Canada the Story of Us episode 2 – Hunting Treasure 1777 to 1793: A new generation of rebels and entrepreneurs compete for the key to this land’s prosperity , its natural resources , while others fight to protect them. It’s an epic quest for treasure that shapes the country to this day.
Over 10 hours, the drama-documentary tells the extraordinary tale of some of the people, places and events that shaped Canada — stories of change makers and rule breakers, dreamers and visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs who forged a nation in a vast and harsh land.
Canada the Story of Us episode 2 – Hunting Treasure 1777 to 1793
Like many New Englanders, Massachusetts entrepreneur William Hazen is torn on the subject of American independence. Eventually, he decides to remain loyal to the British Crown. He moves north to Portland Point, near what will soon become the city of Saint John, and begins supplying timber to the Royal Navy. In 1784, Hazen is named to the council of the newly established Colony of New Brunswick. He also develops the province’s timber industry, which will bring great wealth to Canada and become an important staple of the economy.
Maquinna prevents a war
The Mowachaht Nation, led by Chief Maquinna, dominates trade on the West Coast of what is now Vancouver Island. In 1778, Maquinna meets British explorer James Cook and trades with him: he gives the Brit sea otter pelts in exchange for metal goods. The beautiful fur of the pelts makes them a sensation in Europe. Maquinna retains tight control over the sea otter trade, acting as a middleman for other Indigenous nations, ensuring that his people benefit from trade with colonial powers.
Canada’s first company town (1790s) – Canada the Story of Us episode 2
In Quebec, the Forges du St-Maurice Iron Works is making what will become one of the country’s best-known manufactured products: the iron stoves produced at the Forges, known as “Canadian stoves,” help heat the homes of Canadians during the harsh winters.
Canada the Story of Us episode 2 – Hunting Treasure 1777 to 1793: Under the supervision of Matthew Bell, the Forges are hailed as the most technologically advanced iron works in North America. The world-renowned products produced at the Forges are a result of collaboration between Francophone and Anglophone Canadians. The Forges du St-Maurice becomes Canada’s first company town and marks the beginning of large scale manufacturing in Canada.
Alexander Mackenzie treks to the Pacific
Alexander Mackenzie seeks a path from to the Pacific Ocean over land. He sets out from his trading post at Fort Fork, near what’s now Peace River, AB. He is heavily reliant on his Dene guides’ knowledge of the land, the other Indigenous peoples they meet on their journey and the strength of the French-Canadian voyageurs who carry their canoe and supplies over mountains. Mackenzie reaches the Pacific, becoming the first person of European origin to do so. His book about the voyage becomes an international best-seller and provides the inspiration for Lewis and Clark to do the same in America over a decade later.
In 1791, Mackenzie returned to Great Britain to study the new advance in the measurement of longitude. Upon his return to Canada in 1792, he set out once again to find a route to the Pacific. Accompanied by two native guides, his cousin, Alexander MacKay, six Canadian voyageurs (Joseph Landry, Charles Ducette, François Beaulieu, Baptiste Bisson, Francois Courtois, Jacques Beauchamp) and a dog simply referred to as “our dog”, Mackenzie left Fort Chipewyan on 10 October 1792, and traveled via the Pine River to the Peace River. From there he traveled to a fork on the Peace River arriving 1 November where he and his cohorts built a fortification that they resided in over the winter. This later became known as Fort Fork.
Mackenzie left Fort Fork on 9 May 1793, following the route of the Peace River. He crossed the Great Divide and found the upper reaches of the Fraser River, but was warned by the local natives that the Fraser Canyon to the south was unnavigable and populated by belligerent tribes. He was instead directed to follow a grease trail by ascending the West Road River, crossing over the Coast Mountains and descending the Bella Coola River to the sea.
He followed this advice and reached the Pacific coast on 20 July 1793, at Bella Coola, British Columbia, on North Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Having done this, he had completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico, 12 years before Lewis and Clark. He had unknowingly missed meeting George Vancouver at Bella Coola by 48 days.