Quebec’s History of Adventure and the Young Imagination

Quebec’s History of Adventure and the Young Imagination

Posted on February 21 by admin
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Enamoured by the life of the Canadian voyageurs in my grade 5 Pirates and Pathfinders history book, my first trip to Quebec as a ten year old filled me with the excitement of real history and true adventure. After visiting the home of Médard de Groseilliers, famous explorer, fur trader and founder of the Hudson’s Bay company, I imagined myself travelling at his side. We would leave the first of May, the day the mighty St. Lawrence was sure to be free of ice. Before following the voyager route of rapid rivers and reedy lakes, we would stop at the Mission House in Sillery to receive the blessings of the Jesuits.

I‘ve always loved stories of the past where we know something, but not everything. From the historical records we get factual frameworks of the day’s events. It is within that framework, where the imagination can really soar. I eventually made my journey with Médard de Groselliers as a writer. Warbird, my historical fiction novel for readers 9-12 years of age, is based on real people and adventures from Canadian History. Like me, ten year old Etienne Chouart yearned for a life of wilderness adventure. While delivering chickens to the Jesuit Mission, he meets an orphan destined to apprentice at Fort Sainte Marie, the furthest settlement north in New France. Making the most impulsive decision of his life, Etienne invites the boy back to his home. It is Etienne, not the orphan, who paddles out into the St. Lawrence with Médard des Groseilliers into Huron country the following morning.

Quebec is the home of the voyageurs. Montreal Island was their departure point. Agents of the fur companies canvassed the parishes of the St. Lawrence River area from above Quebec to Montreal during the winter months drawing men from Lachine, Chateauguay, Longueuil, Trois Riverières, Vaudreiuil, Rivière du Loup, St. Sulpice and many, more. Without the voyagers the epic age of the Canadian fur trade would not have occurred. Not many honour the significance of the voyageurs. Warbird gives them a place in the adventurous hearts of young readers.