materials and techniques
- Read non-fiction
materials for a variety of purposes
and Visual Communication
- Express and
respond to a range of ideas and opinions concisely, clearly, and
and work constructively in groups
Arts Outcomes correspond to:
- WCP GO -
R: 3.2; O/V: 5.2, 5.1
- Quebec objectives
- 2 (Reading); 2, 1 (Oral)
- APEF CGO
- R: 4; O/V: 1, 2.1
with access to the Internet
- Various materials
for student-selected means of expression (painting, drawing, collage)
Early Canadiana Online: Exploration, the Fur Trade and Hudson's
Hudson's Bay Company History Page
The National Library of Canada: Pathfinders and Passageways
The Virtual Museum of New France
Musée Virtuel de la Nouvelle-France
Students will need an understanding of Web navigation symbols, tools
and terminology, particularly the tools used in Exploration,
the Fur Trade and Hudson's Bay Company site.
Begin the lesson with a map of Canada. Ask students to place push
pins (or some other marking device) on the map in places that they
think would make a good site for a fur trading post.
Large Group Work
Discuss the types of locations that students chose. Compare and
contrast the different sites. Look at the differences and similarities
between the sites. Some key questions:
- Where do
they think furs from Canada were obtained?
- What would
be the easiest way to transport those furs for different regions
(especially the interior) to Europe?
- Using a standard
map of the world, discuss what the easiest routes would be for
the transportation of furs.
kinds considerations might have to be made when building a trading
post. Some suggestions:
- Storage space
- Living areas
Retain the results
of the discussions in a prominent place so that students may refer
to them in their small group work.
Small Group Work
Students are invited to brainstorm criteria that should be considering
in choosing a site.
include weather, transportation, competition, neighbours and access
to supplies. Using these criteria and a map of Canada with rivers
and lakes, students decide, as if they were an Hudson's Bay Co.
official in the 18th or 19th century, where would they build 5 trading
- For each
of these, they should make a list of reasons they chose that location.
- They must
also make a list of reasons that that location might not be perfect.
Small Group or Individual Work
Students are invited to create an artistic representation of what
their trading post would look like (two- or three- dimensional).
The creation should reflect the geography and climate of the location,
and other factors previously discussed in large group work. The
post should be presented to the class with:
- A name for
- A list of
the advantages and disadvantages of the location
- A list of
stores, equipment and trading supplies that would be in the post
- (They will
be able to obtain this information from the Exploration, the Fur
Trade and Hudson's Bay Company site, and may choose extra
- They are
encouraged to present the information in a manner that evokes
the spirit of the period (i.e. weather paper using tea bags, weather
edges, use calligraphy, etc.)
Source: A list of trading goods in Albany Fort America, 1706
As a class, discuss different locations that were chosen. What were
the major criteria in making the decisions?
Visit the maps
on the Exploration, the Fur Trade and Hudson's Bay Company
- Where were
HBC posts located?
- Were their
choices the same or different?
See the Assessment Sheet. Educators
may also wish to use student-developed rubrics.
Students could use their notes and artistic representation to create
a fictional story about a personality at the post. Some suggestions:
- The Chief
Factor, who has to protect his post from an attack by the French
- An fur trader
who feels he has been cheated
- A European
woman who has just arrived at the (almost entirely male) fort
- An Aboriginal
women working at the fort (Aboriginal women did many of the menial
tasks, and were also often taken as "country wives"
by traders and explorers)
- A dog used
to pull sleds in the far north.