with company logo and illustration of the ‘S.S. Beaver at Fort Victoria, 1848’ above inscription ‘Ship Your Furs to Us, 100 McGill Street, Montreal, P.Q., 35" x 17" — 88.9 x 43.2 cm.

Officially commissioned in 1670, The Hudson’s Bay Company is the oldest incorporated joint stock merchandising company in the English speaking world. Born out of the entrepreneurship and perseverance of two French fur traders, Medard Chouart des Groseilliers and Pierre-Esprit Radisson, who were the first to suggest a trading company in the interior of the continent, using Hudson’s Bay as a means to gain greater access to the nation’s resources. Aboriginal involvement in the fur trade played a significant role in the expansion of the company and the exploration of the country, as many French and English fur trappers married Aboriginal women who then served as their guides into regions still unknown to European settlers. The result of this involvement has come at a cost however, namely the introduction of disease, increased conflict and competition amongst indigenous groups and the decimation of natural resources. Yet the legacy of the Hudson’s Bay Company is arguably not its bureaucratic business model or its quintessential striped blanket, but rather its hand in the birth of a new nation, one that traversed the boundaries of two largely opposing cultures: The Metis. Emblematic of the complexities and intersectionalities of Canadian history, the Metis challenge the usual “us versus them” discourse and illustrate the defining and often silenced role of women in the exploration and development of the country.

The first steamship to round Cape Horn and reach the Pacific, the S.S. Beaver played an important roll in the development of the fur trade in the remote parts of the west coast of Canada, The design of this mat appears to be based on the company’s 1933 calendar which features the illustration by Adam Sheriff Scott (1887-1980) of the S.S. Beaver moored off the coast at Fort Victoria.

Estimate: $2,000—3,000

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