Voyageurs were French Canadians who used birch bark canoes to transport furs, blankets, beads, pots, tobacco, trinkets and other items in demand by Indigenous and settlers across Canada.
They were legendary - celebrated in folklore (stories) and music. But in reality their work and lives were very challenging and definitely not like the lives told in the glamourous tales! Many started in their twenties and continued into their sixties and never could save enough money for early retirement despite their very hard work.
The voyageurs and coureurs des bois travelled to and through remote parts of Canada, delivering and picking up supplies and coexisting with Indigenous peoples, and Canadian settlers.
- Voyageurs, Canadian Encyclopedia